Skull Meat – Out Now!

My Paignton Noir novelette SKULL MEAT is available for Kindle now, via Amazon. This story is intended as a teaser for my forthcoming collection MEAT BUBBLES (& OTHER STORIES), which should be out later this summer.

Here’s the pitch:

Hired by mobster Marie Andretti to ransack the office of morbidly obese local nightclub owner ‘Swollen’ Roland Smart, Paignton private investigator Joe Rey quickly finds himself plunged into a dangerous cat and mouse game – which leaves him fighting for his life. His quest for answers – and vengeance – sees him plunge headfirst into the queasy underbelly of the grubby little seaside town he calls home. Rey is a man with a dark past, and, it seems, very little future. Welcome to Paignton Noir.

Amazon UK link

Amazon US link

SKULL MEAT grew out of a few old, unfinished pieces I found lurking on my hard-drive. The prologue, ‘Paignton Rust’, was previously published as part of the Akashic Books’ ‘Mondays Are Murder’ series a few years ago, while other excerpts were featured by A Twist of Noir and Straight From The Fridge. It is too long to publish as a short story, and too short to be a novella, so an e-book seemed like a good idea.

If anyone reading this would like a free copy (mobi or PDF) in exchange for a review, drop me a line through the contact form.

Switchblade Issue 1 Out Now

“Loomis laughs to himself and spits in the gutter, before hobbling towards the child prostitute on his busted knees. He tells people that he lost a kneecap during a riot at Pelican Bay, but I know the truth.  He actually blew his knee trying to fuck a pre-op hooker in the shower of an Oxnard trick-pad.”

My degenerate noir story The Stooge is included in Issue #1 of the brand new US crime publication Switchblade, edited by Scotch Rutherford.

You can buy it here (UK) or here (US).

Slay Ride @ The Flash Fiction Offensive

“I jerk awake as the Motorola twitches in my pocket. The ringtone is motherfucking Jingle Bells. I’m face down in an alleyway, Santa suit splattered with fresh excrement and stale fast-food waste. I struggle to make out the caller ID because my right eye is swollen shut.”

Last month I was delighted to have my new story Slay Ride featured in the Flash Fiction Offensive’s inaugural ‘Twelve Daze of Christmas’ series, as curated by FFO co-editor Hector Duarte Jr.

Other participants included Ryan Sayles, Paul Heatley, Paul D. Brazill, Patrick Cooper, Cal Marcius, Nicola Hardy, John Weagly, Beau Johnson, Paul Greenberg, Preston Lang and John Ryan, so make sure you stick around and investigate the rest of the stories!

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Gusher @ The Flash Fiction Offensive

“The rain is so heavy I can barely see the cop car. Red and blue lights dance across the parking lot, like diseased ghosts, so I know they are out there. Fat cops in government-issue windcheaters, clutching pump-action shotguns worth more than my life insurance policy, are likely out there right now.”

Back in October, my story Gusher appeared at the Flash Fiction Offensive. Always a pleasure to end up in the Gutter!

gusher-tom-leins-flash-fiction-offensive

 

Crooked Holster 3 Out Now

Albert Erasmus gestures vaguely over his stooped shoulder at the prowl car. It is moving at kerb-crawler pace down Palace Avenue, and the fat plainclothes cop in the passenger seat glares at us.

“You know what they call a Paignton cop in a three-piece suit?”

I shrug, already bored of his shtick. Already bored of his face.

“The defendant.”

I’m delighted to confirm that I have a violent new slice of Paignton Noir entitled Raw Deal included in the latest edition of British crime journal Crooked Holster. It’s the story of a dead lawyer, a crooked property developer and a hardboiled private eye who is only too happy to trawl Paignton’s sick underbelly in search of answers.

The table of contents includes lots of names that are new to me, but I was happy to find myself alongside Brit-grit luminary Paul D. Brazill, who has a story called New Dawn Fades in the same collection.

You can buy this great looking book through Amazon right now, and I believe a Kindle version is in the works.

crooked-holster-covercrooked-holster-raw-deal

Hellbelly @ Flash Fiction Offensive

“In Testament, most boys my age lost their virginity in a nameless cinderblock cat-house run by an old lady named Luanne. It was halfway down the dirt track that bisected Old Testament and New Testament like an ugly scar.”

Last month I was delighted to have a brand new wrestling noir story – Hellbelly – online at the Flash Fiction Offensive. Thanks to editors Tom Pitts and Hector Duarte Jr for running the story!

Look out for my new story, Gusher, at the FFO later in the year.

Hellbelly 2 Tom Leins (1)

 

Molotov Cocktail Lounge @ Yellow Mama

“I slowly unwrap the grease-proof paper. Inside is a human hand. It is half rotted, with flaked yellow skin clinging to the bone.”

Earlier this month I had a new piece of flash fiction featured at Yellow Mama – a first for me.

Anyone fancy paying a visit to the Molotov Cocktail Lounge?

Molotov Cocktail Lounge Tom Leins

The Carny @ Liars League Hong Kong

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Late last year my story The Carny was selected by the Hong Kong offshoot of cult literary event Liars League for their ‘Rich & Poor’ event. The video has now emerged online, and you can find it here. The actor, Aaron Kahn, adds a great new dimension to the story, and I think his Americana-fuelled take on my Paignton Noir yarn is fantastic. Check it out!

The Graveyard Shift @ Akashic Books

“The grave is waist-deep when the cramps start. I feel them spasm up my arms and across my shoulders as the shovel slams into rock-solid earth.”

Last week saw my third ‘Mondays Are Murder’ story go live on the Akashic Books website: The Graveyard Shift.

My Akashic stories have been set in Paignton (Paignton Rust), Guatemala City (Guatemala Kill Pit) and now Plymouth, which feels like a rather bizarre mix!

Later in the week, the story was selected by the great Texas-based crime fiction site Mystery People as its ‘Crime Fiction Friday‘ pick. Crime Fiction Coordinator Scott Montgomery praised my brand of ‘English nastiness’, and introduced the story by saying: “Lately it seems that Britain and hard boiled fiction go together. I don’t know if it’s the grey, rainy weather or the bad-ass working class accents, but British writers sure make it work.”

Suffice to say, it made my day!

Graveyard Shift Tom Leins

Zero Sum @ Spelk Fiction

“Caruso’s dead face was cracked like an old piece of linoleum. One of his eyes was half-shut, the other was totally destroyed.”

This month saw my 5th short story – Zero Sum – go live over at top UK flash site Spelk Fiction. It is always a real pleasure to be featured by Spelk – one of the most eclectic sites on the web!

Zero Sum Tom Leins