Interview @ Roughneck Dispatch

“The story which kicked it all off was one called, appropriately enough, ‘Paignton Noir,’ which was published by a Canadian literary magazine called Front & Centre back in 2007. That pretty much set the template for suburban intrigue, bloody violence and off-kilter investigations. Although, now I put my mind to it, I actually published a story called ‘Sleepyhead’ back in about 2004, which was a weird arthouse revenge story that took place on Winner Street, and took in local video shops and chain pubs, so I’ve been peddling this shtick for a while!”

This week, California crime writer Matt Phillips – author of Redbone, Bad Luck City, Three Kinds of Fool and Accidental Outlaws – gave me the Q&A treatment over at his Roughneck Dispatch blog.

We discussed the murky origins of Paignton Noir, the crime fiction protagonists that have influenced Joe Rey and my three main rules for writing. Check it out here.


Coming Soon: Meat Bubbles and Other Stories

I am excited to announce that my new book MEAT BUBBLES & OTHER STORIES will be published by Near To The Knuckle on 2nd June 2018! NTTK has published some excellent books in recent years, so I will be in good company! Check out the fantastic artwork courtesy of NTTK head honcho Craig Douglas – you can definitely judge this book by its cover!


Still licking his wounds after the brutal events of SKULL MEAT, Paignton private investigator Joe Rey is reluctant to take on another case that could have violent repercussions. However, a lucrative pay-day from a soon-to-retire cop tests his resolve, and Rey quickly finds himself on the trail of a deranged plastic surgeon with a queasy line in body modification procedures. Over the course of a long, bloody summer, Rey tangles with rogue ex-cops, suburban hitmen, neo-Nazi scumbags and even Paignton’s richest man – a notorious hoarder of unknown horrors. It’s a dirty job, but someone’s got to do it…

Praise for Meat Bubbles:

Benedict J. Jones, author of Pennies For Charon and The Devil’s Brew (Crime Wave Press):

“Welcome to the nightmare factory – there’s dark and then there’s Tom Leins’ Paignton… By parts a mix of the brutality of Hubert Selby Jr and the pure noir-ish banter of Ray Banks with more than a dash of the good old ultra-violence. Thirteen brutal shorts and then the extended nightmare of Snuff Racket. You’d have to go a long way to beat the sheer violence, brutality, humour and brilliance of Meat Bubbles.”

Paul Heatley, author of Fatboy (All Due Respect) and An Eye For An Eye (Near To The Knuckle):

“Tom Leins’ Paignton is close to Hell on earth. His battle-scarred PI Joe Rey is navigating every circle of it here – hookers, pimps, pornographers, killers, crooked cops, and every other grotesque you could care (or not) to imagine make up the colourful characters in this grim collection of noir from one of the premier writers of gut-wrenching dark fiction currently at work. One day people will talk about the fiction of Tom Leins the same way they talk about Derek Raymond’s – get on board now and when that day comes you’ll be able to brag you were round at the start.”

Matt Phillips, author of Bad Luck City (Near To The Knuckle) and Accidental Outlaws (All Due Respect):

“If you had to kill someone with a book, you’d use this one. Cracked skulls. Bruised knuckles. Wounds in the shape of unnameable body parts. Characters as broken and misshapen as the populace of a violent noir hellscape. Tom Leins writes like a man skinned by jackals and doused in lighter fluid. Meat Bubbles & Other Stories is a new paradigm in noir—Paignton noir, an aesthetic built on images that’d make a seasoned leg-breaker squeal like a school girl.”

Blue Christmas @ Near To The Knuckle

“Why was Father Christmas upset when he got a sweater for Christmas?”
I shrug.
“Because he was hoping for a screamer or a moaner.”

Blue Christmas was the third of my three festive crime stories to go live last year, when it was published by UK crime site Near To The Knuckle on Christmas Day!

Funnily enough, my first ever NTTK story was a Christmas story too: Christmas Eve Can Kill You.