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.

Black Sheets of Rain @ Pulp Metal Magazine

“It was raining the day I buried my step-father, Eddie. I owned nothing in black, so I had to wear my work uniform: a crop top with the words ‘Slop Shop’ across the front in bright pink letters. By the end of the service I looked like the runner-up in one of our ‘Sloppy Sunday’ wet t-shirt contests.”

Last month I had a new piece of flash fiction published by the excellent Pulp Metal Magazine: Black Sheets of Rain. Big thanks to editor Jason Michel for running the story.

This one isn’t pure wrestling noir, but it is part of the Testament story cycle, and fits in alongside the other material.

The Cold Vein @ Spelk Fiction

“I point my shrivelled dick at the dogweed and it sputters like a badly inserted drip. I tuck it back inside my leotard and carry on down the dirt track towards Burrachaga’s clapboard shack.”

Earlier this month, I had a new story over at reliably entertaining UK flash site Spelk. Thanks to Gary Duncan for running seven of my stories over the last 18 months!

The Cold Vein is the latest story in my new wrestling noir series. If you like it, make sure you check out The Big Blow Off (also published by Spelk) as well.

The Cold Vein Tom Leins

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)

 

The Carny @ Liars League Hong Kong

liarsleague-hk

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!

Queasy @ Horror Sleaze Trash

“It was the day of my Uncle Alvin’s funeral when they came for me. I always knew they would.”

Earlier this month I made my second appearance at the excellent Horror Sleaze Trash. The story was called Queasy, which tells you everything you need to know.

If you enjoy Queasy, make sure you check out my previous Horror Sleaze Trash story, Actress On A Mattress.

Queasy Tom Leins

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

The Organ Donor @ Revolution John

“The first time I met Adrian Strange he was carrying a meat-axe. It was never my intention to hospitalise his step-brother – things just got out of hand…”

Like a literary phoenix from the social media flames, US literary site Revolution John has recently re-emerged, and I am happy that my story The Organ Donor is part of the new site.

ORGAN DONOR Tom Leins