Recalibration @ Pulp Modern Flash

“When news of ‘The Surge’ leaked out, the government put imprisoned sex offenders to work in the Extermination Division. The chemicals they used on the rats hadn’t been properly tested, and they were reluctant to risk decimating the military with a hazardous, untried substance. Fourteen elderly rapists died within the first fortnight due to chemical exposure. They were burned in shallow pits, along with the rats.”

… and now for something entirely different!

My new dystopian short story Recalibration is featured online at Alec Cizak’s new Pulp Modern Flash venture this week.

I wrote the first draft of this story four years ago as a companion piece to my story Rat Farm (a dystopian flash-forward Joe Rey tale set in 2031).

It felt weirdly appropriate to retrieve it, kick it into shape and let it loose during the ongoing pandemic.

I can assure you: the references to empty food-banks, scarce breathing apparatus and contemptuous government officials were all in the first draft…

Enjoy!

Jingle Bells, Shotgun Shells @ Punk Noir Magazine

“It’s Christmas Eve and I’m standing in the middle of a stash house in Hookhills, bleeding from one ear and trying to work out which one of the hired hands I should shoot first: the skinny guy in the soiled Sexy Santa minidress or the fat fuck in the scuffed-looking ballistics vest.”

Thanks to Paul D. Brazill for running this year’s Paignton Noir Christmas story, JINGLE BELLS, SHOTGUN SHELLS, at Punk Noir Magazine.

This is a heart-warming festive romp involving firearms, fuckwits, Fentanyl and food banks. You can read it here.

And if you want some added Christmas cheer, why not check out my previous Christmas stories here?

Slug Bait: Out Now

“I was looking for a quiet place to die, and someone suggested the Paignton Cliffs Caravan Park. Sure, it’s a quiet place, but I’m not dead yet…”

I have a new novelette out now: SLUG BAIT!

Here’s the synopsis:

Traumatised and brutalised after a grisly encounter with a serial killer known as The Cartographer, SLUG BAIT finds cut-price private investigator Joe Rey licking his wounds at a decrepit caravan park on the cliff path high above Paignton. Violence has a way of finding Rey, however, and an altercation involving local amusement arcade tycoon Raymond Coody sees him dragged back into town – where his name is now on all of the wrong people’s lips. Rey’s reckless disregard for his own safety quickly wins Coody’s trust, but his new associate harbours some dark secrets, and things are about to get very bloody…

This one evolved out of a couple of old projects which fell apart. I salvaged what I could, took stock of the material I had at my disposal, and came up with this little page-turner.

It’s a standalone story, but the surviving characters will definitely reappear in future books. Whether you like it or not…

Check it out – and let me know what you think!

Amazon UK link

Amazon US link

Sloppy Operator @ The Flash Fiction Offensive

“Her real name is Carol Cummings, but she prefers to be called Khandi Kane. She likes to tell people she works as a glamour model, but as far as I know she only ever made one topless calendar—for a local petrol station. She is better known as ‘Snow White,’ after she fucked a couple of midgets while shooting a video for a smut-freak called Caruso back in the ‘90s. She was supposed to fuck all seven but the others were too drunk and sat around in the background, wanking and smoking noxious-looking cigarettes.”

Last month I had a brand new Paignton Noir story featured online at the Flash Fiction Offensive: Sloppy Operator, Big thanks to editorial tag-team Rob Pierce and Hector Duarte Jr. for running the story!

I’ve had a whole bunch of stories online at the F.F.O. since making my debut on the old website way back in August 2009 with Triggerman, and it is always a real pleasure to be featured on the site.

Beauty and Ruin @ The Flash Fiction Offensive

“The midday sun burns like a bullet wound. It feels hotter on my bare shoulders than the arena lights on fight night. There is no breeze, and the stink from the petrochemical plant lingers in the air like an afterthought.”

Last month my story Beauty & Ruin was published by top US crime site The Flash Fiction Offensive

After Hellbelly and Gusher, this was the third wrestling noir story to appear at The F.F.O.

Big thanks to editors Hector Duarte Jr. and Rob Pierce for running the story.

The Guns of Brixham @ Akashic Books

“The skinhead wipes the rain out of his eyes and cackles.

“I’m glad I’m not the poor bastard that has to try and identify your body.”

His pump-action shotgun is wedged against my throat. He is going to make one hell of a mess…”

In November last year my story The Guns of Brixham was featured in Akashic Books’ ‘Mondays are Murder’ series. This was my third Devon-based Akashic story, after Paignton Rust and The Graveyard Shift, which was set in Plymouth.

I love the long-running Akashic Noir paperback series, and it is always a pleasure to be featured on the website.

guns-of-brixham-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

Christmas Is Going To The Dogs @ Spelk

“I turn my attention back to the video. It is called “Father XXXmas”. It doesn’t do much for me, but she seems to enjoy it.”

My final short story of the year was published by the excellent UK flash fiction site Spelk at the end of December. You can find it here.

My previous Christmas-themed crime stories include Christmas Card From A Hooker In Newton Abbot and Christmas Eve Can Kill You.

merry_xxxmas