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Brit Grit Alley

Brit Grit Alley features interviews, news and updates on what's happening down British crime fiction's booze and blood soaked alleyways.

By Paul Heatley

I’ve been a big fan of Tom Leins’ work for a long time now. It’s gritty, it’s visceral, it’s stomach churning - everything you want from crime fiction, British or otherwise. And you know what else? He’s prolific as all hell, so if you wanna check out a short story of his to find out if he’s for you, you won’t have to look far.
No, seriously, go to one of your favourite publishers of short fiction - Flash Fiction Offensive, Spelk, Near To The Knuckle, Shotgun Honey - and check.

I’ll wait.

Okay, cool, you’re back? Yeah, I knew you’d be back.

So, Meat Bubbles & OtherStories, published by Near To The Knuckle. Set in Tom’s by now infamous Paignton locale (a place he’s really made his own) and featuring his recurring private eye Joe Rey, what we’ve got here are a selection of stories that run every kind of brutal gamut you can imagine: we’ve got hookers, gangsters, crooked cops, neo-Nazi’s - oh boy, the list goes on! Word of advice, though, don’t make the same mistake I did and read this if your stomach is giving you trouble. When Tom contacted me for a blurb, I’d left work early that day feeling like there were snakes in my gut and I was gonna throw up (I did, if you’re interested. There were no snakes.). However, I excitedly told him yes and to send it straight over.


Oh boy.

Okay, so, it did nothing for my physical health or feelings of queasiness, but I had a hell of a time reading it!

That blurb I mentioned? Here it is:

‘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.’

However, I think my favourite line comes from Matt Phillips (author of Accidental Outlaws):

‘If you had to kill someone with a book, you’d use this one.’

So there you have it. If all this and those short stories I earlier advised you to check out (and you totally did, right??) haven’t won you round, I don’t know what will!

There'll be more carryings on down Brit Grit Alley very soon, sorta kinda thing, like.

Paul Heatley lives in the north east of England. His books include Fatboy, The Motel Whore, and  An Eye For An Eye. His short stories have appeared online and in print for publications such as Thuglit, Horror Sleaze Trash, Spelk, Near to the Knuckle, Shotgun Honey,the Pink Factory, and the Flash Fiction Offensive, among others. He also contributes music reviews to R2 magazine, sometimes.