Before turning in one night this past summer, I picked up my reader and skimmed the first few paragraphs of SKULL MEAT by Tom Leins. It had been a long day and I didn’t think I would be awake for very long.
Thanks to Tom Leins I didn’t get any sleep.
I couldn’t put it down. Tom’s writing is kinetic and fast-paced, perfectly suited for the break-neck feeling of this novelette. Start reading a few lines and the next thing you know it’s well past the witching hour. SKULL MEAT delivers dirty, British crime at its best. Descriptive. Violent. Bloody. Grotesque. Wait until you meet 'Swollen' Roland. I loved it!
The story goes…
Meet Joe Rey. Joe is a tough guy hired to sort out problems for unseemly businessmen and violent crime-leaders. His latest brutal assignment comes with a few complications, however, and soon a game of cat and mouse ensues. Rey tears through his seedy seaside hometown of Paignton, with his trusty pig-knife, dealing justice or vengeance. Joe is as tough as the streets he walks.
|Charming, quiet beach towns will never look the same.|
Perhaps the most intriguing character in the novelette is the setting, Paignton. Leins admittedly gives the burg an “apocalyptic edge” and in doing so creates a depressing setting with wildly dangerous characters ready and willing to do anything. The danger feels life-changing, bigger than the town.
The next time you day-trip to your nearest quaint beach town, I guarantee you’ll be checking around corners and avoiding alleys.
SKULL MEAT has mobsters, ex-cons and unscrupulous undesirables. It’s a grimy tale, disconcerting in a thrilling way. You may feel a little dirty after reading, but it is worth the guilt. Realistic violence and snappy dialogue keep the story moving at a scary pace.
Former film critic and current rapscallion, Tom Leins is one of the best voices in British crime writing, well known for his short stories and flash fiction. He’s been published by the likes of Akashic Books, Shotgun Honey, Near to the Knuckle, Flash Fiction Offensive, Horror Sleaze Trash and Spelk Fiction.
Currently he is working on a collection of wrestling-themed tall noir tales and finishing REPETITION KILLS YOU, a project he has described as a “literary jigsaw puzzle.” Not one to rest he is also completing another novella in the Paignton series, BONEYARD DOGS.
If you like your stories down and dirty, you need to put SKULL MEAT on your TBR list.
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