Thursday, December 20, 2012

So that was 2012 then?

It’s the end of the world year as we know it and actually now I think about it, yes I do feel fine. 2012 hasn’t been an easy ride for several reasons; the economy for one, that's spent the last 12 months resolutely entrenched in the toilet, which in turn has left me clinging to the wreckage of my day job, but like the Boss says: you got to learn to live with what you can’t rise above, so screw all that. 2012 has also been pretty awesome.

Roll back one year to the 20th December 2011. That was the day I got an e-mail from a guy named Larry Green, he's the editor of an online zine called Death Head Grin. Back in the September I had sent him a short story called Wetwork, like the other stories I was touting around at that time it had already been rejected by several other places, so I couldn’t quite believe it when Larry told me he dug the story and he was going to publish it. That was the first piece of fiction I ever had accepted for publication. Those of you who write will know how that felt. For those of you who don’t, try to imagine a lottery win and an orgasm rolled into one. You’re a good man Larry Green.

Roll forwards again to today, one year on and I’ve had 18 short stories published, one even made the cut for the new Out of the Gutter 8 print / e-book anthology (I may have mentioned that once or twice recently).  I’ve also got myself a regular writing gig, reviewing more talented folk’s stuff at the Out of the Gutter website. All that counts as awesome in my book, but what has really made this year for me is the help, support and above all the friendship of the people I’ve met in the crime / noir writing community.  I’m sorely tempted to name the names, but you guys know who you are right? Well you all have my sincere thanks.  
I know that my writing won’t pay the rent or make a damn of difference in the grand scheme of things, but it makes me happy and if once in a while I write something that makes somebody who reads it happy too, I’ll take that.

Happy Christmas Y’all.

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

More Hot Naked Chicks


Here’s a heads up for the Luddites, the Amish and all lovers of the long-lost analog world. If you find yourself yearning for that near forgotten thrill of reading words on actual paper, then you can rejoice in the knowledge that Out of the Gutter 8 can now be purchased or purloined in print.

This rare treat can even be had here in little old England, Scotland too I would imagine, although I’m not so sure about Wales. Go get some Gutter Love: OOTG8 

Incidentally the hand is this shot belongs my friend and co-conspirator, Chris DeWildt. His story alone is worth the price of admission.

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Some Christmas spirit from Snubnose Press

It’s the season of goodwill and good deals as those fine fellows at Snubnose Press have put all of their titles on sale for the month of December. This is no mean offer and you can now pick up some great titles like Joe Clifford’s Choice Cuts or Heath Lowrance’s City of Heretics  for a mere pittance.

In fact why not take the opportunity to grab the entire back catalogue of one of the best crime fiction presses around. The whole shebang on Kindle will run you about the same price as a single Steve King hardback.

Sorry Steve, but I know where my buck is going: Snubnose Press


Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Hot Naked Chicks

Now that I have your attention, here’s something for all you crime fiction types to get your panties in a bunch about.

That’s right Out of the Gutter 8 has landed. This fine work of bad-ass fiction has been lovingly crafted, cajoled and generally beaten into submission by those stand up citizens at OOTG: Court Merrigan, Matt Louis, Joe Clifford and Tom Pitts.

This is undoubtedly a book that will change your life for the better; a stone cold killer, jammed with down and dirty treats from the following kings and queens of cool:  Matthew C Funk, Les Edgerton, Jen Conely, Ryan Sayles, Chris DeWildt, Issac Hayes, Mike Monson, Richie Naravez, T. Fox Durham, Nicola Murphy, Dana C. Kabel, Michael Bracken, David James Keaton, David Corbett and Todd Mohar. Hell, they even made room for a little something by some dude called Chris Leek, but don’t let that put you off.

The e-book is available right now at an Amazon near you; print will follow hot on its heels in the next day or so. Trust me you need this book, it’s the one everybody at school is going to be talking about and you don’t want to be ‘that guy’ now do you?
Go and buy one for yourself, then buy another copy and slip it into Grandma’s stocking. It is Christmas after all.

Order from Amazon UK
Order from

Monday, December 3, 2012

A word on some words

Well I guess it must be December because all the blogs are filling up with their owner's choice for the best read of 2012. And I don’t see why the hell mine should be any different.

I’ve read a lot this year, though nowhere near as much as I would have liked. Time is the fire in which we all burn and I still have a mountain of books, both paper and ‘e’ waiting patiently for my attention. Earlier this year I stared doing some book reviews for Out of the Gutter, I may have mentioned that once or twice on here already. Writing those reviews has been a blast, but it has, by necessity streamlined my choice of reading and 2012 saw me consuming a lot more in the Crime / Noir / Hard-boiled arena, than perhaps I might have otherwise. I’ll point out the obvious and say that not all of my picks were first published this year, but as I read them in 2012 they shall reside here regardless. Anyway onwards! In no particular order, here are my favourites. There were plenty of others that were good, but these were better.  

Make of that what you will, but you could do a lot worse than dropping your Dollar, Pound, Euro or Dinar on any of these excellent works.

Thursday, November 29, 2012

The Rumble in the Dumpster - Sayles Vs. Leek

Today my friend is an auspicious day in the life of yours truly, for I have been granted an audience with the Legend that is Ryan ‘The Walnuts’ Sayles. Yes brothers and sisters rejoice in the knowledge that my life is now complete and join me in the spare parts and broken hearts of my Noir Affliction.

Some people are born great; others have greatness thrust upon them and then there are those of us who just make it up as we go along: Chris Leek: a review by Ryan Sayles

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

School is in Brit Grit style

Traditionally the good ole’ USA has always been the land of the free and home to all things hard-boiled, pulp and noir. But nowadays there’s plenty of blood being splattered across the pages on this side of the pond too.
Gone are the days of quirky old ladies solving cozy mysteries from the comfort of their fireside armchairs. We've got a new crime wave of writing talent in the UK that’s busy kicking down those doors of convention.
Paul D. Brazill tells it like it is in this excellent article, so pull up a chair people, Brit Grit School is in.

Monday, November 19, 2012

He Ain't Heavy

I spent yesterday sitting in the dark of a power outage, randomly clicking the buttons on my dead computer mouse and staring at a blank screen. While I was trying to remember just what it was I did with my time before I got hard wired to the Internet machine, the legend that is Joe Clifford published one of my flash fiction stories over at Out of the Gutter.

He ain’t heavy is a tale of sibling rivalry and perhaps also of brotherly love. Roy and Tony have a very special kind of relationship, one that seems to endure no matter what.
A big shout must go out to Joe for his help with edits and his continued support of my dubious writing ability. Thanks man.

Monday is a crap day the world over, so why not take five, grab yourself a coffee and head across to OOTG. I can’t promise that reading He ain’t heavy will make your day, but if you do it will certainly make mine.

In the tough times of the lowlife, lost like a rain dog trying to find his way home, I've always heeded the advice of Tom Waits: Never trust a man in a blue trench coat. Never drive a car when you're dead...

As we say in the hood, brother, true that...
He Ain’t Heavy by Chris Leek – Out of the Gutter Online

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Last Call For Alcohol

Time is running out to submit to the shiny new Out of the Gutter 8 Anthology. The doors close on 21st November.  I’ll let Editor-in-chief, Matt tell you all about it...

Brace yourselves! OUT OF THE GUTTER is back with Out of the Gutter 8: 21st Century Digital Love, featuring contest winners, essays, and new tales of wretchedness and woe alongside 2012’s very best from The Flash Fiction Offensive and the Bareknuckles Pulp Department!
Contest: We will select two stories (one flash, another between 3,000 and 5,000 words) that hit the theme of modern digital love. What’s that mean? You tell us. Guns, girls, good intentions gone bad spring to our minds, but there's no limit on subject matter, setting, or style, as long as it's in the pulp tradition. Pure story, in other words. All submissions for the contest will also be automatically considered for inclusion in the anthology.

 Fiction Submissions: Open submissions for the anthology (i.e., not for the contest) can be your regular ol’ gutterish stories. We’re selecting some flash, some longer. Only requirement is to adhere to the strict quality standards of The Flash Fiction Offensive and Bareknuckles Pulp. Hit us hard, hit us raw.
Non-fiction Submissions: We're also looking for non-fiction and essays on the subject of modern technology and love. Anybody have thoughts on Internet porn? I mean, those few of you degenerates who've actually visited such sites. We've been too busy visiting the confessional (mostly to confess to how much Internet porn we watch). Gmail chats gone wrong? Girls (and boys) gone wild? The suckiness of Instragram? What have you got?

Best of 2012: You didn’t think we’d forget our loyal contributors, did you? FFO and BKP will select the top stories from 2012, based almost entirely on the number of hits that story has received. You want a book deal? Pimp your work! Rack up the hits! Any story published by either e-zine in 2012 is eligible. So forward that story of a meth-dealing dead hooker to grandma’s sewing group and get them to share!
There have been some fantastic bad-ass stories published this year and many are worthy of inclusion. If it was my job to choose (which thank god it’s not) these would be my top picks.

Flash Fiction Offensive:
McRib Therapy Alleviates Seasonal Depression by CS DeWildt

We all got problems, man. Some of us are misguided loners; some of us are dead in basements. Some of us are just giant red, chain-smoking clowns with a busted foot and bad attitude. Who are you to judge?

Bareknuckles Pulp:
Kin by Gareth Spark

Here’s some damn fine Brit Grit from this side of the pond. You can choose you’re friends, but not your family. Well this sure as hell ain’t the Walton’s.
There are also many, many other fine pieces worthy of your time; while you’re over there perhaps you could find it in your heart to humor this deluded pulp scribbler and check out my efforts as well.

The Legend of Johnny Kool by Chris Leek

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Holy Moses

Just in case you‘ve missed it, yours truly is back in the gutter again. This time I’m chewing over Out There Bad, the second Moses McGuire novel by Josh Stallings.
Josh is a very cool dude and his debut novel Beautiful Naked and dead was a killer read. I posted a review of that one right here. But did the follow up measure up? Well, you’ll just have to go take a look for yourself: OOTG - Review
Next week you can join me on a wild ride with Tom Pitts and a trunk load of weed...

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Kama Bomb

Most days life sucks; I’m not talking about major league sucking like sitting in the dark eating cold beans from the can after a hurricane has ripped the ass out of your world. I mean the chicken shit stuff that beats on you every damn day.

We spend our lives waiting for a moment that never seems to come and deep down we know it probably never will. But every now and again we get a little luck, maybe catch a break and that’s enough to keep us from hooking the garden hose up to the exhaust pipe.
Well, I’ve put that hose away for now because there’s a double hit of anthology love going on. First up, those stand up dudes Daz & Craig at Near to the Knuckle have accepted my story Brothers under the Bridge for their very first collection. I’m equally stoked to tell you that all round good guy and editor of All Due Respect, Chris Rhatigan has also taken my story The Honeymooners for his new print and e-book anthology. Both titles will be out early in 2013, so keep it here and share the love brothers and sisters, share the love. 

Friday, November 2, 2012

Afflicted by Noir?

If you’re reading this there’s a good chance you have an interest in Noir, if not then you’re probably a Latvian porn spammer. Either way, you should really check out Ryan Sayles and his Noir Affliction interviews over at Out of the Gutter online.
I know what you’re thinking; who’s the hell is this Ryan Sayles dude anyway. Well, I like to think of him as the Oprah of Noir, only he has better legs and does a lot less coke.

Ryan brings something new, disturbing and kind of wonderful to the art of the interview and his ongoing autopsy of the Noir genre is required reading for me. Recent weeks have seen him on the run with Tom Pitts and a trunk full of dead hookers, peeling off stripper singles with Brian Panowich, and this week he’s in the sauna with Eric Beetner.
Look I can’t explain it; this is just something you have to see for yourself.
OOTG - The Noir Affliction

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Lost in the Woods

Okay it's gutter time again; this week I’ve got a bad ass back woods blast from Peter Farris to keep me company.

I reviewed Last Call for the Living in a much less coherent way right here, back in August. This time I did it better.Last Call is pretty much nailed on to be my top read of 2012 and yes it really is that good.

So your mission, should you choose to accept it, is go to OOTG and read the review; then hurry to your local book purveyor, purchase a copy of Last Call for the Living. Once you have secured your book you should consider running all the way home, clasping it lovingly to your chest

The Evil Book Empire (Amazon)

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Trick or Treat

Halloween is almost upon us and we will soon be drowning in countless horror anthologies; I predict most of them will have at least one ghoulish pumpkin on the cover (remember you heard it here first).

Hey don’t get me wrong, I’m not knocking it, but if wading through endless tales of ghosts and goblins sends a shiver down your spine. Here are a couple of quick reads that you can blow through while you’re waiting for another load of kids in bed sheets to knock on your door. You are meant to give them beer and cigarettes right?

Order from Amazon


Nigel Bird proves once and for all that there is more to British crime than wise cracking cockney gangsters with this dark story of life on the cruel streets of a Scottish town.
Order from Amazon

Two girls go on the run with a trunk load of pot and wind up being persuaded across Northern California by a sociopathic killer. Now that right there is my kind of road movie Mr. Pitts.

Both of these are high on my hit list so I’ll be reviewing them over at Out of the Gutter sometime soon. But don’t sit around waiting for me to get my act together, go and check them out for yourself.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Car Jackers and Spies Like Us

This week over at Out Of the gutter, I’m taking a long, hard look at Gary Carson’s San Fransico based car crime / espionage thriller mash up, Hot Wire.
If this is a book you've read, I'd really like to hear what you thought about it, why not drop a comment and let me know. You can check out my review here:

Out Of The Gutter - Independent Reviews

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

This Gun's Not For Hire

I'm over at Out of the Gutter today reviewing City of Heretics, the latest offering from Heath Lowrance.
But opinions are like assholes, everybody has one right? Right. So why not drop by share yours (opinion that it is; if you want to share your asshole you've got the wrong site buddy, but the internet is a big scary place, keep looking.)

We're planning on making this a regular gig, so if your an author working his or her mojo in the Crime / Noir / Hard-Boiled arena and you'd like your book reviewed, then you can hit me up here or through the OOTG website.
I'm particularly interested in hearing from you Indie types who are putting it out there solo and those of you working through the small specialized presses. If you've got a five book deal at Random House, hey congratulations, but you can write your own damn reviews.

Just so as you know, I'll only ever review books I have actually read and I'm not on anybody's pimping payroll. I'm doing it purely for the love baby.

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Jacks, Queens & Evens

Back in April this year, I chambered a story and fired it off in the general direction of that award winning home of fine fiction, Thrillers, Killers 'N' Chillers.

I had forgotten all about it, (or maybe subconsciously I just blocked it out) until an e-mail from new crime editor and former Flash Fiction Offensive head honcho, David Barber hit my in box the other week.
David had found my beer stained, unintelligible scribble languishing in his virtual slush pile and actually thought there might be a story lurking in there somewhere. I read it back and thought he might be right, but it would need a major surgery to get to it. I started pounding the keyboard into submission and the result is 'Jacks Queen's & Evens'. It's a story about of two kinds of dealer, backlit by the colorful underbelly of a Nevada gaming town, that may or may not be Reno, Okay it is Reno.

A big shout needs to go to David for his help in knocking this one into shape.
I'm delighted say you can now find it here: TKnC - Jacks, Queens & Evens

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Shotgun Honey Presents

Those kings of hard boiled cool, Shotgun Honey have just released their very first anthology. I could go on about how it's packed full of great stories from some of the best names in the business, but I'll let Mr Phillips do that...


Shotgun Honey Presents: Both Barrels features 29 tales of crime from 29 talented voices. Some who we’ve published and some who we had incriminating evidence on. Every story well worth the price of admission. We’ve got a little bit of everything with stories about abusive spouses, down on their luck gamblers, ill-fated drug deals and even some cyborg lesbian vampires thrown in for good measure.

We are excited to produce this first book, and hope there will be future volumes. That will depend on your support, so if you enjoy what we’re doing with the site and would like to support us and support our authors, jump out there and blog, tweet, tumble, facebook about the book. Whatever you want to do, we appreciate it. Thank you to all of our regular readers, our editors and the contributors. Together we made Shotgun Honey Presents: Both Barrels possible, so go buy a book already.

...So there you have it, 'Both Barrels' is available now for Kindle and in trade paperback; Kobo and Nook versions will follow shortly (though god knows why, does anybody actually use nook?).
I strongly recommend you do yourself a big ass favour and snag a copy pronto. It looks like a real double-aught blast.
Amazon UK or

Friday, September 28, 2012

Review - Last Call for the Living

I've heard nothing but good things about 'Last Call for the Living' and had been itching to check it out for myself. I finally got my hands on a copy and what can I tell you, everyone was right.

Charlie Colquitt is a bit of a nerd, not in a world of warcraft kind of way, but a nerd none the less. When Hicklin, a hard ass career criminal, pokes his double-barreled nose through the doors of the bank where Charlie works, Charlie's existence suddenly becomes a wild and precarious thing.

But hold the phone, this book is so much more than a stand and deliver bank robbery caper. Peter Farris delivers a well paced story that uncoils itself like a Copperhead in the Georgia backwoods. 'Last Call' is an unflinching and heartfelt examination of the honor among thieves (or the lack of it). 
The characters we meet may all be hopelessly flawed as human beings, but they are unerringly real and honestly portrayed. You may not like them, but you have to believe them. For me Hicklin is the pick of the bunch, undoubtedly he's the worst of men, a catalyst for destruction who has few qualms about murder and nothing you would recognize as morals. The fact that there were times when I found myself sympathizing with him should tell you something about the quality of the writing to be found here.  

As a début novel 'Last Call for the Living' is about as good as it gets; eloquent, hugely enjoyable and hard as a truck load of six inch nails. Peter Farris is the real deal and brings an exciting new voice to the world of crime fiction. In my opinion you'd be a fool to miss out on hearing it.

Monday, September 24, 2012

The Legend of Johnny Kool

All out of bullets? Well no, not quite. I have had an unbelievable run recently and pretty much everything I've submitted has been picked up; so yeah, I do really need to quit dragging my ass and get down to writing some more. But I still got one or two rounds left.

 If you head over to Out Of The Gutter you'll be staring down the barrel of my latest. 'The Legend of Johnny Kool' is a story I've wanted to write for a while. I guess you could call it fan fiction, but not in the way you're thinking. Celebrity can be a blessing and a curse or so I'm told, it's not something I'll ever need to worry about!

A big thank you goes out to all round good guy, Court Merrigan for having me over to his Bareknuckles Pulp party. As parties go this one is all night spit and sawdust kegger with good music and better company, so why not grab a fifth and head on over: The Legend of Johnny Kool

Monday, September 17, 2012

Used Cars - Revenge isn't always sweet

'Mister on the day the lottery I win, I ain't never gonna ride in no used car again.'

Well, that's what Springsteen said, but for my part I would be straight down to the dealership for a vintage Challenger, like the one in my latest story.
I'm delighted to be back up at 'Near to the knuckle' with this one. Daz and Craig run an exceptional site. Just one look at the talent tells you that there are some seriously good stories on offer. A J Hayes, Gareth Spark, Joe Clifford & Chris Rhatigan (to name just a few) have all graced those hard boiled virtual pages. I only hope my short and nasty blast of exhaust gas is worthy of such fine company.
It's probably only the on set of my long awaited mid-life crisis, but there's just something about the engine note of a big block V8... But you should know revenge isn't always sweet, sometimes it's brutal: Used Cars

Monday, September 10, 2012

Dry Lightning

This wonderful weirdness by Mars Robinson is entitled 'Fallout Boy'.
Its the cover to the sixth issue of The Stone Hobo Magazine. Lurking behind it, you'll find one of my short stories.

'Dry Lightning' is set at the zenith of a long, hot Arizona summer, its a tale of endings and maybe also beginnings. I guess this is a little different to my usual noir / crime stuff, although there are still elements of those, it's more about the characters and the paths they walk.

It seems like I penned this one a long time ago, but on checking back I find it was only January this year. The real kicker for me is the event this story is based around took place all of 20 years ago. Whichever way you add it up, I'm getting old. But getting old is a damn site better than the alternative, so I'll take it.

I read the story through again today and you know what, I still like it. I hope you will too. Dry Lightning

Saturday, September 8, 2012

Fall Reads 2 - We're gonna need a bigger boat.

So here I was thinking I pretty much had things covered with a pile of good reading to take me well into the the winter months. But recently a whole truck load of hard-boiled treats for the kindle generation have appeared and are demanding to be added to roster. I wouldn't hold myself as no kind of a man if I didn't let you in on them.
41 stories, one great cause. Not only do you get some of the best names in crime fiction with this anthology, you also get that warm fuzzy feeling that can only be had from supporting a very worthwhile cause. For more information get over to Thomas Pluck's site and hear about it from the big man himself. Tommy P

This new novel from Snubnose Press is a collaboration from Frank Zafiro and Jim Wilsky. I must admit I'm not familiar with Frank’s work, but I'm a huge fan of Jim's short stories (He has a couple of crackers up over at Shotgun Honey) so I'm really looking forwards to dipping into this full length offering.

Joe Clifford is a real stand up dude and a damn fine writer. His début collection of short stories is another new release by Snubnose Press. If it's anything like his previous work published on-line it will be well worth the admission.

This is a Novella that harks back to the grand and gritty old age of pulp. 'Bluff City Brawler' is the latest in the 'Fightcard' series. Each book is written by a different author under the pen name of Jack Tunney. This particular little gem is by that wonderful purveyor of all things noir Heath Lowrance. 'Nuff said.

We can stick with Heath Lowrance as his second full length novel is also out this week. His first, 'The Bastard Hand was a damn fine tale. Heath tells me he thinks 'City of Hertics' is his best work to date. If that's even halfway close to the truth then this really is one not to miss.

There is also a plethora of new short stuff hitting the streets at the moment, including the first Shotgun Honey anthology, but more on them another time.

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Noir at the Bar - Bouchercon Style

Bouchercon, THE crime fiction convention is only a month away. This year's event takes place in Cleveland OH and I'm oh so gutted that I will be stuck here, on the wrong side of the pond for it's duration.

Just to add insult to injury, the good people at Snubnose Press have announced readings by some of the top crime authors working today to coincide with the convention. Josh Stallings, Ryan Sales, John Kenyon, Eric Beetner, Jedidiah Ayres and Dan O'Shea are the guys taking part. If that line up doesn’t do it for you, then check for a pulse because you may well be dead. 
The event is free to attend (you don't even need to be registered for Bouchercon) and will be held at the Wonderbar on 2044 E. 4th Street on Friday 5th October. If you make it along there, I hope you enjoy it. But please don't ever tell me what I missed.

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

The Ties That Bind - Review

Hey, I got a nice little review on one of my stories, posted over a Short Story 365 
Review by Sandra Seamans

'The Ties That Bind' is more of a character study than an actual story, but the writing and the characters keep you reading to the end. This story will stick with me a while as I wonder if things could have been different.

That really made my day. This story also picked up some great comments from a few well rounded individuals with excellent taste! No sock-puppets here, but I'll be buying the first round if we ever meet. You can check it out for yourself right here

Saturday, September 1, 2012

Fall Reads

'Summers gone, day's spent with the grass and sun'. Well that's how '90s rockers The Boo Radleys put it. I'm not sure that we got much sun here anyway, but with the holiday weekend in the UK just gone and Labour day now upon us, I guess that's all she wrote.
Pack up the lawn chairs and put the grill back in the garage 'cause next thing you know we will all be scraping the windshield and shivering. On the up side, dark evenings and colder weather make it a lot easier to find time to catch up on some reading and also help increase the daily word count. That stack of books on the end of my desk has grown to unstable proportions and I'm planning on making a dent in it. Here's a few that are on my hit list.

I've heard nothing but good things about Peter's debut novel and I can't wait to check it out for myself.

I know I'm late to this one, but I've kind of been savouring the prospect. Don Winslow is after all the crime writing equivalent of a very fine wine.

Okay, this one's on my electronic pile rather than the physical one, but I loved 'Beautiful Naked & Dead' so I can't wait to hook up with Moses McGuire again.

What's that you say, a short story collection from one of my favourite authors? Oh hell yes.

When I'm done, I'll be sure to post the odd review here on the blog and let you know what I thought. Whatever your reading, have a great fall y'all!

Friday, August 24, 2012

Party Favors

Reasons to be cheerful 1,2,3.
Well how about these? It's Friday, the UK is heading into a holiday weekend with the sun still shining (for now anyway) and my story 'Party Favors' is up at one of the coolest of the cool, Spinetingler Magazine.

I guess a lot of you hard-boiled types who follow the crime writing scene around the web will have seen my stuff popping up at places like Shotgun Honey and All Due Respect and wondered where the hell this hack, Chris Leek has sprung from.

Well, the fact is I've been at the writing gig for a while, but it's only in the past year that I've managed to settle myself into a genre where I finally feel at home. Having said that 'Party Favors' is a difficult story to categorize, it has a dash of crime and a good helping of horror too. I'm pretty sure it would need more spaceships to qualify as science fiction, but beyond that I'll leave it up to you to decide. I hope you like it. Click here for those Party Favors
Hey while you're there why not leave me a comment and let me know what you think.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Happy Birthday Joe

If Joe Strummer had survived the heart problems that took him from this world nearly 10 years ago, he would have been celebrating his 60th Birthday today. Okay so that makes me feel pretty old. But when the guitar rips at the start of 'Tommy Gun' I still feel it the same damn way I felt it 30 odd years ago. That's got to count for something right?
Here's to ya Joe!

Saturday, August 18, 2012

Review – Beautiful, Naked & Dead

I told you I had a few things I thought you'd like, well I think I saved the best until last. Anyone who has the good sense to know 'Give 'Em Enough Rope' is the finest Clash album automatically gets my vote, but this piece of bad-ass rocked harder than Joe Strummer ever did. 

There is nothing quite like the cold taste of gun oil on a stainless steel barrel.”

The first line of Josh Stallings debut novel 'Beautiful, Naked & Dead' tells you most of what you need to know about this hard boiled wonderland.
Moses McGuire is damaged goods, a casualty of war and so are those he leaves bleeding and broken in his wake. His revenge fuelled ride through the strip clubs of LA and the brothels of Nevada gives Mo just enough of a reason to keep from eating a bullet, besides there are plenty of others who are trying to save him the trouble.

'Beautiful, Naked & Dead' is fast paced, well honed and purrs like a V-8 with the hammer down. There are no punches pulled here, only some damn fine writing. I know I'm late to this party, but like Josh told me “ It's an all night stale beer on the floor strip-club party, nobodies ever late to it.” So if you haven't seen the show, slip a couple of dollars in the G-string and get yourself a lap dance you'll never forget: Beautiful, Naked & Dead

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

The Ties That Bind

I'm delighted to tell you that I have a story up at Chris Rhatigan's excellent site
'All Due Respect' today.

I have long been an admirer of the quality crime stories over there and it's a real buzz to have one of mine selected. 

'The Ties That Bind' is a story about family. Don't get the wrong idea, I've not gone all Waltons on you. That probably doesn't mean anything to you if you're under the age of 30, but blood is thicker than water or whiskey for that matter and you'll find plenty of both here: The Ties That Bind

I hope you'll stop in and give it the once over, why not post a comment while you're there and let me know what you think. I still have the Prozac  somewhere so have at it, I can take it!

Friday, August 10, 2012

Review - Dirty Words

I've got some 'Dirty Words' for ya. I know what you're thinking, I should quit running the potty mouth 'cause it's not big and it's not clever. But these words aren't mine, they belong to Todd Robinson and they're damn good.

I read a lot of short stories both on the kindle and in the flesh, it's where I live. Mainly I do it for the hit, but I'd be lying if I told you I didn't like to see how the other guys cook their stew. I can tell you now the 11 tales in 'Dirty Words' are the best I have come across in a very long time. I dug every one of them and that's something I've never been able to say about a collection before.

These are my kind of stories; rammed full of mobbed up bad guys, dive bars and wise cracking low-lifes. Todd Robinson writes what he knows and the mean streets of his New York bleed through the pages like an open wound. 'Dirty Words' is brutal, clever and at times laugh out loud funny, but above all that it's brilliantly crafted. This really is hard boiled bad ass at it's best.

My only complaint? Where the hell is the second volume!

Buy it now, you can thank me later: Dirty Words

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Roadkill and other animals

With the Olympics in full swing and sucking writing time from my universe like a frekkin black hole, I thought I'd better drop by and let you know that Elvis ain't dead and neither is my particular possum, he's just resting.*
(Unlike this dude who, let's face it, is pretty damn wasted).

First up, I'm really surprised at the response 'Easy Money' got. I didn't expect anyone to actually read the thing, let alone like it, but I got some great feedback from folks both here and on Twitter (thanks guys!) I'll look at posting some more stuff in the future.

In other news I'm pretty stoked to tell you I have a flash fiction piece coming up at Spinetingler later this month. It was reading the flash stories hosted by Spinetingler and those at Shotgun Honey and The Flash Fiction Offensive that convinced me to try some quick and deadly scribbling of my own. Now by using a patented mix of violence, cohesion and blackmail, I have been fortunate enough to get my ass accepted at all three.

You can still read my sweat stained efforts at those other two kings of cool.

Hey, while your over at Shotgun Honey you really should make a point of checking out 'Red Spanish Night' by my buddy Gareth Spark.

The pen jockeying continues and normal service will be resumed shortly, but now if you'll excuse me it's time for the semi- final of the Mixed Doubles Tantric Table Tennis. C'mon Kirkplaistan that gold is there for the taking!

*Insert rest of Monty Python sketch here.

Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Review - Hill Country

I've got lots of reviews to post on stuff I think you'll really dig, but you're gonna have to be patient as I've also got beers to drink, fights to start and a tortoise that's needs vacuuming.

Okay, okay don't get your panties in a bunch here you go.

When I got the Kindle thingy, R. Thomas Brown's 'Hill Country' was the first read I paid cash money for and it proved to be a hell of a bang for a measly couple of bucks.

Finding the mutilated body of a pedophile on his front porch, is just the start of Gabe Hill's bad news. What follows is a mess of trouble left in the wake of his estranged, dope dealing brother. Gabe plays both the hunter and the hunted in this South Texas safari and with the dubious help of a smokin' hot Wanda, he embarks on a dangerous trip through an underbelly populated with double crossing low-lifes, psycho cultists and assorted badass dudes.

Just so as you know, this book is not for those of you with a delicate disposition. (If you're one of them nervous types, you really shouldn't be here anyway. BOO! See don't say I didn't warn you.) 'Hill Country' is a fast paced and very well written tale that has a dusting of dark humor and more grit than, well... something exceptionally gritty.
You'll find it hitching along the highway in between horror and noir. You really should pull over and give it a ride. 

You can get your very own copy to love and cherish: Right Here

Saturday, July 28, 2012

Easy Money

Okay, so here's the deal, I wrote this bizarre little tale and I don't have a clue what to do with it. I could just leave it to rot on my hard drive (or maybe send it to Jerry Springer), but I figure that's no way to treat your words.
I don't post much of my own stuff here and there are probably lots of good reasons for that, but what the hell...

There ain’t nothing like walking out them gates a free man and feeling the sun on your face. Take it from one who knows, getting out is just about the finest thing in this world, it’s better than beer or whiskey, maybe even pussy. Don’t get me wrong, I’m planning on getting reacquainted with all three of them just as soon as I can.

I got myself busted for a job me and this guy, Sully pulled up in Spring Creek. I had the kind of debts no honest man could pay and Sully told me he was always looking for a little easy money. First Mutual Savings & Loan had plenty of that, all it took was the stones to go get it.

The way it’s done is to go in hard like you mean it, don’t take no shit and only hit the cash draws. Forget the vault, it takes too long and it’ll hang you out to dry, by the time you get done playing around back there you got SWAT throwing you a party in the parking lot. The cash draws are quick and dirty, like a good whore.

That’s how Sully and me hit it, we didn’t hurt nobody and breezed out with a stone cold 30 grand. Afterwards we split the take we went our own ways. I stashed most of mine out at the Johnson place, coffee cans under the floor, safer than any bank I know. I was too busy congratulating myself to notice some of those bills were marked and when I started spreading them around on cheap booze and cheaper women that was all she wrote. I don’t know what Sully had planned, that weren’t my business. All I know is they caught him laying heavy at the Stud tables up in Reno.

I got whacked up with a five stretch, the judge figured I was the brains of the outfit, if you can believe that. Sully-boy got off with an easy three, leastways it should have been. Some people ain’t cut out for the joint and I suppose Sully’s just one of them. He never wrote me or nothing so I don’t know the truth of it, but I heard he spent most of his term getting nailed by a 300lb sister called Daisy Duke. That’s a hard way to live, when all you got to look forward to is a reach around from a gorilla.

Still the past is done. I paid my dues mister and I got a letter from the parole board to prove it. People say that prison changes a man. It changed me. I’m free and clear now and that’s just how it’s gonna stay. From what I hear it sure changed Sully too. He calls himself Stardust now, spent what was left of his cut on a pair of sit-up-and-beg titties and big ghetto booty. He or maybe I should say she's working down in Vegas, selling it to high rollers who go that way for 250 bucks a ride. I guess it’s a living but it don’t sound much like easy money to me.