There’s noir and then there’s Paignton Noir. If you have never heard of this type of noir before that’s okay Tom Leins invented it. Leins takes a tourist town on the southwest coast of England and turns it into a cross between Boston’s Combat Zone and San Francisco’s Tenderloin where killers, pornographers, pedophiles, gamblers, and drug addicts are the everyday people in the streets and bars. The Paignton city fathers will not be giving Leins a key to the city anytime soon.
Leins begins Snuff Racket a has-been American actor making a bad movie in Milan in the 70s. Then Snuff Racket swings forward to present day Paignton. Crime is the air that Paigntonians breathe and horror is their landscape.
The barmaid, Spacey Tracey, is outside – scrubbing blood off the wheelchair ramp. There was a fight last night. Not a bad one – a standard mid-week scuffle – but a fight all the same. Seeing rotten teeth smashed out on railings at closing time may seem shocking to some, but I’ve witnessed amateur dental work perpetrated by hoodlums with pliers and chisels in Brixham basements. This kind of low-rent shit pales in comparison.
Forcibly hired to find a snuff film, a private investigator heads out on the Paignton streets, not so much kicking ass and taking names, but giving and receiving brutal beatings. If you are a touch squeamish and think only cats should solve murders, stay away. If you don’t mind violence like Sonny Corleone’s beating of Carlo Rizzi then Tom Leins’ Snuff Racket is for you. Going for the price of a cup of coffee in the 1980s and also a quick read – an hour tops – you should buy this today. After you’re done digging this and you want to read some more Paignton Noir, pick up Leins’ Skull Meat (review) and wait for a collection of short stories coming out in a few months. Leins also has Repetition Kills You coming out in September on All Due Respect Books.