Under The Influence – Richard Brautigan – by Chris Orlet

Richard Brautigan was not a great novelist. He was a worse poet. He did, however, have a remarkable – and fleeting – talent for tapping into a certain substrata of the national zeitgeist.

Thus, for a few years Brautigan was the unlikeliest of counter-culture icons. One critic noted that in the 1960’s, the release of a new Brautigan book was akin to the appearance of a new Bob Dylan album.

I was introduced to Brautigan’s works through the dog-eared copy of his novella In Watermelon Sugar that my older sister had abandoned in the bathroom closet–which may be the most effective way yet devised to introduce fifteen-year-old boys to literature.

I didn’t get In Watermelon Sugar, which isn’t surprising since most book reviewers didn’t quite know what to make of it either; a surreal allegory with a post-apocalyptic setting and a sun that shone a different color every day and what the hell was watermelon sugar anyway?

I had a sense that I wasn’t supposed to get it. We were entering strange new territory, having left the familiar and safe land of John Steinbeck and Willa Cather around the last forested bend.

I kept coming back to In Watermelon Sugar, like a hippie fisherman to a dependable trout stream. Perhaps I was attracted by the subversive themes of revolution and peace and other radical ideas my parents and the Catholic Church would have disapproved of.

Or perhaps it was because it made me laugh:

“Here is a list of the things that I will tell you about in this book. There’s no use saving it until later. I might as well tell you now where you’re at—

      1:  iDEATH. (A good place.)

      2:  Charley (My friend.)

      3:  The tigers and how they lived and how beautiful they were and how they died and how they talked to me while they ate my parents, and how I talked back to them and how they stopped eating my parents, though it did not help my parents any, nothing could help them by then, and we talked for a long time and one of the tigers helped me with my arithmetic, then they told me to go away while they finished eating my parents, and I went away. I returned later that night to burn the shack down. That’s what we did in those days.”

Brautigan was a master at creating poignant mood-scapes with just a few words. Partly it was his naive, childlike narration. Always terribly sad and terribly funny at the same time.

Years after the forty-nine-year-old author discharged a revolver into his mouth and followed his hero Hemingway to the great library of unpublished books in the sky, Brautigan’s daughter Ianthe sought to discover the spring of her father’s sadness.

From time to time, he’d hinted at the causes in his fiction, particularly in his semi-autobiographical novel So the Wind Doesn’t Blow it All Away, where he described a mystical Pacific Northwest childhood full of wonder and sadness and tragedy. Ianthe wrote that Brautigan’s mother would leave him and his little sister terrified and alone in their welfare motel room for days upon end, while she went out looking for a new husband. She wrote that her father was so hungry once he threw a brick through a police station window so he wouldn’t starve.

Most of what I read fades immediately from memory. Plot, characters, setting, mood, all vanish like a used bookstore in a quickly gentrifying neighborhood.

But Brautigan has remained with me like a deep and fresh scar.

A few of the stories in his short story collection The Revenge of the Lawn have especially stuck with me.

I’m thinking of his story “⅓, ⅓. ⅓,” chosen by Raymond Carver as one of the great American short stories of the last century. The story is about a young couple who are attempting to write The Great American Novel only they have no typewriter. They ask the narrator, whom they have heard typing away in his cardboard box, if he will collaborate with them.

“I was about seventeen and made lonely and strange by that Pacific Northwest of so many years ago, that dark, rainy land of 1952. I’m thirty-one now and I still can’t figure out what I meant by living the way I did in those days.”

The three strike a deal in which they will split the immense profits of their book into thirds. The story ends with the narrator “pounding at the gates of American literature.”

Brautigan’s best work is not the cult classic Trout Fishing in America, which is as meandering as a shimmering north Pacific stream and as uneven as the floor of an old rural Oregon shack, but his short story “A Short History of Oregon” which tells of a young man who goes hitchhiking and hunting in the rain and comes unexpectedly upon some children on the porch of a shack. There’s more to it, but it’s in the telling. Brautigan’s telling, not mine.

The story’s ending couldn’t be more perfect. So why don’t I leave you with that?

“I’ll have to admit that I was a strange sight coming down their muddy little road in the middle of God-damn nowhere with darkness coming on and a 30:30 cradled down in my arms, so the night rain wouldn’t get in the barrel.

The kids didn’t say a word as I walked by. The sisters’ hair was unruly like dwarf witches’. I didn’t see their folks. There was no light on in the house.

A Model A truck lay on its side in front of the house. It was next to three empty fifty-gallon oil drums. They didn’t have a purpose any more. There were some odd pieces of rusty cable. A yellow dog came out and stared at me.

I didn’t say a word in my passing. The kids were soaking wet now. They huddled together in silence on the porch. I had no reason to believe that there was anything more to life than this.”

Bio:

Chris Orlet is the author of the forthcoming A Taste of Shogtun (All Due Respect) and In the Pines (New Pulp Press).

Are you a crime writer? Would you like to write a short piece about one of your formative influences? If so, drop me a line via the contact form on the About page!

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Under The Influence – Stephen King – by Beau Johnson

I have read many authors.  King.  Barker.  Koontz.  Irving.  Larsson.  These are only a few and I couldn’t possibly name them all.  But who it has always been about, and who it always comes back to for me is Stephen King.  Ever since I bought Misery for my brother all those years ago. A birthday gift if I remember correctly – because I was now a fifteen-year old with a job, I’ll have you know!

He failed to read it, but I was hooked, becoming what King calls a ‘constant reader’.  I mean, who wouldn’t be after you’ve met the likes of Annie Wilkes?  She is perfect in every way.  In every way I like, that is.  And therein is what draws me, and people like me, to King, I think.  Not that I turn from the sunshine totally, but because I’m drawn to the darkness just a little bit more.  It’s not for some, sure, but for me his influence began right there, in my teens.

Mr. King, as I have said before, became my Vader.

Not Anakin.  Vader.

It wasn’t until my twenties that he blew my mind, though.  When I began to understand the enormity of what was unfolding before me and that I’d been invited to the dance without even knowing; when I realized Randall Flag from The Stand was in fact the wizard from Eyes of The Dragon.  As I said:  Mind.  Blown.

My own writing, for what it’s worth, is far from Uncle Stevie’s but he is still very much a part of the words I put to page.   I haven’t a Dark Tower like King, nor will I ever, but I do have Bishop Rider – a man trying to save himself by saving others, and the main protagonist from my collection, A Better Kind of Hate.

Born of influence, I truly believe I would not have met him if not for my brother’s lack of interest in a birthday present I would end up taking for myself.

I will never reach the heights of Stephen King, no, and I know as much, but if I ever have the chance to meet him I hope I’d be able to articulate the influence he has had upon me and my life.

If not, maybe I’d find a way to put those words into a story…

Maybe I’d ensure it ended in revenge…

Bio: Beau Johnson has been published before, usually on the darker side of town. Such fine establishments might include Shotgun Honey, Out of the Gutter Online, Horror Sleaze Trash, Spelk and Story & Grit. His collection, A Better Kind of Hate, is available now via Down & Out Books. 

Website: https://www.beaujohnsonfiction.com/

Are you a crime writer? Would you like to write a short piece about one of your formative influences? If so, drop me a line via the contact form on the About page!

Under The Influence – David Goodis – by Matt Phillips

It’s fitting that I found David Goodis’s novel, Shoot the Piano Player, in a dusty used bookstore in San Diego, California. The place––on the corner of 35th and Adams––was overrun with angry house cats and smelled like a tomb. For some odd reason, the book itself––originally titled Down There––had flecks of dirt between its pages. Maybe somebody unearthed it from a shallow grave and tried to sell it for gambling money.

A story like that wouldn’t surprise me when it comes to David Goodis.

He kept shit dark; that’s how he liked it.

The opening sentence in Shoot the Piano Player? “There were no street lamps, no lights at all.”

For Goodis to start a story in such darkness makes it necessary to bring his characters to the light. To any light, perhaps. When it comes to the novel’s protagonist, Eddie the piano player, that means coming to terms with who and what he is. Eddie might have been a concert pianist, might have been famous, might have been a goddamn winner in a sea of losers.

But the final truth is that Eddie is down and out.

David Goodis somehow knew in his soul what it was to be down and out; more than anything else, that’s what you get from his novels, a surging and ceaseless sense of dread. You see it in Night Squad, in Cassidys Girl, in Nightfall.

Noir tells us that, for most people, things do not turn out as we hope.

In other words: Do not believe the advertising agencies.

Goodis knew this truth better than anyone, and he lived it out when he died a mysterious death in Philadelphia, the city of his birth. Two decades earlier, he had it made as a scriptwriter in Hollywood, but Goodis gave all that up––no story book ending here. Noir, people.

I do not know if Goodis had love or money when he died, but I doubt he had much of either.

And he was not aware that, after his death, his novels would be re-examined by a cadre of critics, readers, and burgeoning crime writers. And those very same novels would be seen not as run-of-the-mill pulp fiction, but rather as high drama done in the most accessible of forms. When you read Goodis, you find elements of tragedy and humor common across all the great art forms. You see the fall from grace in Night Squad when ex-policeman Corey Bradford argues with his own badge: “Without sound he’d say to the badge, what the hell, jim—we ain’t tryin’ to kid nobody; we sure ain’t out to cause grief or suck blood. It’s just that we wanna live and have fun and be happy; and we wish all others the same.” And you see the depths of addiction mined to the core in Cassidys Girl when Cassidy laments, “…in the deep ridges of his mind he saw the bottle as a loathsome, grotesque creature that had lured Doris and captured her and pleasured itself with her, draining the sweet life from her body as it poured its rottenness into her. He saw the bottle as something poisonous and altogether hateful, and Doris completely helpless in its grasp.”

If Goodis didn’t have love when he died, he sure as shit has it now.

As a writer of noir myself, Goodis taught me that it isn’t a choice to write about flawed people––it’s a calling and, for some damn reason, there are a few chosen ones who know how to do it…Who must do it. That’s why my own work deals with the bitter fact that, for lots of us, we are what we are, and there’s no escaping our faults and the faults of our world. Like my characters in Accidental Outlaws—to a man (and woman) they’re all warped by the desert region where they live. Their bones are seasoned with dirt. In my book Three Kinds of Fool, Jess Forsyth is a rehabilitated convict. But when he runs into an old friend, Jess’s previous life begins to cast a long shadow on him. In Bad Luck City, my novella set in the Vegas underbelly, a washed-up reporter named Sim Palmer encounters the sins of his father. Palmer’s dark journey illuminates the paradox of loving one’s family, no matter the bad deeds they’ve done. These characters—and their desperate lives—are the notes I must play.

And, like Eddie in Shoot the Piano Player, if you know how to play, you better damn well play. Doesn’t matter if it’s in a neighborhood bar or a fancy concert hall.

You can play, you better damn well play.

David Goodis may not be studied in the guarded halls of the ivory tower, but the man knew how to play. And when he sat down at his desk, rested his fingers on the typewriter, and punched those keys…

Jeez, a sound came out––and it was music.

Bio: Matt Phillips lives in San Diego. His books include Accidental Outlaws, Three Kinds of Fool, Redbone, and Bad Luck City. He has published short fiction in Shotgun Honey, Tough Crime, Near to the Knuckle, Out of the Gutter’s Flash Fiction Offensive, Manslaughter Review, Powder Burn Flash, and Fried Chicken and Coffee.

Website: www.mattphillipswriter.com

Are you a crime writer? Would you like to write a short piece about one of your formative influences? If so, drop me a line via the contact form on the About page!

Under The Influence – Richard Stark – by Greg Barth

“When the phone rang, Parker was in the garage, killing a man.”

That first line from Firebreak was my introduction to Richard Stark. And wow, what an introduction!

I’d heard of Richard Stark, knew that Stark was a pen-name used by the bestselling author Donald E. Westlake, and I’d seen the movie Payback starring Mel Gibson that was based on Stark’s novel, The Hunter. I think I first became aware of Richard Stark through Stephen King mentioning that his novel, The Dark Half, was inspired by Stark and Westlake. One of the characters in The Dark Half was even named George Stark. But I’d never read anything by Stark. Much of his work was long out of print and mostly owned by collectors.

Westlake stopped publishing as Stark in 1974. For twenty-three years Richard Stark was inactive. But, in 1997, something wonderful occurred. After two decades of silence, Comeback by Richard Stark was published. There was no explanation for the hiatus. Stark was back, and his character, Parker, was once again found in the middle of a heist going wrong.

When I picked up Firebreak at the local library in Asheville, North Carolina and read that opening line, I was immediately hooked. It was the literary equivalent of crack cocaine. Talk about being under the influence. I read everything by Stark I could get my hands on.

Stark’s character, Parker, was my first introduction to a fictional character who was truly amoral. I was reading about the bad guy here, and I don’t mean a misunderstood anti-hero or a Robin Hood rob-from-the-rich-and-give-to-the-poor bad guy. No. Parker was just bad. He robbed from the rich to fund his own life of lavish leisure. He was tough. He could hurt people. Kill people. He was like a shark in the pool amongst civilized people, taking a bite where he could find it. His moral compass didn’t point in the same direction that yours and mine might.

The impact of Parker on my fiction writing is immeasurable. Parker coupled with Tony Soprano or Walter White led me to write the kind of fiction I do today. I write about the bad guys.

Unlike Westlake, Stark wrote with a lean (and yes, stark) style. He kept descriptions simple. You don’t get deep POV from Parker. He doesn’t say much. There’s no interior monologue. You don’t know what the guy is thinking. You have to watch what he does. The books all get to the point immediately. I liken them to the James Bond movies. Those movies always started out with Bond in the middle of doing something interesting. The Parker stories begin the same way. Parker is always in action with the first line of the book. And, as a reader, you are always hooked by that first line. That moment, standing in the library, when I read, “When the phone rang, Parker was in the garage, killing a man,” you better believe I read the second line. And The third, and so on. Stopping was out of the question.

When I sat down to write the novel Selena, I deliberately tried to draw upon everything I’d learned from reading Stark while also doing my own thing. And what a blast it was to write that first novel about her. The rest were just as much fun. And now, on July 1st, All Due Respect books will be releasing the fifth and final volume in the Selena series, titled Everglade. It’s been a fun, violent romp that I’ve had with Selena over the last couple of years, and I very much look forward to the final volume seeing the light of day soon. I hope you enjoy reading them as much as I enjoyed writing them. Personally, I will miss Selena. As a fictional character, I heard her voice loud and clear in my head, which made writing about her an easy task. I always knew exactly what she was going to do, which – more often than not – was the wrong thing.

Everything by Richard Stark is now back in print. Thanks to the University of Chicago Press, you don’t have to be a collector of rare books to enjoy them. So, if you’ve never read anything by Stark, you should go to it immediately. Enjoy. And, while you’re at it, you might also check out that Greg Barth guy. I hear his stuff is okay too.

Bio: Greg Barth is the author of Bona Fide JobsWhere Moth and Rust Corrupt, as well as Selena and three other follow-ups Diesel TherapySuicide Lounge, and Road Carnage. He lives and writes in Bowling Green, Kentucky.

Are you a crime writer? Would you like to write a short piece about one of your formative influences? If so, drop me a line via the contact form on the About page!

Under The Influence – Jim Thompson – by Paul Heatley

Before I stared writing noir, I read it. Ellroy, Simenon, Himes.

Thompson.

The first Jim Thompson book I read was The Killer Inside Me. I remember picking it up from the Borders at Silverlink in the north east of England, and a friend I was with looked at it, the title, curled her lip and shook her head. Perhaps she thought it was a biography.

Before I reached his work, Thompson’s was a name that kept creeping up in regard to the work of other writers I’d read and admired. I was drawn as much by his life story as the reviews of his books (in much the same way I initially found myself drawn by the biographies of the likes of James Ellroy and Harry Crews). Those reviews, though – nightmarish noir populated by unlikeable characters taking the scenic route to Hell? I was there. I was front and centre. I couldn’t get at them fast enough.

The Killer Inside Me did not disappoint. Nor did The Getaway, or the pseudo-Greek tragedy of The Grifters. Then came my favourite – Savage Night. This took all of his themes, of bad people doing bad things and having bad things done to them, of being trapped within hellish dimensions of their own design, and amped them up to a surreal degree. The ending (I understand there’s a very experimentally laid-out version, but the one I read was straightforward) is quite probably the best, and certainly most memorable, he ever wrote. The image of the axe-wielding, infant-footed Ruthie practising walking on her abnormal limb is one that stays in the mind, as is the last line – ‘And he smelled good.’

Jim Thompson just didn’t give a shit. I mean, maybe he did, I wouldn’t assume to know the man – but if any shits were given they don’t show. His writing is off the wall, it’s running screaming into the abyss. As Stephen King said, ‘Thompson let himself see everything, he let himself write it down, then he let himself publish it.’

Thompson was part of the school of writers that ploughed through their work as if driven by demons, and it shows. There’s a frantic urgency, an intensity, to his plotting and his characters that sweeps you up and carries you along scrambling for purchase, charging head-on into a collision that you can see coming but can’t do anything to avoid.

This is noir. It doesn’t have to be long and it doesn’t have to be pretty, but it has to do something inside you. It has to stir feelings you’d rather remained unstirred. It has to show you how the world really is – that there isn’t always a happy ending, and things just don’t work out the way you want them to.

Jean-Luc Godard said to make a movie all you need is a gun and a girl. Thompson personified this motif in written form, then shows how far you can take these minimal props, and to what crazed, extreme lengths you can go. Sometimes he doesn’t even bother with the gun.

No other author, with the possible exception of Stephen King, has influenced my writing the way Jim Thompson has. I’ve never wanted to be the kind of writer that puts out a book once every five years or so. I want to be prolific. I want to take all these ideas in my head and get them down on paper. In many cases I want to write the kind of thing you can take in at a sitting, then hopefully sit back and think, Fuck.

My last novella, An Eye For An Eye, was shaped by the caper novels of Chester Himes. Fatboy, however, is all Thompson. It’s my ode to the uncrowned king of noir. It’s got the girl, and it’s got the gun. It’s got bad people doing bad things. It’s brief, and it’s to the point.

And the ending?

Well, I guess that all depends on your definition of the term ‘happy’.

Bio: Paul Heatley lives in the north east of England. 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. His fiction is dark and bleak, populated with misfits and losers on a hellbound descent, often eschewing genre and geography to create a nightmarish vision of a harsh and uncaring world. His blog can be found here

Are you a crime writer? Would you like to write a short piece about one of your formative influences? If so, drop me a line via the contact form on the About page!

Under The Influence – Tony Hancock – by Paul D Brazill

They say that all small boys are influenced by their big brother’s music collection, and while that may well be true of me, I was also influenced by my family’s taste.  Luckily I grew up in a time when television and radio weren’t as youth focused as they are now and I could enjoy the same shows as my parents and siblings. Will Hay, Ealing Comedies and, of course, Tony Hancock. During the miners’ strikes in the ‘70s there were power cuts. Which meant no telly. Reading comics by candle light and listening to an old transistor radio. Radio 2, usually, since my parents were of that age group. The Navy Lark, Round The Horne and, of course, Hancock.

Tony Hancock – the easiest comedian for charades – and I share the same birthday, May 12th. Whether or not we share the same death day remains to be seen, of course, and let’s just hope we can put that little fact-finding mission on hold for a while, eh?

One of the UK’s major television and radio stars throughout the 1950s and early ‘60s, British actor and comedian Tony Hancock killed himself on 25 June 1968. He overdosed on booze and pills and left a suicide note that said:

‘Things just seemed to go too wrong too many times’

Indeed, Hancock’s eponymous character on radio, on television, and in film, regularly tried his hand at countless activities and endeavours that invariably failed.

One episode – The Bedsitter – teeters dangerously on the precipice of bleak existentialism. The Bedsitter is a one-room set, one-man-show, where Hancock endlessly flips through a Bertrand Russell tome trying to find meaning in life, but fails, of course.

In the most famous episode of his radio- and later television- show The Blood Donor,  ‘the lad himself’  proudly donates a pint of his particularly rare blood only to end the episode by cutting himself so badly on a breadknife that he needs a transfusion of his own blood. The radio broadcast was a resounding success but recording of the television version of The Blood Donor proved to be problematic as Hancock had recently been involved in a car accident and suffered from concussion so that he had to read his lines from autocue.

After the American failure of his film debut The Rebel, Hancock broke with his long time writing team of Galton and Simpson, who were responsible for most of the great writing in Hancock’s shows, as well as ditching his long-term agent, the splendidly named Beryl Vertue. This pretty much led to his career decline.

Disappointment was always breathing at the back of Hancock’s neck, it seemed.

Hancock, and other character actors, are regularly in my mind when I’m creating characters. Quigley, the hit man in my yarn The Bucket List, was partly inspired by the image of Tony Hancock stalking the streets with a gun.

Hancock could be said to be the perfect noir comedian, in fact. I’ve said before that crime fiction is about bringing order to chaos and noir is about bringing chaos to order, and Tony Hancock’s comedy is pure noir. A natural loser. When I started writing I wanted to write small odd stories about small odd people.

And so was ‘the lad himself’, unfortunately.

Like his fictional incarnation, he was prone to introspection, a concoction of egotism and self-doubt which he bared when he was interviewed in the BBCs Face To Face programme in the early 1960s.

Spike Milligan said of Hancock that he was a ‘Very difficult man to get on with. He used to drink excessively. You felt sorry for him. He ended up on his own. I thought, he’s got rid of everybody else, he’s going to get rid of himself and he did.’

As Hancock said: ‘Stone me, what a life!’

Bio: Paul D. Brazill‘s books include Too Many Crooks, Guns Of Brixton, A Case Of Noir, and Kill Me Quick! He was born in England and lives in Poland. His writing has been translated into Italian, Finnish, German and Slovene. He has had writing published in various magazines and anthologies, including three editions of The Mammoth Books of Best British Crime. His blog is here.

Are you a crime writer? Would you like to write a short piece about one of your formative influences? If so, drop me a line via the contact form on the About page!

Under The Influence – Elmore Leonard – By Tom Leins

I was 25 when I picked up my first Elmore Leonard novel. The Big Bounce.

I plucked it off the communal bookshelf at a hostel in Tulum, Mexico, during a thunderstorm. The hostel was opposite a strip club, presumably very popular with truckers because the road outside was lined with 18-wheelers. For reasons I will never truly be able to explain, the hostel manager was listening to Tina Turner’s Private Dancer, on repeat. I was giving my liver a break from drinking games for the night, and this slim, battered volume grabbed my attention. At this point in my reading life, crime novels were still something of a novelty, and The Big Bounce was like nothing I had ever read at that time. The deceptively simple plot and effortless delivery hooked me in from the get-go, and I tore through the book in a couple of sittings.

It kick-started an obsession with crime fiction that gets stronger with every passing year. I remember following up The Big Bounce with a late period Matt Scudder novel in a collapsed armchair in a Mexican border town, waiting for an early morning bus to Belize… I read a Henning Mankell novel on a dilapidated coach in Guatemala, with a local farmer eating a Styrofoam container full of fried chicken over my head, his holstered machete clattering into me every time we hit a pothole… I read The Dogs of Winter by Kem Nunn in the hammock of a bare-brick El Salvador motel, guts churning with some unspecified ailment…

All great books, but it was the Leonard one that made the biggest impression on me and my writing. I had enjoyed the movie versions of Jackie Brown and Out of Sight years earlier, but never really considered tracing those movies back to the source – an oversight I duly corrected when I returned home. From the gritty, booze-swilling Detroit stories through to the more colourful Florida-set novels and beyond I envied the casual way he gently nudged bad situations into even worse ones. I envied the way that his taciturn tough-guy protagonists were always the smartest guys in the room. I envied the way his stories were cooler than everyone else’s.

Elmore Leonard is the kind of writer that forces you to get better. There were several occasions, after finishing a Leonard book, when the sheer impressiveness of what I had just read derailed my own writing attempts for weeks. Leonard’s influence on my own writing is probably difficult to detect, but he schools me every time I pick up one of his books.

Over the last decade, since picking up The Big Bounce, I’ve read dozens of Elmore Leonard novels, and never encountered a dud. How many authors can you say that about?

P.S. One of the strangest memories I have relating to The Big Bounce happened a couple of months down the line. We rolled into Honduras on Boxing Day after spending a rum-soaked Christmas at a vegetarian commune in Guatemala. When I’m on the road for an extended period, my first reaction is usually to switch on the TV – mainly to check that it works! I switched on the TV, cracked open my can of Salva Vida, and slumped on the bed. I thought I had lost my mind, as I saw Vinnie Jones, Owen Wilson and Charlie Sheen clad in Hawaiian shirts, appearing to recreate a 40-year-old book I had read for the first time a few weeks earlier! (It was years before I watched the movie in its entirety, and it was every bit as bad as the reviews made it sound. Leonard was no stranger to bad movie adaptations, but this one plumbed new depths! A topic for another blog post, if ever there was one…)

Bio:

Tom Leins is a disgraced ex-film critic from Paignton, UK. His short stories have been published by the likes of Akashic Books, Shotgun Honey, Near to the Knuckle, Flash Fiction Offensive, Horror Sleaze Trash and Spelk Fiction. A novelette, Skull Meat, is available via Amazon and a new book, Repetition Kills You, will be published by All Due Respect in September 2018. For more information, please visit: Things To Do In Devon When You’re Dead.

Are you a crime writer? Would you like to write a short piece about one of your formative influences? If so, drop me a line via the contact form on the About page!