An Eye For An Eye Series

So, I may not have been particularly busy on here, but I’ve been preeeeeety busy in the outside world!

You may remember my book An Eye For An Eye, published by Near To The Knuckle (who are now going by Close To The Bone), well, it’s now a series of three books! An Eye For An Eye has a new front cover to go with its two new brothers – The Runner, which is a standalone tale featuring appearances from characters in the original story, and Violent By Design is the sequel proper to Eye. All three feature the exploits of the Doyle family, a crime organisation based in Newcastle-Upon-Tyne in the north east of England.

Theyre fast, they’re violent, and they’re filled with heart! One reviewer has described them as a cross between Brit Grit and Kitchen Sink Drama, which I’m pretty pleased with. As far as my own influences go, if you’re a fan of Get Carter, Chester Himes, or, to a lesser extent, James Ellroy, maybe you’ll find these bad motherfuckers up your alley. I’ve put a link below that’ll take you to the Eye For An Eye paperback at Amazon, where you’ll easily find the other two in the series, too. Also, you can find images below of how beautiful the three look together – three covers and the spines! I think you’ll find the spines particularly special!

Anyway, if you find yourself interested enough to give the link below a click and then to give them a read, I hope you enjoy!


Reading List 2017

In 2017 I had my fiftieth (and 51st) short story published; my novella Fatboy was released; An Eye For An Eye came out in paperback, having previously been available only as an e-book; and I compiled my six e-books The Motel Whore, The Vampire, The Boy, The Mess, The Pitbull, and Three into two paperback collections entitled The Motel Whore & Other Stories, and Guns, Drugs, And Dogs. So, I’ve tried to keep busy, and I’ll be looking to stay as busy as I can in 2018. We’ll see how it goes. Anyway, here’s the books I’ve read over the last twelve months in the order I read them:

The Secret History Of Twin Peaks – Mark Frost

We3 – Grant Morrison

Y: The Last Man Compendium Book 3 – Brian K Vaughan

Y: The Last Man Compendium Book 4 – Brian K Vaughan

Y: The  Last Man Compendium Book 5 – Brian K Vaughan

American Scream: The Bill Hicks Story – Cynthia True

A Case Of Noir – Paul D Brazill

The Death Of WCW – RD Reynolds & Bryan Alvarez

The Butcher – Alina Reyes

Gang Wars Of The North – Stephen Richards

The Sayers – Stephen Sayers

Fight Club 2 – Chuck Palahniuk

You Could Do Something Amazing With Your Life [You Are Raoul Moat] – Andrew Hankinson

Saga: Book 7 – Brian K Vaughan

The Art Of Asking – Amanda Palmer

Lovecraft Country – Matt Ruff

High Fidelity – Nick Hornby

The Real Cool Killers – Chester Himes

Skull Meat – Tom Leins

The Crazy Kill – Chester Himes

The Force – Don Winslow

The Handmaid’s Tale – Margaret Atwood

A Lesson In Violence – Jordan Harper

All You Can Eat – Shane McKenzie

The Punisher: Born – Garth Ennis

Tribesmen – Adam Cesare

Hillbilly Elegy – JD Vance

Bigfoot Crank Stomp – Erik Williams

Excercise Bike – Carlton Mellick III

Race To The Bottom – Chris Rhatigan

Hex – Thomas Olde Heuvelt

Twin Peaks: The Final Dossier – Mark Frost

Zero Saints – Gabino Iglesias

Vern In The Heat – Rob Pierce

I Am The Wolf – Mark Lanegan

The Ice Harvest – Scott Phillips

364 Days Of Tedium – Dave Cornmell

Route 12 – Marietta Miles

There it is, a real mix of titles I feel. The prize for most-read author is the same as last year, and that honour goes to Brian K Vaughan. I did read a lot of comic books this year, but fuck, Y: The Last Man is an amazing, hilarious, heartbreaking series and should be read by everyone.

I won’t do a top five of titles or anything (I’m not a fast enough reader to get through enough books to warrant one), but I’m gonna pinpoint two in particular – A Lesson In Violence by Jordan Harper and Zero Saints by Gabino Iglesias. Read them, read them right now, you don’t need me to tell you how great they are, there’s plenty other people out there that have done that already, I’m just another voice in the chorus at this point.

Let’s hope I can get through some more titles in the coming year, and finish some of the books still in progress (mostly short story collections). It’s embarrassing being such a slow reader…



Twin Peaks

I haven’t waited twenty-five years for the conclusion of Twin Peaks, but the six years I did wait felt long enough. It’s with a mixture of excitement and worry that I’m counting down to the finale, as I think most fans probably are.

I was fifteen when I first heard of David Lynch. It was a Saturday night and Mulholland Drive was on the movie channels, so I gave it a try. It blew me away, I’d never seen anything like it. I saw Lost Highway and Blue Velvet soon after, and I read into Lynch and his works. Twin Peaks was mentioned with great regularity, so for my sixteenth birthday I got the first season box set.

Truth be told, I wasn’t really into it, with the exception of the dream sequence and the dancing dwarf. THAT one scene was the Lynch I was accustomed to from the three movies I’d seen. So I watched it through, right up to that cliffhanger ending, and then I moved on. I didn’t hunt out season two, though I recall seeing it once at the Metro Centre HMV.

Something about Twin Peaks stuck with me, though. I’d take that box set down off the shelf and think to myself how I should really revisit it, see if I could understand what exactly it was everyone was raving about. Maybe it was my love for Lynch’s work in general that kept my interest alive. Viewings of Wild At Heart, Inland Empire. Rewatching the dancing dwarf on YouTube. I reached twenty-two, going on twenty-three, and I suggested watching it to my then girlfriend. She agreed.

Holy fuck, it was like seeing it for the first time anew, and I GOT it. The unending wailing grief that opens the show, then the arrival of Special Agent Dale Cooper changing the whole tone. The quirky characters. The Log Lady. AUDREY…

I dont think my girlfriend was into it as much as I was. I think she feigned interest, probably to keep me quiet, but whatever. I was engrossed.

It was as if I’d never seen it before. It was fresh and new and exciting to my eyes and ears, and I promptly ordered season two, and Fire Walk With Me. I knew it ended on a cliffhanger, I knew it would likely never be resolved, but I didn’t care. I was engrossed. I was entranced by silent drapes, by Project Blue Book, transvestite David Duchovny, the resolution of Laura’s killer. The terrifying final episode with Cooper fleeing through the Black Lodge, pursued by his doppelgänger (Where’s Annie??). Oh, and Audrey. Audrey kept me very interested, didn’t matter how much or how little she was doing (unless Bily Zane was also onscreen…)

So the show ended, and there was much sadness for me, but there was the small glimmer of hope that was Fire Walk With Me. I’d read that, although it was a prequel, there were elements of a sequel to it.

What I remember most about Fire Walk With Me, was how I felt when it ended. It was a greater sadness, that the journey of these characters, their story, had ended, and without proper resolution. There would be no return to Twin Peaks.

Then, a few years down the line and with a son who I’d one day introduce to Cooper’s coffee-love, Audrey’s dancing, and Cole’s deaf bellowing, the teaser dropped. Laura Palmer, clicking her fingers. Then the date.

What was that, a year and a half ago? Two years? The first episode of the return aired and I woke at five in the morning, I was so fucking excited. I suffered for it, but what did that matter? Twin Peaks was back!

And it’s been pure David Lynch. It’s confounded all expectations, done entirely its own thing. I’d be a liar if I said I was happy with everything that has occurred – Lynch has no interest in telling the story we wanted told – but by and large it’s blown me away, it’s been a masterpiece. The nuclear bomb episode will go down as one of the greatest pieces of television of all time. The last episode, the Audrey twist at the end, the return of Dale Cooper, it fills me with hope for this finale, that it will cement the Twin Peaks return as one of the most important events in both television and storytelling.

Anyway, I’m really excited to see how it all ends, and what mysteries will remain unresolved. Only a few hours left to go!


Skull Meat, by Tom Leins

Today on the blog I’m going to talk about someone else, as opposed to the unashamed prattling on I usually do about myself here. Tom Leins was good enough to send me a copy of his novella Skull Meat and FUCK, what a ride! I’ve been waiting a long time for him to turn his hand to something longer, and it’s certainly been worthwhile! I’ve posted a review up on Amazon, but it can be found directly below, and below THAT is the link to its page. Be sure to check it out!

I’ve been a big fan of Tom Leins’ prolific output of short stories for years now, and I’ve been waiting for him to put out something longer – Skull Meat does NOT disappoint. Dirty characters, a filthy setting, gratuitous violence and blacker than black humour, THIS is what I look for in noir fiction. Wonderfully, brazenly over the top Americanised British crime fiction. On every page you’re sure to find a line that will either make you laugh out loud, or it’ll turn your stomach – sometimes both! Tim certainly has a way with words and, as stated above, there are some blinding one liners littered throughout.

Check this out, can’t recommend Tom’s work highly enough. I understand there’s more to come, and you’d best believe I’ll be here waiting when it arrives!


I’ve been a big fan of Tom Leins’ prolific output of short stories for years now, and I’ve been waiting for him to put out something longer – Skull Meat does NOT disappoint. Dirty characters, a filthy setting, gratuitous violence and blacker than black humour, THIS is what I look for in noir fiction. Wonderfully, brazenly over the top Americanised British crime fiction. On every page you’re sure to find a line that will either make you laugh out loud, or it’ll turn your stomach – sometimes both! Tom certainly has a way with words and, as stated above, there are some blinding one liners littered throughout.

Check this out, can’t recommend Tom’s work highly enough. I understand there’s more to come, and you’d best believe I’ll be here waiting when it arrives!


Fatboy Chapter One

I know, I know, it’s been over a month now but I’m still talking about Fatboy. What can I say, I’m proud of it, same way I’m proud of everything else I’ve written. Anyway, what I figured I’d do this post was share a little more of the story, beyond reviews (though you’ll find a few of them at the very bottom) and blurbs and descriptions of the writing process. So, scroll down a little more, past the Amazon link, and you’ll find Fatboy’s first chapter! And if you enjoy that, and wanna see what happens next, what becomes of Joey Hidalgo and his estranged family, then scroll back up here and click the link below. It’s available in print and e-book – options, man, options.

Chapter One

Joey Hidalgo had been drinking for three days. He’d
hopped from bar to bar and when they closed he went to
the twenty-four hour liquor store, bought some bottles or
a six-pack or whatever they had, and took them home.
The bar he found himself in was as miserable as all the
others he’d visited since the start of his bender. Grimy, too.
He sat at the counter and tried to avoid his reflection in
the mirror opposite. He looked down, picked at the scabs
on his knuckles. The evidence of the beers he’d drunk
stood before him. He wouldn’t let the bartender take them
away. Seven dead soldiers, like he was keeping a tally. He
was working on the eighth.
He thought about Billie. About Charlie. It had been a
week since they’d left. It was like a knife to his guts. The
bars helped. Their noise made him feel better. The jukebox
in the corner played old rock ’n’ roll, and the groups
chattering around him were a low hum that dulled his
And the beer. The beer helped most of all, until it didn’t.
Until it summoned up all the morose shit he was trying
to swallow down and keep to himself. His throat would
tighten. His eyes would burn. So he’d drink another beer,
and another, and he’d keep drinking until sleep came, deep
and dreamless, and he’d wake like he hadn’t lost everything,
and if he was fast enough he could start the whole
numbing process again before realization had a chance to
sink in.
Joey squeezed the bottle. His arm shook. He clenched
his jaw until his teeth hurt. The bartender watched him.
Joey stared him down, then checked his reflection. He
wasn’t blinking. It wasn’t just his arm that shook. He
looked intense, like he was about to blow, start throwing
shit around. He let go of the bottle and took a deep breath,
relaxed his shoulders, waited until the bartender was close
enough to hear him speak.
“You get busy in here?”
The bartender looked up, surprised. “Weekends, mostly.
Weeknights are steady.”
“I do this. Bartending. That’s my job.”
“Yeah? Where at?”
“You heard of O’Donoghue’s?”
“Yeah. Yeah, I think so. Irish bar, right?”
“Not officially, but yeah, the guy owns it is Irish.”
“Where all the hookers go.”
“That’s the one.”
“The hookers and the mechanics.”
“You sound like you’ve been.”
“Nah, but I’ve heard stories.”
“Some of em are probably true.”
“The orgies on the pool table?”
Joey raised an eyebrow. “I ain’t gonna say it’s never happened,
but least not when I’ve been there.”
The bartender smirked. He was a young guy, had his hair
slicked back and his shirt sleeves rolled up to show off all
his black and white forearm tattoos.
“You look out of place in a joint like this,” Joey said. “You
look like you oughta be mixing up cocktails in one of them
big cities, like New York or LA or somewhere.”
“I’ll take that as a compliment, but I got bigger things in
mind than serving drinks all my damn life.”
“That so? You a college boy?”
“That boat passed me by. I’m taking night classes.”
“Good for you.”
“Uh-huh. What about you? You planning on tending
bar for the foreseeable?”
“Well, life’s dealt me a shitty hand lately. Some real setbacks
been sent my way. Truth be told, I just don’t know
what my plan is anymore.”
“What did the plan used to be?”
“To get out the fuckin trailer park.”
“And how’s that goin?”
“It ain’t. And I don’t think it ever will. You wanna know
somethin else?”
“I ain’t been at work in a week. Supposed ta be. Could be
I don’t even have the bar anymore.”
“You askin for a job here, that it?”
Joey shook his head. “No. No. Leaving one bar for another,
that ain’t even a step back, is it? Just a step sideways.
I don’t, I don’t know what I want.” He let go of the bottle,
held up his hands, let them fall flat on the counter while
he blew air through his lips. “Don’t know what I want anymore.
I don’t know. This ain’t making sense.”
“Not a whole lot.”
“You know what?” Joey finished his drink. “I’m gonna
leave. I know this whole routine. I hate it when it happens
to me, and no doubt you’re hating it right now. The sob
story bullshit. I ain’t gonna burden you with that.” Joey
pulled out his wallet, dropped notes on the counter. “Good
luck with your classes.”
The bartender gathered up the cash. “Good luck with
your life.”
Joey left. His truck was parked in the lot, but he took a
walk around the block first. The night air was cold on his
face and in his lungs. He breathed deep. He looked at the
moon, the stars, wished he’d brought his phone, that he
could call Billie, see if she’d answer, or if she’d ignore his
call the way he’d ignored hers.
He spotted a pay phone up ahead. A swastika spray
painted on the side of it, and a couple of ejaculating cocks.
Loose change in his pocket. He knew her number.
He decided against it. It was nostalgia talking. Calling
her would be a bad idea. They’d argue and he’d lose his
temper. Screaming down a pay phone in the middle of the
street at he didn’t even know what hour of the night wasn’t
going to resolve anything. When he got closer he saw it
was a moot point. The phone’s cord had been cut.
Footsteps behind him. They came up fast. “Hey. Hey,
Joey turned slowly, hands in his jacket pockets. Two
skinny white boys dressed like they were black came up
on him. The shorter of the two wore a big smile like he
and Joey were old friends. The taller kept his hands in his
pockets and the peak of his baseball cap pulled low so
most of his face was covered. The tall kid looked along the
road, checked for cars. None besides the ones parked. The
only vehicles in transit sounded distant.
“Where you goin, man?” The shorter one spoke. Joey had
a feeling the tall kid was the strong, silent type.
Joey ran his tongue around the inside of his mouth.
The speaker nodded. “Cool, cool. You live around here,
Joey’s eyes narrowed. “Near enough.”
“My friend here and me, we don’t live so close. It ain’t
walkin distance, anyways. We a little short on cash, too—
you could help us out with some taxi fare?”
“I’m tapped.”
The speaker raised his chin. “You sure?”
“Yeah. I’m sure.”
The taller one drew a knife. A switchblade. He waved it
through the air in front of Joey. The speaker grinned. “Give
us your wallet, motherfucker.”
Joey stood his ground. He looked at the knife cutting
figure eights. He took his hands out his pockets. His fists
were balled. He smiled. “Take it.”
The two hesitated. They glanced at each other. The
speaker recovered himself. “Don’t be a tough guy, man. Just
give us the damn wallet. You ain’t gotta get yourself hurt.”
Joey waited. They weren’t going to make a move. They
wanted to intimidate him. They wanted him to hand over
his wallet without any fuss.
“This your first time?” Joey said.
Joey moved fast.
He kicked out at the knife-wielder first, hard on the
outside of his leg, blew his knee out. The tall kid dropped
the knife and went down screaming. It was the first sound
he’d made. The leg was bent a way it wasn’t supposed to go.
The speaker looked at his fallen friend, face slack. Joey
smashed his forearm into his jaw. The speaker went down,
spat teeth. Joey loomed over him. The speaker begged off,
words issued through bloodied lips. Joey didn’t listen. He’d
heard enough. He grabbed the speaker by the front of his
shirt, used one hand to hold him and the other to hit him.
The scabs on his knuckles tore and his blood mixed with
the kid’s and painted his swelling face.
Joey stopped hitting, let him go. The kid was unconscious.
Joey didn’t know how long he’d punched him. He’d
lost himself in the moment.
The tall kid was crawling away. He’d covered a lot of
ground, slithering on his belly. He held his leg and dragged
himself along on one arm. Sounded like he was crying.
When he realized Joey was looking at him he whimpered
and tried to crawl faster. Joey picked up the fallen knife,
then went to him. The kid covered his head. Joey held up
the knife. “I’m keeping this,” he said.
The tall kid peered at him with one eye, nodded.
Joey smiled, winked. He felt better.



‘FatBoy from Paul Heatley is an unflinching noir story that works so much better than most.

Joey is down on his luck. When we first meet him, he’s been on a drinking bout that’s lasted several days. His girlfriend and mother of his young son has left him. His trailer is a mess. He has abandoned his job as a bartender. And the first chapter ends in brutal violence on Joey’s part. There’s the accusation that he has anger issues. When he is not permitted to see his year and a half old son, and his girlfriend refused to speak to him, Joey gets it in his head that his problems can be solved with money. And he knows just where to get it from – a wealthy, overweight customer of his who has made racist comments toward Joey for years.

A friend of his, a prostitute who works at the bar, goes in with Joey on the heist. Everything that can go wrong goes horribly wrong.

Paul Heatley delivers a brutal, unflinching, noir masterpiece that can be read and enjoyed in one sitting in FatBoy. Don’t miss it!’


The big plan. The one that is going to fix everything for Joey. Bring his wife and his boy back, let him quit his mindless job, and get out of the damn trailer. Everything he needs to fix where his life has spun out of control. It seems simple enough, what could possibly go wrong?

I am not going to spoil any of the plot, this story was very clever and I was pleased to see it go somewhere I had not expected. The writing is crisp and the story was very well done, the plot has some turns and thrills that will leave you breathless and waiting for the next page, a very good modern crime novel.

Everyone knows a fatboy. Something like Sheldon’s Personality Theory may suggest they should be fun-loving, sociable, and tolerant, but Heatley’s characterization is quick to show why this ridiculous theory was rejected so long ago. Money and ignorance can highlight the worst in people, regardless of body type.

The descriptions of action and setting were phenomenal, and it was great to see the build to what ended up being a great finish. The comfortable language used in the narrative and dialogue helps pull you into the story and join Joey in his quest to make things right in his life. Right for his family.

Be prepared, though, the simplest plans can sometimes run into problems. Lucky you.’

‘In an odd way, this reminded me of another slim novel, Steinbeck’s “Of Mice and Men.” That’s because what sets the tragic plot in motion is a dream that seems within reach if only enough money can be obtained. It seems simple but goes awfully wrong.

The way things go wrong in “Fatboy” is strikingly real. This is crime as it truly happens: botched. The sardonic dialogue is another big plus.’

‘Desperation. A man at the end of his rope. Life in tatters. A complete descent into the circles of hell. Check. A need for money. Check. A rather poorly planned heist with the oddest crew. Check. A hell of a final battle. Check. It’s all there. All the ingredients for gritty crime fiction. Easy to read. Hard to put down. And a long steady build up to the climax. This novelette will not disappoint.’


Back on the first of May, my newest book was released via All Due Respect, Fatboy! It’s available in print and for Kindle, but here’s a couple of images of the physical copy:

Ain’t they purdy? The cover was designed by Eric Beetner, and he’s done a HELL of a job.

I wrote the first draft of Fatboy roughly two years ago – I wrote it over sixteen late nights whilst listening to the Ministry live album ‘In Case You Didn’t Feel Like Showing Up’. I got that first draft DOWN – and then I just kind of sat on it. I moved on to other things, worked on them, time passed. I never forgot about Fatboy, I don’t forget about anything I’ve worked on. They tap away at the back of my head like impatient children, demanding I return to them at some point, show them some affection, but like I said time gets away and before you know it two years have passed and suddenly the American-set tale of a Hispanic barkeep hassled by a fat white businessman seems shockingly relevant.

So I set down to finally proof-read Fatboy. They always say you should leave your work, let it age like fine wine, return to it with fresh eyes.

Boy did it suck.

Well, not entirely, otherwise I wouldn’t be writing this post right now. I made a note in my book after I’d finished reading it – ‘Dialogue = good, Exposition = shit’. I wasn’t ready to give up on it. I saw enough worth, enough promise, that I was sticking with it. Editing is my least favourite part of writing – though I recognise it as being the most necessary – I prefer to move from project to project, that’s how I feel as though I’m making progress, when I’m getting ideas and words down and getting the stories done. I’m also very aware that unless these things are getting published I’m not making any progress at all.

I stuck with it. I rewrote it over the course of another couple of weeks. I kept my note to self in mind and took the George V Higgins approach: this thing is driven by its DIALOGUE. It shows the characters for who they are, it reveals their motives, it’s the perfect way to show and not tell. When I finished it this time round, I didn’t sit on it for another two years. I read it over and over, tweaked it, got it right, I sent it to All Due Respect and the rest, as they say, is history.

Here it is, in all its glory, available to the whole entire world at just the push of a button! The reviews have been good thus far, which is vindicating. Next time I check in, maybe I’ll share some of those reviews, but hell, the Amazon link is right below, go ahead and check them out for yourself!

Also, one last thing, in other news An Eye For An Eye is also available in paperback, which means all of my works can be owned physically! If you feel like checking that out too, you’ll find it easy enough at the link below, just click on the link on my name and it’ll take you straight to my author page!