Book Review – Boneyard Dogs by Tom Leins

I first encountered Tom Leins’ work in November, 2018 when I bought a Kindle copy of “Slug Bait.” In my Haunted Pen review, I stated “Reading it made me feel so dirty, I needed a shower.” I want to revise that thought for “Boneyard Dogs.” This book should come with a bottle of shower gel and shampoo.

Leins’ work will never be described as the safest or most comfortable read you’ll ever have, but that’s the hook that drags you in. It doesn’t matter where you go in the world, there will be characters like the ones portrayed in “Boneyard Dogs” – the lowest of the low, the scum of the earth – lurking in the shadows, dwelling in the darkest, seediest parts of town.

Since “Slug Bait,” I’ve read just about all I can find by Leins, and I have to admit I’m a big fan. I previously described his main protagonist, Joe Rey, as “the illegitimate love child of Sam Spade and “The Purge.” I was wrong. I think I did Rey and Leins a disservice. Joe Rey is the illegitimate love child of a seedy, back-alley ménage à trois between Sam Spade, “The Purge,” and “Lock, Stock, and Two Smoking Barrels.” Writer/director Guy Ritchie would think all his birthdays and Christmases had come at once if he read “Boneyard Dogs,” and would be on the phone to Jason Statham, Vinnie Jones, and Alan Ford.

Here’s the Goodreads / Amazon blurb:

“If I can’t find her within seven days, she’s probably dead.”

If you are desperate enough to hire Paignton private investigator Joe Rey, things have already gone from bad to worse – and a happy ending is highly unlikely.

Hired to track down the missing teenage daughter of a demented local lounge singer, Rey’s investigation spirals bloodily out of control, and he finds himself surrounded by the ruined corpses of dead people traffickers. The police are determined to pin the murders on the hapless PI, but as his search unfolds it becomes apparent that the culprit may actually be a man he knows all too well…

The story is typical of the author’s gritty, engaging and down-to-earth noir style of writing. It highlights his skill at bringing the characters to life on the page (or tablet screen in my case). We follow Rey into his sleazy, violent world as he searches for a missing teenage girl. He’s not in the business of taking sh*t from anyone and does whatever it takes to get results.

Along the way, he encounters a selection of grim-and-grimy characters – two-bit gangsters, dealers, and pimps – bareknuckle fighting and sickening revelations. Most of the time, it’s not a read for the faint of heart given the sickos Rey interacts with. But despite his cold-blooded ways – vital for survival, whatever the cost – you instinctively know Joe Rey is one of the good guys and find yourself rooting for him.

“Boneyard Dogs” is never going to be a cozy mystery to be made into a Hallmark movie. The story keeps the punches coming to the very end. And the ending will leave you shaking your head! Enough blather from me. Read this book. It’s action-packed noir fiction filled with the violence and strong language meters cranked up to 12. I loved it!

The Haunted Pen Rating:


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