Black Lens: Part VIII

Story by Ken Bruen and Russell Ackerman

Ken Bruen is one of the most celebrated crime novelists of our time.

Black Lens is his most secret project.

Read on as the unveiling continues.

Every Wednesday on Mulholland Books.

With art by Jonathan Santlofer.

Fade in…

Read Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4, Part 5, Part 6 and Part 7.


Manson screamed.

A single evil phrase designed to let the entire prison know that once again he was going to be on

Colbert, the head guard, massaged his temples, counting the minutes to his break and the Willie Nelson songs he had cued up on his iPod.

Long ago, Ransom had ceased to surprise him, his predecessor, a grizzled hack, had said

‘Kid, Manson doesn’t follow any logic, he’s not so much Anti-Christ as ass backwards. In our time we tried


Then beating the living fucking crap out if him,

trust me, nothing………….

nothing works, the clown is……………


Colbert smiled, he’d been young then. Him and Charlie had almost grown old together. Not to say, that Colbert hadn’t tired his own methods to tame the maniac.




his own beatings

even improvised electric shock

But around Manson, even the air was sour, sour and dead. God had truly left this building.

Colbert bit down on his nicotine gum.

A young con named Santos, doing ten to fifteen for aggravated rape and assault, approached Manson’s cell.

The door as always, was open.

Santos stood respectfully outside, waited for the Prophet to notice him.

Time passed then suddenly, there he was.

El hombre.

The legend.

With a filthy beard, tiny frame, tailored prison dungaree’s and ………..the eyes, like burning coals, he spoke

‘You have an interview with the master.’

He gulped, muttered

‘Si, I mean Yes.’

And a majestic sweep of the wasted arms.

Santos went in, his body in tremor, Manson said

‘How willing are you to obey?’

Santos whispered


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Ken Bruen has been a finalist for the Edgar and Anthony Awards, and has won a Macavity Award, a Barry Award, and two Shamus Awards for the Jack Taylor series. He lives in Galway, Ireland. Learn more at

Russell Ackerman is Guillermo del Toro’s Development Executive. He is currently working on the film MAMA to be directed by Andy Muschietti, DROOD based on Dan Simmons’ novel of the same name, adapted by Brian Helgeland, and MIDNIGHT DELIVERY written by Neil Cross, all set up at Universal Pictures. He lives in Los Angeles.