Black Lens

Story by Ken Bruen & Russell Ackerman

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

Black Lens is his most secret project.

Starting today, Mulholland Books is proud to let the unveiling of Black Lens begin.

One chapter a week.

A read you’ll never forget.

With art by Jonathan Santlofer.

Fade in…









Ransom was excited. He paced his narrow cell like Rilke’s panther.

Phil Spector was due to be transferred to the prison that evening.

Ransom had already bribed the guard to deliver a note to Spector. It read:

“Maestro, welcome, the running dogs have caged you as they have me. But fear not, my pilgrim, I have your back and you’ll learn that what Charlie says is the real law in this joint. As soon as you are settled, drop by. I have some stunning songs that need the wall of sound.”

He was pleased with the note.

It was



And had the Ransom tone of ultimate authority.

He stared into his small shaving mirror.

He didn’t see what it reflected.

A seventy-four-year-old tired man with deranged eyes and a barely discernible swastika on his forehead.


He saw the Ransom of forty years ago.

Penetrating eyes, long Jesus mane of hair, eyes burning with the zeal of his mission.

That he was now almost bald and his eyes looked burned out, he didn’t see that.

He had his parole hearing coming up and he was sure . . . this time

THIS MOTHER-FUCKING-TIME . . . he would be free.

And he spat

The kike, faggot mud eaters, Hollywood crap-eating bastards would know Armageddon.

The forty years would be like a hiatus.

He’d learned.

Never . . . fucking never be caged.

First up would be that cunt, the Kasabian whore whose testimony had put him here.

Even the kike sucker, the prosecutor, Bugliosi, who’d fucked him, admitted that without the whore, he’d never have put Charlie away.

And that lawyer, he’d be next. Make him eat his bestselling book, sold on the soul of Ransom.

Oh, he had a list.

And followers.

It made him hot to go online and see the young ones, fascinated by his legend and status. Selling T-shirts of his image, like Che, even outselling that bearded no-rep guerrilla.

And the mail.

The guards amazed at the sheer volume of mail he received.

Followers all.

The marriage proposals.

He laughed out loud.

Incarceration had only intensified his charisma.

He’s already selected the most likely candidate, a Mormon from Salt Lake City.

It was too delicious.

He’d make her squeal like a hog.

And money, the cow had tons of it.

All for him.

She’d testify at his parole hearing.

Ten years he’d been dazzling her.

She’d testify to his deep conversion.

His man-of-peace bullshit.

He looked at his press clippings.

His most recent

. . . Les cinquante auteurs qui compent aujourd’hui.

Sing it loud, disciples.

So many of them out there, just waiting for his WORD.

Keep Reading

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.