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Black Lens: Part XXV

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 2Part 3Part 4Part 5Part 6Part 7Part 8Part 9Part 10Part 11,Part 12, Part 13Part 14, Part 15, Part 16, Part 17, Part 18, Part 19 Part 20, Part 21, Part 22, Part 23 and Part 24.

AS A CHRISTIAN, YOU’LL APPRECIATE THE CONCEPT OF BETRAYAL.

FROM

‘BLACK DEATH’

 

Romanski, standing in his study, staring out the large window, a gilt engraved invitation at his feet.

The prestigious German Film Academy wished him to attend a special screening of maybe his most accomplished movie. The Composer.

He relished the iron control he’d wielded then.

Phew oh.

Forbidding even the money guys from visiting the set. He told them basically nothing to such an extent they began to dub him, God.

The most difficult action he’d succeeded in, having the actors walk pass the bodies of children and never to even notice.

It was suggested by a psychologist that he was trying to explain to the world, how it’s possible to become de-sensitized.

He then confounded everyone by doing the shoot in Poland.

Continue reading “Black Lens: Part XXV”

Black Lens: Part XXIV

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 2Part 3Part 4Part 5Part 6Part 7Part 8Part 9Part 10Part 11,Part 12, Part 13Part 14, Part 15, Part 16, Part 17, Part 18, Part 19 Part 20, Part 21, Part 22 and Part 23.

The Killings.

 

The Black lens, mercilessly, begins with a wide shot.

The pregnant actress, on her knee’s, pleading to the tall one

‘Spare the baby.’

His first lunge goes through her left breast

Screams

Stabs

Aorta

Death rattle

Not quite.

The coven of women/girls, in the background

Chanting

Kill, kill, kill the pigs,

helter fucking havoc skelter

Beelzebub slipped into the room, urging his acid assassin,

Her tiny head cocked, listening to the whisper of the beast

Mutilate,

The lens zooming in as she licks blood from the blade,

The song

‘Ain’t

No

Stopping

Us

Now.’

Continue reading “Black Lens: Part XXIV”

Start Reading Bloodline by Mark Billingham

This month we’ll be publishing BLOODLINE by Mark Billingham. Start reading the book that Gillian Flynn has called “chilling, moody, humane, and very, very smart,” and which George Pelecanos proclaimed “a boss performance, through and through.”

PROLOGUE

DEBBIE AND JASON

“Come on, pigeon! Let’s go blow at the trains.” Debbie Mitchell tugs at her son’s arm, but he pulls hard in the opposite direction, towards the chocolate Labrador the old woman is struggling to control. “Puff-puff,” Debbie says, blowing out her cheeks. “Come on, it’s your favorite…”

Jason pulls away harder, strong when he wants to be. The noise he makes is somewhere between a grunt and a whine. Anyone else might think he was in pain, but Debbie understands him well enough. Continue reading “Start Reading Bloodline by Mark Billingham”

Black Lens: Part XXIII

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 2Part 3Part 4Part 5Part 6Part 7Part 8Part 9Part 10Part 11,Part 12, Part 13Part 14, Part 15, Part 16, Part 17, Part 18, Part 19 Part 20, Part 21 and Part 22.

THE ANGELS WILL NOT CARE

JOHN STRALEY.

 

 

The final arrangements for The Wolf were coming into place.

They even had a rehearsal, yah fooking believe it?

Right down to a cell resembling Ransom’s and some lame dead ass actor playing him.

Went through the motions, The Wolf doing the gig with the psycho and he had to admit, the actor was good, didn’t look like the killer but sure had his moves and the megalomania, and what do you know, The Wolf got into it, began to get the rush.

His cameraman behind him, a silent Scot, and got one of those who didn’t have verbal rabies, you thanked some Celtic God.

Winding down, the Final Act, The Wolf moves to the camera, bends down and takes the blade from the side, turns to Ransom and in one fluid movement ( yeah, they were sure counting on that fluidity) guts the piece of shit.

The Wolf got so into it Benedict had to pull him off, saying drily

‘Save the goddamn method for the real deal.’

The Wolf was breathing heavily, his heart doing its own River dance, he gasped

‘Romanski, he knows, right, I mean he appreciates what it is we’re putting on the line here?’

Benedict gave him a long appraising stare, then uttered, real slow

N

T

K.

The Wolf didn’t like being condescended to and especially by this pumped up faggot, he snarled

‘The fuck does that mean?’

Was the gobshite smiling?

Explaining

‘Need

To

Know.’

The Wolf thought

‘You need you know just one thing as swipe, I don’t forget.. ever.’

The actor glared at him and enough, The wolf asked

‘Yeah, you got a problem?’

No, least not any more.

 

 

It was only when the Wolf got back to the new apartment they’d provided, in The East Village, that he realized, in his frenzy, with the sheer rush of the enactment, that

..that

He’d never asked about the escape?

Fuck.

Unless..

No.

They wouldn’t.

Would they?

He grabbed his cell, time to take out some insurance.

 

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 KenBruen.com.

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.

Any questions?

This past spring the filmed version of Alan Glynn’s novel Limitless took theaters by storm.  Last week, Picador’s paperback edition of Glynn’s novel Winterland hit the shelves, a book George Pelecanos called  “A terrific read”, and John Connolly characterized as “timely, topical and thrilling.”  Here, Alan discusses the genesis of Winterland, architecture as metaphor, and the real life heart of darkness that informs his next novel, Bloodland.

“Where did you get the idea for your book?”

Whenever I’m asked this question I try hard to give an honest answer but I generally end up feeling like a bit of a fraud, as though I’ve come up with something on the spot just to keep the conversation moving. Because the thing is, by the time I arrive at the end of a book I usually find I’ve forgotten how it got started, its origins obscured somewhere in memory and almost inaccessible now through thickets of notes, outlines, obsessive but often unnecessary research and a seemingly endless process of re-writing.

Thinking back on answers I’ve given in the past, though, I do see a pattern emerging. The account I offer will either be fine-sounding and rational, or slightly random and intuitive – left brain, right brain stuff. Both do the job, and neither, I suspect, is actually untrue. It’s just that I can never be sure which came first . . .

For example, when asked about my first novel, The Dark Fields (now republished as Limitless) I would say either one of two things. I would say that it arose from an interest in the scandals of the late 90s regarding performance-enhancing drugs in sport, and that it was a sort of ‘what if . . .’ story – what if there existed a performance-enhancing drug for lawyers or businessmen or politicians? Out of which came questions about that very American theme of the perfectability of man and the notion of a latter-day Gatsby whose impulse for self-improvement has been reduced to a pharmaceutical commodity.

Or I would say that it arose from . . . not much at all, from a desperate scrambling around inside my own brain for SOMETHING TO WRITE ABOUT. So . . . a situation. Maybe two guys who bump into each other on the street. One is a bit desperate (like I am at the time) and he meets . . . who? His ex-brother-in-law? Someone he hasn’t seen in nearly ten years? Yeah, that’s the ticket. But now that I have them together what are they going to talk about? “What have you been up to? Still dealing?” “Not exactly. How about you? Still a loser?” One thing leads to another and before you know it they’re having a conversation, and possibilities are opening up.

Continue reading “Any questions?”

A Conversation with Duane Swierczynski and Josh Bazell: Part I

In our ongoing celebration of the publication of Fun & Games we matched Duane Swierczynski up with Josh Bazell, author of the acclaimed novel Beat the Reaper. Josh called Fun & Games “Insanely Entertaining.” Here is Part I of the result of their conversation which touches on entertainment, series material, Aquaman and Die Hard.

Josh Bazell: Duane. Fun & Games. Awesome book. I think that when they first gave it to me to blurb, I said something about it continuing your experiment, as I saw it, as to how far you can push the entertainment value of a novel. I don’t know how you feel about public discussion of technical stuff. But what I’m curious about, as a writer, is how conscious of that are you? How much of your career is about coming up with a book that is a perfectly pure action novel?

Duane Swiercynski: Good question! I mostly try not to bore people. That’s my goal. Get them turning pages no matter what.

JB: That’s actually my philosophy also. It’s probably the #1 thing I think about as a writer.

DS: I feel like, if I’m bored writing it, I should cut it or move on quickly. I also really focus on voice as a writer. That greases the skids for people and keeps things going. I’ve done both, but I want to ask you if you plot in advance or outline, or just explore the plot and figure it out as you go?

JB: I am an obsessive outliner. Of the Harry Wittington school, that I would rather build a house without a blue print than write a novel without an outline. I find in my own work that I have plenty of room to be creative on the page without having to worry about whether the scene is going to end up where I want it to. That said, there are people who I respect, Thomas Perry and Elmore Leonard come to mind, who say that they don’t outline and that outlining would remove a lot of the fun they have. On the other hand, both of those people have developed plotting techniques that make it easier to plot on the fly, like Thomas Perry when he uses a cat-and-mouse format. And both of those guys have been in this game for long enough that they are clearly doing a good amount of planning subconsciously that a lot of us are doing on paper. I don’t really know how to do it without outlining. But it has occurred to me to try.

DS: What you say rings true. When I do plot, with guideposts to leave enough room to have fun on the page. And you can always change the guideposts. You’re not locked into it. But I do like having a plan.

JB: You always can change the goalposts and you always have to. So, Charlie Hardie is a series character and you do a masterful job of leaving some things unexplained in the book. I wondered if this had something to do, possibly, with your work in comic books.  The book succeeds as a book, at the same time that it feels like it is going to succeed in a larger series. The issues that are left hanging are not even things you realize until you’ve thought about the book for a while. You clearly have an idea of where this series is going.

Continue reading “A Conversation with Duane Swierczynski and Josh Bazell: Part I”

Black Lens: Part XXII

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 2Part 3Part 4Part 5Part 6Part 7Part 8Part 9Part 10Part 11,Part 12, Part 13Part 14, Part 15, Part 16, Part 17, Part 18, Part 19 Part 20 and Part 21.

‘THE REVIEW OF ‘Jess’ by PAULINE KAEL
………………………….A WILFULLY MACABRE PARTIAL RETELLING OF REAL LIFE EVENTS, WITH
IT’S
SELF PITYING
LEADING MAN
AND DEFILED HEROINE.
YOU’D HAVE THOUGHT ROMANSKI WOULD HAVE HAD THE DECENCY TO DO A WAR FILM OF SOMETHING.’

On the grisly murder of his wife and friends, Romanski commented to an interviewer

……could be some kind of witchcraft, I wouldn’t be surprised if I were the target, the police like to jump too hastily on the drug thing.’

 

‘SEASON OF THE WITCH.’

Cromwell was currently holed up in an exclusive area of Athens, Kolonaki,

a small neighborhood where ostentatious displays of wealth had yet to be outlawed.

The boutique hotel, Kronos, known to but a handful of seriously rich fucks.

Not a drachma away from The British Council, and close to the best Kavala shop in Europe.

And of course, Cromwell had the best apartment, with a roof garden, looking out over the most polluted city in Europe, a solid grey/blue cloud of smog hanging over the doomed Acropolis.

Cromwell, on the roof garden, was waiting on Benedict and the cluster fuck report of the actor being held in London. Sipping a well watered Ouzo, he sighed.

5 years tops.

Yeah, the length of leadership of The cabal. Then you retired, voluntarily for a smug position with The World Bank.

Six years, he’d hung on and knew, he was way past his sell by date. The gig was, as it had been since the time of The Crusader’s, when The Cabal first got organized, lead for five, step down.

And already in the wings, was his successor, plus,

Fuck

Fuck

Fuck.

A mole.

Infiltrator.

Continue reading “Black Lens: Part XXII”

A Conversation with Duane Swierczynski and Ed Brubaker: Part II

This week, we celebrate the publication of FUN & GAMES by Duane Swierczynski, a book that CNN.com says “reads like a Quentin Tarantino movie on speed, full of high-octane action, flying by at a breakneck pace, not for the faint of heart, but also with plenty of humor.” Here, we present Part II of a conversation between Swierczynski and award-winning writer Ed Brubaker, author of CRIMINAL, SLEEPER and INCOGNITO, among many others.

Missed Part I? Start reading it here.

DS: The idea for Charlie Hardie, the house sitter, came first, though he didn’t have a name for a long time. You think “house sitter,” you kind of think “burnout.” (My apologies to the many fine professional housesitters working the mansions of America today; I don’t mean you guys.) Anyway, at the very least, I imagined somebody’s who’s been through a rough patch. Someone who used to know how to handle himself, but maybe had fallen on hard times, and was more than a little rusty. Like you said, all of this stuff goes into a mental blender and spins around for a long time… and slowly, a character emerged.

See, I like your question a lot — and it applies to Charlie, because it’s clear he wants to escape from his life. Yet, life won’t let him. It keeps picking on him.

The idea for the… uh, female lead (don’t want to spoil anything) was more or less inspired by certain pieces of celebrity gossip. As well as the whole idea that you can easily bump into a celebrity in L.A., which I find interesting — would you recognize, say, Blake Lively in a very out-of-context situation? Like, if she suddenly broke into your hotel room and told you people were trying to kill her?

Question for you, along the same lines: Do you get starstruck at all? And if so, is it for actors, directors, writers, or musicians?

Continue reading “A Conversation with Duane Swierczynski and Ed Brubaker: Part II”

A Conversation with Michael Robotham and Mark Billingham: Part II

In our ongoing celebration of the publication of THE WRECKAGE, we had Mark Billingham, author of BLOODLINE and Michael Robotham discuss the passage of time for series characters, the origins of THE WRECKAGE, the joys of being an international author and more. Missed Part I? Read it first.

MB: What you say about your characters as friends is interesting. We did a few events together when you were over here recently, and I was struck by the way you talked about your characters – Joe, especially. You mentioned that you regretted giving him Parkinson’s disease for instance. It felt as though you were talking about a friend.

MR: It’s true. We’ve had this chat before – about how ‘real’ characters become. I know you feel that you’re always in charge of Thorne and your characters, but I find that mine lead me around at times…not doing as they’re told. Joe O’Loughlin is probably the closest to me in age and personality. He has two daughters. I have three. I really really love the guy and If I had my time over again, I would never have given him early onset Parkinson’s Disease.

MB: But you can control the rate of his decline, right?

MR: What I have to do is stop aging him in real time. It’s hard to get my head around the fact that he can age slower than I can.

MB: I took that decision with Thorne a few years ago. It’s pretty liberating. As long as you don’t get stupid about it and keep your characters at the same age for way too long…

MR: What do I do about the children? Can Joe stay the same age, but his daughters grow older? I like the idea that they are growing up. I get so much material from my own teenage daughters. In a perfect world, I’d stop them growing…or meeting boys.

MB: Playing God can get tricky, right? Now, as usual there’s clearly a lot of research behind the new book. Your journo years must have stood you in good stead when it comes to this kind of thing.

Continue reading “A Conversation with Michael Robotham and Mark Billingham: Part II”

Black Lens: Part XXI

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 2Part 3Part 4Part 5Part 6Part 7Part 8Part 9Part 10Part 11,Part 12, Part 13Part 14, Part 15, Part 16, Part 17, Part 18, Part 19 and Part 20.

‘THE FUHRER SPOKE IMPERSONALLY OF HIS SUICIDE, DUE SOON, AS IF IT WERE THE ONLY CHOICE.WE KEPT SEEING OUR OWN DEATHS BEFORE OUR EYES AS WELL AS HIS.

………………………WE WERE

..GETTING USED

TO

THE IDEA.’

TRAUDL JUNGE, HITLERS SECRETARY.

 

 

 

 

The Wolf was good to go. The Cabal has insisted on a new regime, a regime of

Torture.

A commando style course of exercises, coupled with endless practices as a TV reporter. He looked in the mirror, a slim, cool looking dude gazed back.

Over and over, Benedict, Cromwell’s gofer, had put him through his paces, explaining a hundred times how the camera contained the weapon yet would pass all the detector tests.

And

How it would

Go down

This part made the Wolf’s mouth go dry.

Continue reading “Black Lens: Part XXI”