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Black Lens: Part XVI

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 and Part 15.

The Cop, the Girl… and Scott

More confident after t the second bout, he noticed a large mark, like a badly healed skin graft just across her abdomen.

He didn’t want to ask,


she tell Him?

She followed his eyes.  Picked up the thread of his thoughts:

‘You want to know?’

He sat up, the urge for a cigarette nigh ferocious said

‘I don’t know.’

She gave a bitter smile, said

‘Nothing is worse, nothing, than not knowing.’

The moment had fled and he would always regret not asking. She got out of bed, began to pull on clothes, said

‘We need to prepare for tomorrow.’

His murder?

Dressed, she paused at the door, said

‘If I help you take down the leader of The Cabal, will you help me?’

Too fast he said

‘Of course.’

That odd smile again, she said

‘You don’t even know what it is yet?’

And before he could trot out some half assed chivalrous cliché, she said

‘I want you to kill a man for me,

Julius Schraub.’

He nodded, then

‘Is he part of the Cabal.’


‘He’s the son of Julius Schraub, that is Gruppenfuhuer Schraub,


chief adjutant to Hitler.’

He had nothing.

She added

‘He’s a Nazi spouting high ranking Satanist.’

The door was open, the question, Why? Not yet full formed on his lips but getting there,

Before he could ask

she said,

closing the door

‘He’s my husband.’



She met Scott briefly that afternoon,  in the Starbucks near Kensington, said

‘We can’t risk meeting again before tomorrow night, you are to go to the pub, act like usual, then at closing, go back to your hotel, where your killer will be waiting.’

The nonchalance with which she said this was astonishing. She cautioned

‘Drink very little, you will need your wits about you.’

Fucking A.

Starbucks was pushing its newest monstrosity, a liter of coffee in one container. Well, coffee if you considered

90% water, foam and mediocre caffeine as the real thing.

He had to know, asked

‘You seem absolutely positive they will make the attempt on Ransom tomorrow, how can you be so certain’

That enigmatic smile and

‘It’s Walpurgis Nacht and like the rest of us, they are partial to a little …theatre.’

Then added

‘Don’t ever….

ever mistake it for humor,

they don’t do …


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.