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.
Read Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4, Part 5, Part 6, Part 7, Part 8, Part 9, Part 10, Part 11,Part 12, Part 13, Part 14, Part 15, Part 16, Part 17, Part 18, Part 19 Part 20, Part 21, Part 22, Part 23, Part 24, Part 25, and Part 26.
‘YOU HAVE A LOT OF SCARS, SON,’ SHE SAYS, HER ANCIENT BRIGHT EYES SCANNING MY FLESH.
‘MA’AM’, I TELL HER, ‘ I RODE A FRISKY HORSE THROUGH LIFE AND I RODE HARD. SOMETIMES I DIDN’T HOLD ON TO THE SADDLE HORN AND MY FEET WEREN’T EVEN IN THE STIRRUPS. SOMETIMES I FELL OFF, BUT EACH TIME I PULLED MYSELF UP, CLIMBED BACK ON AND RODE AGAIN. THE SCARS ARE MY MEMORIES.’
‘THE RIVER LESS RUN.’
TIM MC LAURIN.
How the Wolf knew Jimmy Page is worthy of a whole serendipitous tome. The infamous Led Zep manager, would –be thug-bruiser-coke –walking blitzkrieg, was related to one of the Wolf’s wives.
Page was still part time living in The great Beast’s lair, Aleaister Crowley’s rapidly crumbling home.
The Wolf, adrenalized on the coming Ransom gig, literally turned up on Jimmy’s doorstep. The Zep front man was still in thrall to all kinds of alchemy and the Wolf had brought along a new kid on the block, no less a 1st edition of
A surfer dude out of Oakland, claiming to be the Ransom insider’s son.
His book, a mess of
‘Trout fishing in America
A glut of Satanic rituals
New York Doll recently discovered lyrics
And you had such a train wreck of punk influences
Literati were orgasmic.
How times had changed.
Page answered the door his own self. Looking more like an escapee from an unpublished PG Wodehouse novel, he stuttered
‘Jimmy, it’s the Wolf.’
Page looking anxiously over the Wolf’s shoulder, less for paperattzi than the ever ghoulish Ken Anger. He motioned the Wolf in and the house was relatively clean, it being the abode of the greatest rocker ever to stride a stadium.
He motioned Wolf to a well busted sofa, offered some sweet sherry?
The wolf was fine, cranked on a nice blend of coke and ludes.
He offered the book and Jimmy, nigh frothing at the mouth, gasped
‘It’s for me, I can keep it?’
Wolf almost feeling sorry for the guy, once, Page only had to lift a finger and you Name it
As Page sipped the sweet shite from a chipped mug with Charles and Diane on the front, Wolf dared
‘How is Robert, Plant, these days?’
The darkness that crossed Page’s face, all that horrendous karma that had sunk the band’s last gigantic US tour, seemed to take a form in the room, almost tangible. The smart young kids out there, already harnessing such a black lens to get mega rich on dope like
Wolf regrouped, asked
‘Jimmy, mate..marra ( as Ray Banks might call him), how would you feel about going out into that far from gentle night with a massive musical score?’
Page was of course, mega rich, laden down with royalties that not even Sting could envisage.
The famous Page mischievous eyes, sparkled and yeah, the guy was cranked, asked
‘What had you in mind?’
The cabal would annihilate him for even broaching this, he said
‘See the two most opposite men on the planet, ruined by their own dark celebratory, on a collision course to meet, ..sort of and one will fall, blood, spouting from his evil mouth, a black lens recording that and the other, in a prison of his own folly, waiting to see the first runs of this, his last epic masterwork. His final Sympathy for El Diablo orchestrated by Jimmy Page, a third string in their alchemy of the true hymn to the 7th circle of hell, fermented in California.’
As Page mind fucked through the implications, Wold produced his ace, reached in his jacket, a Shearling Orvis number, put a faded picture on the coffee table, said
‘Rasputin, and on the back is Cyrillic lettering, it read’s
For max effect.
‘It reads, PAGE.’
The coup d’état hadn’t the desired effect. Page was instead, holding the book, staring at it as if it might contain all the black promise Crowley had faulted on. Wolf had once heard Val Kilmer utter
‘Writers have ego’s,
Actors are worse
Gong goes to rock stars.’
No often ol Val said something anything deep ( check Oliver Stone ) but hey, the tooth- laden one was on the schamoola here.
Impatient, Wolf snapped
‘So Jimmy, yo, buddy, what-cha’-fink?’
Maybe going Brit on his skinny arse would shake some molecules loose.
Page looked up, his eyes vacant, asked
‘So like dude, I can.. like keep this book?’
The book Spells, has since been withdrawn due to litigation.
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.