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Black Lens: Part XXVIII

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, Part 24, Part 25, Part 26 and Part 27.

                                                       ‘Fame is a vapor, popularity an accident, the only eternal certainty is oblivion.’

Mark Twain.


Cooper, the Texas Ranger, was en route to intervene with the New York ex-cop.

In one of those coincidences, that not even a cozy writer could venture, he was about to cross High Street Kensington , his shit kicker boots resounding on the pavement when a wiry guy crashed into him.

About forty, with a long battered leather jacket, faded jeans, he stopped, said

‘Hey cunt, watch where you’re fooking going.’

Cooper was so surprised he laughed and the guy snarled

‘Funny is it, yah bollix, I’ll put that smile on the other side of yer ugly mug.’

Yah believe it.

A, NY encounter in old blighty.

Cooper shrugged and the guy moved on, muttered

‘Better watch yer step yah shite head.’

In most any apocalyptic story, with

2 deranged central characters

A cast of weirdo’s out of a Tobey Hooper scenario

An organization pulling all the strings

A furtive femme fatale

Not to mention



A soundtrack by The Clash

You will find


The Irish.


Only two things really you need to comprehend the Micks.

One, ignore nigh on every story they tell if you want veracity.

Two, answer every narrative with a sincere felt


Like you could give a good fuck.

All of the above is out the window if said Mick is carrying a piece, in which case, try

‘Yo, like a bottle of Jay?’



Like the be-Jays us.

Brennan, known as Bren, not as an abbreviation but his fondness for the Bren weapon. He was forty five, looked sixty, smoked four packs  a day and had the yellow skin as witness.

Bren had a meeting, with Benedict, in Finches’ pub in Notting Hill Gate. He was late, his custom, got into the public bar, was met by Benedict, wearing a Hugo Boss suit. He was carrying the Evening Standard, asked

‘Ok to sit in the corner table, I’ve ordered up some pints and Jameson.’

Bren grunted, not much caring for a pint that had been sitting, the sucker had to be, like, fresh drawn. But what the fook.

Bren sat, where he could watch the door, not lost on Benedict. The drinks were sitting and Bren snatched the pint, drained half, then began on the Jay. Benedict couldn’t resist, said


Bren put the shot glass down, reached in his jacket, took out a cig, lit it. Blew a cloud in Benedict’s face, asked

‘That sarcasm?’

Benedict waved his hand to dispel the smoke, said

‘You’re not allowed to smoke in here.’

Bren reached over, dropped his cig in Benedict’s pint, said

‘You want to get lippy with me pal, you’ll need more than that shite suit to back you up.’

The Evening Standard had a banner headline

‘A list actor found dead from drug overdose in London hotel.’

Benedict resolved to get his business over quickly, said

‘Here’s a photo of the contract, and you get half now, half when it’s done. We’d like the am.. event, to seem like a gay lover’s tryst gone rabid.’

Bren finished his jay, asked

‘Gay is it, now how would that go down me man?’

Benedict was about to suggest knives, overkill, the usual cliché when Bren said

‘Lighten up you dumb cunt, when is the dirty deed to be done?’

Benedict bit down, hard, answered

‘Within three days if possible.’

Bren said


Benedict had missed something, asked

‘You have the money, the photo, the location and particulars, ?’

Bren laughed, a mix of nicotine phlegm, coughing, weeping eyes, said

‘Jay-sus, you’re a bit slow, aren’t yah, so, why are you still sitting on yer arse with a thirsty man before yah?’

While Benedict sulked to the bar, Bren looked at the photo, then turned over to see the name


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.