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Ryan Lock and Ty Johnson are in Los Angeles and on the trail of an unlikely cult who are planning on taking their message to the world in the most devastating fashion imaginable.

The sixth novel in the Ryan Lock series.

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Read An Excerpt

Chapter One

Blood in, blood out. That was the deal. To join them, you had to take someone’s life. To leave you had to surrender your own, or expect to have it taken from you. Not that anyone had ever left. Or even hinted that they wanted to. Why would they?

Leaving would be an admission of defeat. It would involve returning to the life they’d had before, and that was no life at all.

To go back to being a beta male? To return to the life of an AFC (average frustrated chump)?

No. That wasn’t even a possibility. Once you had taken the red pill, and embraced your inner alpha male, there was no going back. You saw the world differently. You saw it for what it was rather than what you had been conditioned to believe it was.

But seeing wasn’t enough. Not for Krank, anyway. Knowledge without action was worthless. Perhaps if he’d been selfish it might have been. After the San Diego lair, he’d had everything that most men desired – even if they weren’t honest enough to admit it. Money, status, so many women it actually became a chore. But, like the other the men who had come before him, men who bent the world to their design, he had soon tired of the material, the external. He wanted to leave his mark. He knew that he had to embrace his destiny.

To do that, he set out on a new course of study. He left the lair. He traveled to Europe, staying first in London, then moving south and east. From London he moved to Paris, then Rome and Prague and Budapest. All the while he read, devouring two, sometimes three books in a single day. History, politics, science, anthropology. A lot of anthropology. Before he’d left, Gretchen had given him a reading list culled from her study of feminism and gender studies. He had studied them with rigor, all the better to understand the enemy.

He saw how the world had shifted. He identified the damage the shift had done. He identified those responsible. He began to formulate a plan of how balance might be restored. Not that he would be able to do it alone, or even with help. But, thought Krank, he could begin the change that was needed. He could light a flare of hope for the others who would undoubtedly follow.

More time passed. His reading inched back toward more contemporary matters. That was when he stumbled upon the idea of blood initiation as practiced by street gangs in Los Angeles. Of course, this rite of passage had much deeper roots, any idiot knew that, but it could serve a higher calling than controlling foot soldiers who would sling dope. It could provide a strong, permanent bond.

What Krank had in mind wasn’t a criminal enterprise, even though that was how it would be regarded by this feminized society. No, thought Krank, he had a much nobler goal – the return of the natural order as it had been for thousands of years.

Tonight was another initiation. Blood in. The third such ceremony since he had come home.

Krank shifted a little in the driver’s seat of the black 5-series BMW as they cruised through the midnight-blue streets of downtown Los Angeles. It was a little after three in the morning. The clubs were starting to empty.

That was when he saw her. White. Blonde. Staggering a little uncertainly on high heels. Most important of all, alone, a calf separated from the herd.

She reached down to tug at her skirt, and almost lost her balance. Her hand went up to the wall as she steadied herself. She opened her purse, took out her iPhone, no doubt ready to conjure up a cab using Uber or one of the competing apps that were driving taxi companies out of business.

Krank pulled the BMW over to the curb. He took out his cell phone. He hit the call button. ‘You see her?’ he said into the phone. ‘That’s the one.’

‘I see her,’ came the reply. Tension in the voice. Nerves. It was one thing to talk about this stuff, and quite another when it came to game time. Not that Krank minded. Nerves were good. Nerves meant you were alive.

‘Okay,’ said Krank. ‘Over to you. But don’t be too obvious. Give it like a minute. Forty-five seconds minimum.’

‘I know.’

Krank smiled at the tetchiness in the reply. No, he thought, you don’t know shit. You’re a virgin when it comes to this. Everyone is. You only know afterward. Nothing prepares you for your first. It’s like taking that red pill for the first time but multiplied by a hundred. With the rush comes the horror. Like how someone taking heroin for the first time usually gets sick.

Blood in.


The sixth novel in the Ryan Lock series. Ryan Lock and Ty Johnson are in Los Angeles and on the trail of an unlikely cult who are planning on taking their message to the world in the most devastating fashion imaginable.

“This series is ace. There are deservedly strong Lee Child comparisons as the author is also a Brit, his novels US-based, his character appealing, and his publisher the same.” ~Sarah Broadhurst, The Bookseller

“This is a writer, and a hero, to watch.” ~Geoffrey Wansell, The Daily Mail

“Black’s style is supremely slick.” ~Jeremy Jehu, The Daily Telegraph

“The pace of Lee Child, and the heart of Harlan Coben.” ~Joseph Finder, New York Times Bestseller (Paranoia, Buried Secrets)

“The heir apparent to Lee Child” ~Ken Bruen, Internationally Bestselling Author of The Guards

“Ryan Lock (is) a protagonist tough enough to take on the Jacks of this world (that’s Bauer and Reacher)” ~Russel McLean

“Black’s star just keeps on rising.” ~Evening Telegraph