Black Bird by James Keene

Published November 13, 2022

Black Bird by James Keene

Book info

  • Title Black Bird
  • Author James Keene
  • Year 2010
  • Genre True crime

James Keene had it all: cars, girls, houses up and down the Gold Coast. But behind his well-connected star athlete façade was a money-obsessed drug dealer desperate to make the big score to get him out of the business. When he was sentenced to prison, it seemed the only lessons he would learn would be about navigating convict society. Instead, he was offered a chance to regain his freedom in return for going undercover in the nation’s highest security prison for the criminally insane. His task: to get friendly with Larry Hall, a mentally unbalanced serial rapist and murderer, and obtain his confession. For nearly a year, Keene walked the line between the part he played and the self he hoped to redeem, all the while dodging punches from deranged inmates, currying favor with imprisoned Mafia dons, and staying beneath the radar of Larry’s oddly protective psychiatrist.


After wrapping up the Apple TV+ series based on this work, I sought out the original but it wasn’t available as a digital read, only an audiobook. So I quickly raced through that on Audible Plus - it’s well written and read, detailing the important moments of the journey, but if I’m honest, if I hadn’t have watched the show, I don’t know that it would have grabbed me all that much. Still, good to have the background behind the piece.

Rating: 3 / 5

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