a Southern Californian family that is a Woody Allen-style parody of shallowBeverly Hills life. The
include an absent-minded writerfather, a sexually unsatisfied homemaker mother, two surly teens, and aChinese-American student who— surprise!—is authentically talented. Hijinksensue, secrets are revealed, lessons are learned, etc. This is, to put it mildly, well-trodden territory. To be fair, Freudenberger is acrisp stylist, and she effortlessly captures the tics and mannerisms of thesefeckless Californians, as observed by the bemused Yuan in his role ascultural ambassador. Freudenberger’s observational powers and way with aphrase only go so far, however, and as pleasant and absorbing as it is,
imparts no impact: it practically evaporates upon completion.-- THE BROOKLYN RAIL, November 2007ON WARREN ELLIS and Crooked Little Vein: This scabrous detective yarn is the straight-fiction debut of Warren Ellis,better known as the creator of the
series of graphicnovels. The whacked-out sensibility that characterized
survives the transition to prose, but minus the supercharged imagery, thenarrative comes across as slapdash and juvenile.
Crooked Little Vein
relates the cross-country adventures of down-and-out private eye MikeMcGill and his feisty sidekick Trix, with the plot functioning almostexclusively as a device for introducing a staggering procession of perverts and fetishists. Ellis may be after dark, shocking affects, but theaction is so peppy and cheerfully paper-thin that any sting is neutered.
Crooked Little Vein
has some fun playing with the timeworn conventionsof the gumshoe novel, and floats a half-baked sub-theory about thecultural mainstreaming of the deviant, but on the whole remains single-mindedly shallow. After a while, you get tired of waiting for the nextgross-out, although the relationship between Mike and Trix eventuallybetrays a hint of sweetness and mutual need. An amusing ride, but hardly
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