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Burned-out private dick Michael McGill needs to jump-start his career. What he gets instead is a cattle prod to the crotch. The president's heroin-addicted chief of staff wants McGill to find the Constitution—the real one the Founding Fathers secretly devised for the time of gravest crisis. And with God, civility, and Mom's homemade apple pie already dead or dying, that time is now. But McGill has a talent for stumbling into every imaginable depravity—and this case is driving him even deeper into America's darkest, dankest underbelly, toward obscenities that boggle even his mind.

Topics: Crime and Funny

Published: HarperCollins on Mar 17, 2009
ISBN: 9780061740978
List price: $8.99
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genius and funny as hellread more
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Entertaining, comic and vilely disgusting in varying measures - Having read the authors comments I was vaguely apalled that some of the most off colour excesses were reality based rather than fiction and I find myself asking - "Do they really provide Jesus shaped butt plugs in Las Vegas?" - In fact to be frank, prior to reading this I had no idea such a thing as a butt plug even existed....but then I guess you live and learn.read more
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A trivial and deeply unserious pseudo-noir. Sex scenes that pretend to be perverted, but are actually conventional and predictable, and at least one of which is stolen directly from Pasolini's Salo. Halfhearted attempts at political relevance end clumsily, and the entire last half of the novel feels highly rushed.read more
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Brilliant; a mystery that defies description and sucks up your life until it's completed. A perfect read for those who need something to tear them away from the computer, but wish their brains, philosophical souls, and their loins stimulated in equal measure. Stop reading my words and start reading Ellis' instead. You'll buy me a bottle of whisky later in thanks for the recommendation. No, I'm serious: buy me the f***ing liquor, you douche bag!read more
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Wow, was this book disappointing. What should have been Ellis's introduction to the print world became a collection of hey-guys-look-at-this-crazy-shit-I-found-on-the-internet-and-posted-on-my-blog-already, strung together by the thinnest of narratives. There are occasional sentences that smack of the author's way with words, but it's hardly worth the trudge through the rest of the book.read more
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This one was suggested to me by a friend and when I read the description, I was like, no. Too edgy for me-of-the-weak-stomach. And there were definitely parts that were difficult to stomach! The comedy leans strongly toward the black and sick, but the novel reminds me of Carl Hiaasen - but like more messed up. The humor was similar - if darker - but, in the end, cosmic justice is meted out. The ending is surprising, and not just for its (relative) happiness. I liked it a lot, and I have suggested it to a few others. I will definitely try some of Ellis's graphic novels - probably.read more
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At it's core, Crooked Little Vein could have been a decent pulpy detective novel: the Founding Fathers wrote a secret book, the true Constitution that can control the people of the US. Its loss in the '50s is being blamed as the cause of the changes in society since then, and high-ranking government members (think the old man from Desolation Jones, if you want a mental image) want it back.Ignoring the massive logistical/plot holes in that that even a few seconds of pondering will bring to the fore, it still has potential as a throw-away thriller. But the book itself never develops on that potential. Instead what we get is: protagonist finds out who had the book; goes to visit them and encounters some sexual fetish that the former owner has; learns who they gave it to; loop and repeat. It results in very disconnected series of scenes, where one group of chapters doesn't really seem to have that much — or even any — connection to the next.Add to it that other people's fetishes are at best somewhat funny, more commonly just boring, and the loving descriptions of them just get kind of tedious. (I get the impression Ellis may have been attempting to shock. The problem is that, to anyone who follows him even in the slightest, this is all probably old hat.)Towards the end of the book, one of the other issues present in Ellis's other writing crops up as well: the "I've just heard of this theory/technology/historical fact that I find interesting. One of the characters is now going to stop all plot advancement in order to expound on it at length" problem that, for example, plagued the final issue of Planetary.Overall? It's not a stinker, but it is ultimately dull and not really worth the time I spent reading it.read more
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I wasn’t familiar with any of Warren Ellis’ previous work before reading “Crooked Little Vein”. Over the years, Ellis has cut a large figure in the field of comics, establishing himself as a preeminent writer. He also has a reputation for being outrageous and for seeing how far he can push the envelope of bad taste.Well, “Crooked Little Vein” doesn’t disappoint, nor contradict this reputation in the least; if anything, it furthers it. The book is stunningly outrageous, incredibly filthy and vile, and wickedly over the top. This humorous descent into the depravity of the American underbelly feels like frolicking in a gutter and splashing oneself with filth. And I loved every minute of it.Mike McGill is a private dectective who tends to be a magnet for some bizzare situations, and that is putting it nicely. He is hired by a government official to find the real Constitution of the United States. This leads Mike to a disturbing journey across America, where he experiences all types of depravity like fans who enjoy Godzilla movies a little too much sexually and individuals who inject their nether regions with saline. Unfortunately, this is about as far as I can go into the story without you having to wash your eyes out afterwards. Oh yes, it is disturbed and profane.“Crooked Little Vein” is essentially a montage of disturbing set pieces held together by McGill’s overall search for the Constitution. Ellis has an amazing gift to write scenes that would surely make you queasy if you weren’t laughing so hard. So it goes without saying, if you are faint of heart about the use of profanity, scatological and perverted sexual references and other general foulness, you’ll really want to avoid this novel. However, if you want to read something incredibly disturbing and not run-of-the-mill, this is must read material.The book is brief and can be read in a few hours, so it mostly maintains its shock value, but the outrageousness of it does start to wear thin by the end. Ellis’ writing style is simple and straightforward. His descriptions are stark, which makes the foulness that Mike uncovers even more horrifying. This is a new genre Ellis is plumbing here: perverted noir. And it is the level of depravity that Ellis is able to pull off that makes this novel incredibly entertaining.Last Word:“Crooked Little Vein” is a fast, fun read that revels in its perversion and outrageousness, and full of shocking scences that are unforgettable. Warren Ellis has crafted a tiny little treat that will bring a smile to those who want to see how far bad taste can be pushed. Because in the hands of Ellis, bad taste can be pushed amazingly far.read more
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Let me start out by saying that I loved Transmet, and that I read Warren Ellis' blog almost as often as I read BoingBoing.That said, this novel is good for one thing-- a mindless read-through. As alt-pop trash, the novel sings. Ellis is quite good at the dirty detective novel narration. In this respect the novel reminds me a bit of Penn Jillette's novel Sock.Unfortunately, Crooked Little Vein doesn't tread any confusing or dangerous ground. It may serve some people as an introduction to alternative sex- and body-play, but a curious person with an internet connection will have already heard and seen this all. Especially if they read Warren's blog.The relationship between the narrator and the object of his desire is stagnant and boring. He starts out having a problem with her sexual acts, and ends tolerating, rather than respecting, them. I didn't want him to jump in and start living that life with her-- that would have been unrealistic. But the fact that the narrator simply gives in bothered me. Combined with the side-line nature of the relationship, the whole thing proved insubstantial.I did very much like the idea about the book that resonated with people. It is the only thought-provoking aspect of the book. One often wonders if a book has to actually be read to affect people (look at any banned book or, more recently, The DaVinci Code controversy). Ellis acknowledges that this is not a new phenomenon, but, just as with every other issue in the book, he doesn't take it anywhere. He doesn't push the issue or ask any questions.Again, a good mindless escape, with no lasting effects. Boring characters. Solid structure and story, though.read more
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I loved this book! It is bizarre, fascinating, and hilarious!
This author typically writes comic books, but has now moved on to novels. Which I am grateful for because this book was crazy and fun!

Any book that starts with a rat pissing in the main characters coffee has got to be strange, but this comes up with some funny crazy shit!

You have to read it.
It's amazing.

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Another person's review, plus the title, plus the first line in the book gave me great hopes for it.Unfortunately, it is too much like Palahniuk's work (i.e. Lullaby or Haunted) but not *quite* as squeamishly gory. Mostly it is similar in that the author goes 'over-the-top' in order to make his point (which is sort of political in nature). And because I don't like politics in my readings, and don't really care about and/or agree with the author's 'politics', I didn't enjoy this book very much. Though it does have some catchy one-liners in it.read more
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Warren Ellis at his very best. I read this book in an afternoon. Afterward, I needed to take a scalding hot shower and scrub myself with steel wool to get the filth off, then I wanted to read it again. Cannot recommend it highly enough.read more
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There's a million reviews out there for this and so I'll make this one short: I've never seen perversion so gleeful.There are a couple of patches where it doesn't work, but overall, Ellis knows how to use his ability to write fantastically tight and sharp short pieces to make an entire novel. It's vignette-y, but it ties together. It's a quick read because it pulls you in and chokes you lovingly until it's done.read more
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Ellis’ debut in novel form is quite a strange and interesting tale of mystery, intrigue, sexual deviance and not so normal romance. The story follows private invest gator, Mike MGill, A.K.A Mike McGill, A.K.A. the shit-magnet, as he is taken cross-country through the perverted underbelly of America’s lunatic fringe of sexual deviancy. McGill is on a mission to recover a lost article for a powerful Washington elite (who happens to be a heroin addicted, fecalphiliac, that also injects genetically modified monkey turds to stave off cancer). Along the way he befriends Trix, his comic foil, who is working on a thesis about extreme forms of sexual deviance and decides Mike may be a one way ticket to a fantastic adventure.Throughout Mike and Trix’s journey, Ellis presents imagery of some of the stranger forms of sexual deviance imaginable; imagery which will be burned into your brain for some time to come. The reader easily begins to empathize with poor McGill, someone who can’t begin to comprehend these odd forms of perversion. This empathy creates a strong bond to the character, even though he is just a washed-up reject of normal society who barely manages to function on a day to day basis, someone on whom empathy is normally lost.This buffet of sexual deviancy isn’t without a point however, a point that goes beyond just the shocking entertainment factor. Ellis uses it to lay the foundation for the philosophical point he not so subtly hammers home in the last quarter or so of the novel. Ellis uses these odd behavioral patterns to point out that America has not fallen from some mystical era where everyone was a moral and ethical beacon. America is more than a set of behavior patterns, it is and continues to be the land of Freedom, and that while you may not understand the actions of others, you have no right to prevent people from engaging in them, at least not so long as they do not directly cause harm to others against their will. Ellis does not put too fine a point on this ideal. There is little in the way of arguing this idea in plot or dialogue, or bringing out any dissenting views, it is presented plainly and bluntly which keeps it from attaining any sort of depth in meaning. This however does not detract from enjoying reveling in a concept that is becoming more and more foreign to our way life.Overall this is fun book. I found myself laughing out loud on many occasions from Ellis skillful use of wit and irony. It is an interesting story, which reads at breakneck speed. If you happen to agree with the overall moral theme of the book, you will probably enjoy it thoroughly for its entertainment value (even if you have to scrub your third eye out with soap a few times to feel clean).read more
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I really really wanted to like this book more; I'm a huge Warren Ellis fan, but no. I'm giving it an extra half star for being by him, but . . . when I compare it to the things by him that I truly love, something seems lacking. Only one part, towards the end, seems to have the madcap Ellis magic, and it's lacking the compassion his books usually have. So, disappointed. But waiting for book number two.read more
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Warren Ellis proudly dangles his genius in our faces again with this one. If you're from the internet, like me, nothing in this book will be particularly shocking. The imagery is wonderful and you'll be chuckling knowingly as you read his prose.If you aren't from the internet, however, you should probably either avoid this book completely or read alone with the curtains drawn. Not that it's overtly sexual, but you're not going to want the guy next to you on the bus reading over your shoulder.Not recommended for children, children at heart, the childish, or the crotchety.read more
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This book defies a description, or a summary. So let me use the following words instead, hoping they will somehow capture the essence of what I just read: violent, funny, twisted, sick, beautiful, creative, political, romantic, sexy, perverted, wise, tragic, hopeful, hysterical, erotic, ridiculous, poetic, frightening, noirish, satirical, drug-addled, and brilliant.read more
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While I was entertained the book offered little.read more
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A fun, quick read. Like a noir/fetish-porn/snarky-Michael-Moore-documentary triple feature where the projector is very confused about which reel goes next. Ellis hates the American Underground only slightly less than he hates the American Mainstream. I understand how he feels.read more
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Warren Ellis takes a seed from traditional hardboiled detective stock and germinates it in soil composted from some of the strangest niches of the Internet. The tale reads like Hunter S. Thompson after twenty years on the Fortean Times beat.The McGuffin in the story is a secret, backup Constitution to the United States that was lost decades ago under salacious circumstances, and our hero, Michael McGill, is hired to get it back because he's a natural magnet for bizarre circumstances. The trail leads him through some of the most unusual fleshpots of urban America, and anyone who has followed Ellis' weblog will know that he isn't even making up half of it.I laughed my way through the book because I've exposed my brain to so many disturbing things that this read was just an entertaining way to see them put together. If you aren't already acquainted with some of the more peculiar extremes of human behavior, however, this book may be more than a little unsettling. (I already told my wife she doesn't want to read it, and only had to read a single choice sentence to convince her.)read more
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This is a wonderful example of an author adding profanity and sexual fetishes in an attempt to add interest and edge. Elements of the story and the characters seem to not have been fully developed. It seems as if the author was making an attempt to portray a political/social satire, but not achieved. These stereotypical characters make the book tedious. There is some humor in the book that almost makes it bearable.read more
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I read the first chapter of this book online and got hooked. I had high hopes. It was noir-ish (scruffy PI passed out in his scruffy office, down to his last nickel; all it needed was the dame to enter sobbing for it to be letter perfect) and strange (a detailed description of a rat with which the PI was losing a war of wits) and had good overtones of menace (high government official with a psychotic streak and a heroin habit comes to make a threatening proposition). How was I to know that the best chapter would be the first.This book was showing off for the sake of it and it got old fast. The fact that this guy writes comic books for a living fairly screams from every page. He might as well have made this a graphic novel for all of the subtlety it had. I can take weirdness for weirdness’ sake, but this was just juvenile. Like two boys telling gross-out jokes to see who pukes first. The plot, what little of it there is, goes like this. Mike is hired by the Chief of Staff of the office of the President of the United States to find one semi-mythical book; the lost alternate Constitution with some ‘invisible’ Amendments. This same book also has some weird supernatural or hyperphysical ability to force people to read and absorb it. However this cannot be done over TV or radio waves and the chief of staff plans a country-wide tour of town meetings in order to basically reset everyone’s head back to the 1950s when he thought the world was perfect. This book has been traded around for truly bizarre sexual favors for the last 30 or 40 years and is now lost.Armed with a palmtop computer loaded with all of the clues and information now known about the history of the book, and a bank account with $500,000 in it, Mike sets off to find this mysterious book. He doesn’t even believe much of what he’s been told, but a half a million bucks is half a million bucks and what the hell. On his way pretty much every person he encounters represents some fringe group of sexual deviants. One after the other after the other they come (pardon the pun) and add to his growing knowledge of where the book resides. A little goes a long way with this kind of thing and after a while, the shock wore off and the little tidbit about a group of civic leaders stealing children to have sex with them, infect them with HIV and make bets on who dies first wasn’t as sickening as I’m sure the author thought it would be. But by then we’d seen it all and the impact was a mere tremble and not an earthquake. Ditto for the characters. After while each new freak, deviant, addict and pedophile seemed tamer than the last since it was obvious we were supposed to be completely shocked by the insane behavior and predilections of each new friend. Mike seemed completely at a loss as to how to deal with these people and showed the outrage and surprise that I’m sure the writer imagined he was instilling in the reader. Dear god, won’t it just end? It took me forever, comparatively, to finish this wee tome.Finally it did with a nod to romance and conventionality that I’m sure was supposed to seem quite safe and familiar to us in the landscape of warped fetishists and criminals. Except that it seemed as out of place as a cigar on a wedding cake. Mike and his ‘love interest’ Trix seem to be from different planets, but yet he falls in love with her. This is despite his being horrified by nearly every thought, action and past deed she has ever displayed. Yeah, right. Chandler you ain’t Mr. Ellis and even Mickey Spillane seems like Shakespeare by comparison.read more
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Book Review - Crooked Little Vein by Warren EllisCrooked Little VeinWarren ElliseBook Version300 pages (portrait view)Publisher: William Morrow Publication Date: July 24, 2007Language: English ISBN-13: 978-0060723934If you’re easily offended by rude or ribald language, unconventional sexual fetishes, or buckets of blood* you may want to steer clear of both Crooked Little Vein and this review. Just sayin’… fair warnin’.Like a violent criminal with a reputation to uphold Crooked Little Vein forced me into a secluded, dark alley and proceeded to cave my head in with the claw end of a one-pound hammer (and silly me enjoyed every second of it.) There is nothing soft or fuzzy about this debut novel from comic book writer Warren Ellis. On the contrary, it is a blunt force instrument waiting for an audience to beat. And, thankfully, it found me. Now, you should know that while prepping for this review (using Google and other implements of mass time annihilation) I conducted a bit of research regarding this novel. It appears that there are only two opinions pertaining to Crooked Little Vein on the Internet. Either the reviewer thoroughly hated it or totally enjoyed it. Now, on a certain level (you know the one – where your parents taught you to be polite and “If you can’t say something nice….”) I can see why some may have disliked it. To paraphrase - Those are not the reviews you’re looking for. There’s a lot of rough, rude, randy, and rash language in Crooked Little Vein, and fetishes that reside a million miles south of main-stream wife-swapping suburbia. In addition, the central character and his beautiful side-kick experience some terribly far-fetched adventures on their way to retrieve a powerful lost book which contains a secret version of the United States Constitution. The tome is sought after by the White House Chief of Staff who just happens to be a functioning heroin addict with a bottomless checkbook. And he’s willing to pay big money to get the book back. Along the way, the protagonist, down-and-out P.I. Mike McGill, gets into some of the funniest, raciest, counter-cultured situations ever encountered in fiction. In my own twisted assessment all the odd circumstances, bizarre characters, and unusual events are so outlandishly creative that they make this particular work of fiction one of the most remarkable and interesting stories I’ve read in a very long time. Some might call Crooked Little Vein irreverent. Others vulgar. But there’s always room for a story that provides something innovative and curious. And boy, does this deliver. Here’s the strange thing – the principle idea – the detective or P.I. story – is a very old one yet Ellis’ concoction of urban fantasy, unrefined emotion, offensive language, bizarre situations, and out-right crappy luck suffered by the main character and his assistant is enough for me to call this one brilliant piece of neo-noir fiction. Ellis has a solid grasp of what’s interesting, and cringe-worthy, about the steamy under-belly of America and his sharp, machine-gun style of writing fits this story perfectly. His prose is brutal, honest, tight, and lacks useless frill and decoration. A feat every author should strive to achieve. And although his characters are thrust into some of the strangest situations in modern fiction they are, by far, some of the most emotionally real characters I’ve ever encountered. Their feelings are never hidden, always worn on the sleeve, and they’re by no means afraid to say what they’re thinking or feeling. Surprisingly, beneath the surface of this extraordinary story lies a tender, albeit unorthodox, love story. Perhaps that’s what I found most interesting about the book. It has all the elements of a murder mystery quest, it forces you to realize that there is more to America than baseball, hot dogs and apple pie, and the characters are brutally honest and unexpectedly real. I thoroughly enjoyed this story and if you are one of those readers not easily offended by crude language and bizarre circumstances, or like the works of Richard Kadrey, Carlton Mellick III, or Chuck Palahniuk or agree with the majority of my book-review ratings you’ll probably take pleasure in it, as well.4 ½ stars out of 5The AlternativeSoutheast Wisconsin* Okay, I know, my review has nothing in the way of ribald language, controversial sexual fetishes, or blood and gore and I apologize for that but I’m willing to bet my opening statement got you to read this far… and for those of you that did, here’s the payoff.Q. Lewd language, fetish, and bloodshed?A. Fertilizer, cuttlefish, bazooka.I’ll let you determine which is which…read more
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I had no prior notion who Warren Ellis is, but many a froth-mouthed fanboy was praising him and his apparently extensive oeuvre of comic books, mostly, but also, among other things, this literary novel, Crooked Little Vein. Therefore I didn't have any preconceptions about what to expect and so by golly was I in for a big surprise! I never could have believed it would be such a snoozefest! Ellis wastes way too much time and effort trying to gross out the reader with irrelevant little sexual vignettes, neglecting plot and characters completely. We get the usual cyberpunkish dark sassy smartass girlfriend-sidekick, combination of the bad girl you jerked off to in high school (and still do; admit it) and your sarcastic best friend. The male hero is your usual thirtyish everyman with an unlucky streak and no discernible qualities. Furthermore, even an outrageously over-the-top story is allowed to make some sense; I would have liked a bit more plot in my holes. Eww, gross.It was a really fast read, on account of it being very short and with a badly rushed ending. I'm sure a less jaded person would have vomited a little in their own mouth, but unfortunately I barely lifted an eyebrow at the Godzilla bukkake and it was all downhill from there. Being a pacifist and all, I still wanted to pound the "witty" narrator's face in many times. Truth be told, I did also let go a guffaw a couple of times. Moderately entertaining, but I couldn't be anything but blasé about it. Weird internet porn and criticism of the Bush regime; yawn, that's so 2007.read more
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This quick read was pretty demented and a fun story. It explores the question of "what if" someone in the government had the possible ability to restore the "old fashioned" morality that the right wing republicans drool over. My husband is reading this now, and I wonder if he will also enjoy it!!read more
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Crooked Little Vein was disappointing. It's understandable, but disappointing - it's the book you'd write if you wanted to take what makes Ellis Ellis in the comics world, and present it to people who've never come across it before. I'd be interested to see what people who've never read any Ellis before thought of it, but I was glad to be done with it. More than anything else it reads like a fictionalised version of his blogs, with a loose narrative linking together a succession of 'Freaks and Geeks Wot I Did Find on the Internet'. It's remarkably generic and derivative of his own work, which leaves the whole thing feeling stale and unpleasant. He's capable of so much more. The main thing in its favour is that it's so short, light and frothy that it could be read and disposed of in no time at all. Eminently forgettable.There's an entirely unfunny scene with testicles being injected with saline.read more
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Rating: 3.5* of fiveThe Book Report: How bad can a day get? Mike McGill can tell you, and he'd be right. But he doesn't know *exactly* how bad a day can be until the White House Chief of Staff (bear in mind the book came out in 2007, adjust your mental compass, and go from there) walks into his office with a deal he can't refuse.Hey, after waking up naked in your office chair with a rat pissing in your coffee mug, why would anyone refuse any deal?So Mike gets a half million dollars in expense money, a "handheld computer" that hinges open (nothing ages worse than hi-tech), a phone number to call in case of emergency (555-555-5555, "we invented that, son, and gave it to Hollywood, but it really works for *us*"), and some new clothes, and starts following cold leads into seamy, icky, disgusting corners of the world that I choose to believe the sickfuckopath (© 2011 Stephen Sullivan, used by permission) who dreamt up this horrifying little odyssey invented whole and entire, in search of a magical copy of the United States Constitution that Ben Franklin had bound in the hide of an alien he killed during his embassy to Paris. A copy of the Constitution that Nixon, during his Vice Presidential stint, traded to a Chinese spy for sex.It goes without saying that clearly we're not in 1+1=2 reality any more, and all expectations needs must be recalibrated accordingly.I can't and won't reproduce the course of the hero through the obstacles and labors set in his path, the trickster god making paths smooth and then throwing turmoil into his journey, the monsters and the temptations and the Bright Shining Goal suddenly losing its luster...this is the Hero's Journey. Google it if need be. It's well done, and it's laugh-out-loud funny for 2/3 of its length and it's got the currently fashionable pseudolibertarian underpinnings that have such wide appeal.But Crooked Little Vein winds its way through a very, very old forest on a well-watered course.My Review: Wherein the ding in my rating from 4.5, to 4, to an ending of 3.5 stars of five. It's a lot of fun, and the narrator of this edition (it's not next to me and I'm too damn lazy to get up and see what his name is) does a really really good job with it. But I stopped laughing after the Baby Jesus Butt Plug incident came damn close to getting me hospitalized from lack of oxygen.A Quest has a material purpose, where the Hero's Journey does not. When the Hero goes on a Journey, he's looking for wisdom, he's undergoing a rite of passage, he's serving a cause; and when he's on a Quest, he's looking for an object. Mike does both. That's sloppy storytelling. Yes, of course it's true that all Quests return wisdom as one of their take-aways, but the material object of the Quest remains valuable in and of itself. This book sets up a Quest. It delivers the Hero's Journey.And it's a little too in love with its edgy, wacked-out sensibility. One character Mike meets on a flight from Las Vegas to LA is so extremely over-the-toply A Mouthpiece For A Message that I almost gave up and returned the CDs to the library. He gave away the most gratuitous seeming twist in the ending that I didn't like on aesthetic, moral, or practical grounds, buried in a mound of trash talk that I just didn't like at all because, well, damn.Should I recommend a book I'm so conflicted about? Well...Mike's journey comes to an end with, amazingly, his bank account full, his heart open, and his ya-ya in use for the foreseeable future. Find me a man who doesn't like that ending.read more
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Crooked Little VeinCrooked Little Vein is the title of the latest (and greatest) creation of Warren Ellis.This has to be, hands down, the funniest novel I've read in some time. After reading his comic books for years, I had often wished he would write a novel and this is why. The sharp wit and dry humor will leave you gasping for air and your jaws aching from laughing so much.Our protagonist is a PI named Michael McGill and is a bit of a stereotype. The guy sleeping in his office, wearing yesterdays shirts and wondering if he'll be able to pay the rent of have to sneak out of town.Just he is wondering about this (and if his shirt is too yellowed to wear another day) he gets a visitor like no other. And no, it's not a beautiful bombshell, but rather a very strange little man making him an offer he can't refuse.Michael is hired to find the 2nd (and very secret) Constitution. The so-called 'real' one.So he's off and running. Unfortunately, Michael has a talent for falling into the worst sort of situations. Things just go bad around him and getting this job is only the smallest part of how bad things are going to get.If you like mysteries, humor and very strange events, this is the book for you. In fact, you should buy it even if those aren't your things. Crooked Little Vein will convert you. Buy 2 copies and give one away. Afflict someone else with the writings of warren Ellis!read more
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This was REALLY fun. The second I got done I wanted to start over and write down some of the clever lines (and there are many). There are definitely hints of Neal Stephenson here and if you're an Ellis fan I don't have to warn you that this is over the top vulgar. In this case the vulgarity is all sexually oriented, which is exactly what I'm into. Most of the fetish stuff he mentions I've never heard of so either I'm not as well versed in the politics of perversion as I thought I was, or he's making it up.My only complaints are that EVERY character in the story is a complete wacko and it was too short. I hope to see more of this same character later, he was fun. And the narrator was a perfect choice (the same guy that does all the Takeshi Kovacs novels).read more
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Rare is the book that can make you laugh out loud or gasp in shock from page to page. Sometimes both at once. Wine helps. Several glasses? Even better. From the mind that brought you comic book geeks out there Transmetropolitan.read more
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genius and funny as hell
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Entertaining, comic and vilely disgusting in varying measures - Having read the authors comments I was vaguely apalled that some of the most off colour excesses were reality based rather than fiction and I find myself asking - "Do they really provide Jesus shaped butt plugs in Las Vegas?" - In fact to be frank, prior to reading this I had no idea such a thing as a butt plug even existed....but then I guess you live and learn.
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A trivial and deeply unserious pseudo-noir. Sex scenes that pretend to be perverted, but are actually conventional and predictable, and at least one of which is stolen directly from Pasolini's Salo. Halfhearted attempts at political relevance end clumsily, and the entire last half of the novel feels highly rushed.
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Brilliant; a mystery that defies description and sucks up your life until it's completed. A perfect read for those who need something to tear them away from the computer, but wish their brains, philosophical souls, and their loins stimulated in equal measure. Stop reading my words and start reading Ellis' instead. You'll buy me a bottle of whisky later in thanks for the recommendation. No, I'm serious: buy me the f***ing liquor, you douche bag!
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Wow, was this book disappointing. What should have been Ellis's introduction to the print world became a collection of hey-guys-look-at-this-crazy-shit-I-found-on-the-internet-and-posted-on-my-blog-already, strung together by the thinnest of narratives. There are occasional sentences that smack of the author's way with words, but it's hardly worth the trudge through the rest of the book.
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This one was suggested to me by a friend and when I read the description, I was like, no. Too edgy for me-of-the-weak-stomach. And there were definitely parts that were difficult to stomach! The comedy leans strongly toward the black and sick, but the novel reminds me of Carl Hiaasen - but like more messed up. The humor was similar - if darker - but, in the end, cosmic justice is meted out. The ending is surprising, and not just for its (relative) happiness. I liked it a lot, and I have suggested it to a few others. I will definitely try some of Ellis's graphic novels - probably.
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At it's core, Crooked Little Vein could have been a decent pulpy detective novel: the Founding Fathers wrote a secret book, the true Constitution that can control the people of the US. Its loss in the '50s is being blamed as the cause of the changes in society since then, and high-ranking government members (think the old man from Desolation Jones, if you want a mental image) want it back.Ignoring the massive logistical/plot holes in that that even a few seconds of pondering will bring to the fore, it still has potential as a throw-away thriller. But the book itself never develops on that potential. Instead what we get is: protagonist finds out who had the book; goes to visit them and encounters some sexual fetish that the former owner has; learns who they gave it to; loop and repeat. It results in very disconnected series of scenes, where one group of chapters doesn't really seem to have that much — or even any — connection to the next.Add to it that other people's fetishes are at best somewhat funny, more commonly just boring, and the loving descriptions of them just get kind of tedious. (I get the impression Ellis may have been attempting to shock. The problem is that, to anyone who follows him even in the slightest, this is all probably old hat.)Towards the end of the book, one of the other issues present in Ellis's other writing crops up as well: the "I've just heard of this theory/technology/historical fact that I find interesting. One of the characters is now going to stop all plot advancement in order to expound on it at length" problem that, for example, plagued the final issue of Planetary.Overall? It's not a stinker, but it is ultimately dull and not really worth the time I spent reading it.
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I wasn’t familiar with any of Warren Ellis’ previous work before reading “Crooked Little Vein”. Over the years, Ellis has cut a large figure in the field of comics, establishing himself as a preeminent writer. He also has a reputation for being outrageous and for seeing how far he can push the envelope of bad taste.Well, “Crooked Little Vein” doesn’t disappoint, nor contradict this reputation in the least; if anything, it furthers it. The book is stunningly outrageous, incredibly filthy and vile, and wickedly over the top. This humorous descent into the depravity of the American underbelly feels like frolicking in a gutter and splashing oneself with filth. And I loved every minute of it.Mike McGill is a private dectective who tends to be a magnet for some bizzare situations, and that is putting it nicely. He is hired by a government official to find the real Constitution of the United States. This leads Mike to a disturbing journey across America, where he experiences all types of depravity like fans who enjoy Godzilla movies a little too much sexually and individuals who inject their nether regions with saline. Unfortunately, this is about as far as I can go into the story without you having to wash your eyes out afterwards. Oh yes, it is disturbed and profane.“Crooked Little Vein” is essentially a montage of disturbing set pieces held together by McGill’s overall search for the Constitution. Ellis has an amazing gift to write scenes that would surely make you queasy if you weren’t laughing so hard. So it goes without saying, if you are faint of heart about the use of profanity, scatological and perverted sexual references and other general foulness, you’ll really want to avoid this novel. However, if you want to read something incredibly disturbing and not run-of-the-mill, this is must read material.The book is brief and can be read in a few hours, so it mostly maintains its shock value, but the outrageousness of it does start to wear thin by the end. Ellis’ writing style is simple and straightforward. His descriptions are stark, which makes the foulness that Mike uncovers even more horrifying. This is a new genre Ellis is plumbing here: perverted noir. And it is the level of depravity that Ellis is able to pull off that makes this novel incredibly entertaining.Last Word:“Crooked Little Vein” is a fast, fun read that revels in its perversion and outrageousness, and full of shocking scences that are unforgettable. Warren Ellis has crafted a tiny little treat that will bring a smile to those who want to see how far bad taste can be pushed. Because in the hands of Ellis, bad taste can be pushed amazingly far.
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Let me start out by saying that I loved Transmet, and that I read Warren Ellis' blog almost as often as I read BoingBoing.That said, this novel is good for one thing-- a mindless read-through. As alt-pop trash, the novel sings. Ellis is quite good at the dirty detective novel narration. In this respect the novel reminds me a bit of Penn Jillette's novel Sock.Unfortunately, Crooked Little Vein doesn't tread any confusing or dangerous ground. It may serve some people as an introduction to alternative sex- and body-play, but a curious person with an internet connection will have already heard and seen this all. Especially if they read Warren's blog.The relationship between the narrator and the object of his desire is stagnant and boring. He starts out having a problem with her sexual acts, and ends tolerating, rather than respecting, them. I didn't want him to jump in and start living that life with her-- that would have been unrealistic. But the fact that the narrator simply gives in bothered me. Combined with the side-line nature of the relationship, the whole thing proved insubstantial.I did very much like the idea about the book that resonated with people. It is the only thought-provoking aspect of the book. One often wonders if a book has to actually be read to affect people (look at any banned book or, more recently, The DaVinci Code controversy). Ellis acknowledges that this is not a new phenomenon, but, just as with every other issue in the book, he doesn't take it anywhere. He doesn't push the issue or ask any questions.Again, a good mindless escape, with no lasting effects. Boring characters. Solid structure and story, though.
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I loved this book! It is bizarre, fascinating, and hilarious!
This author typically writes comic books, but has now moved on to novels. Which I am grateful for because this book was crazy and fun!

Any book that starts with a rat pissing in the main characters coffee has got to be strange, but this comes up with some funny crazy shit!

You have to read it.
It's amazing.

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Another person's review, plus the title, plus the first line in the book gave me great hopes for it.Unfortunately, it is too much like Palahniuk's work (i.e. Lullaby or Haunted) but not *quite* as squeamishly gory. Mostly it is similar in that the author goes 'over-the-top' in order to make his point (which is sort of political in nature). And because I don't like politics in my readings, and don't really care about and/or agree with the author's 'politics', I didn't enjoy this book very much. Though it does have some catchy one-liners in it.
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Warren Ellis at his very best. I read this book in an afternoon. Afterward, I needed to take a scalding hot shower and scrub myself with steel wool to get the filth off, then I wanted to read it again. Cannot recommend it highly enough.
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There's a million reviews out there for this and so I'll make this one short: I've never seen perversion so gleeful.There are a couple of patches where it doesn't work, but overall, Ellis knows how to use his ability to write fantastically tight and sharp short pieces to make an entire novel. It's vignette-y, but it ties together. It's a quick read because it pulls you in and chokes you lovingly until it's done.
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Ellis’ debut in novel form is quite a strange and interesting tale of mystery, intrigue, sexual deviance and not so normal romance. The story follows private invest gator, Mike MGill, A.K.A Mike McGill, A.K.A. the shit-magnet, as he is taken cross-country through the perverted underbelly of America’s lunatic fringe of sexual deviancy. McGill is on a mission to recover a lost article for a powerful Washington elite (who happens to be a heroin addicted, fecalphiliac, that also injects genetically modified monkey turds to stave off cancer). Along the way he befriends Trix, his comic foil, who is working on a thesis about extreme forms of sexual deviance and decides Mike may be a one way ticket to a fantastic adventure.Throughout Mike and Trix’s journey, Ellis presents imagery of some of the stranger forms of sexual deviance imaginable; imagery which will be burned into your brain for some time to come. The reader easily begins to empathize with poor McGill, someone who can’t begin to comprehend these odd forms of perversion. This empathy creates a strong bond to the character, even though he is just a washed-up reject of normal society who barely manages to function on a day to day basis, someone on whom empathy is normally lost.This buffet of sexual deviancy isn’t without a point however, a point that goes beyond just the shocking entertainment factor. Ellis uses it to lay the foundation for the philosophical point he not so subtly hammers home in the last quarter or so of the novel. Ellis uses these odd behavioral patterns to point out that America has not fallen from some mystical era where everyone was a moral and ethical beacon. America is more than a set of behavior patterns, it is and continues to be the land of Freedom, and that while you may not understand the actions of others, you have no right to prevent people from engaging in them, at least not so long as they do not directly cause harm to others against their will. Ellis does not put too fine a point on this ideal. There is little in the way of arguing this idea in plot or dialogue, or bringing out any dissenting views, it is presented plainly and bluntly which keeps it from attaining any sort of depth in meaning. This however does not detract from enjoying reveling in a concept that is becoming more and more foreign to our way life.Overall this is fun book. I found myself laughing out loud on many occasions from Ellis skillful use of wit and irony. It is an interesting story, which reads at breakneck speed. If you happen to agree with the overall moral theme of the book, you will probably enjoy it thoroughly for its entertainment value (even if you have to scrub your third eye out with soap a few times to feel clean).
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I really really wanted to like this book more; I'm a huge Warren Ellis fan, but no. I'm giving it an extra half star for being by him, but . . . when I compare it to the things by him that I truly love, something seems lacking. Only one part, towards the end, seems to have the madcap Ellis magic, and it's lacking the compassion his books usually have. So, disappointed. But waiting for book number two.
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Warren Ellis proudly dangles his genius in our faces again with this one. If you're from the internet, like me, nothing in this book will be particularly shocking. The imagery is wonderful and you'll be chuckling knowingly as you read his prose.If you aren't from the internet, however, you should probably either avoid this book completely or read alone with the curtains drawn. Not that it's overtly sexual, but you're not going to want the guy next to you on the bus reading over your shoulder.Not recommended for children, children at heart, the childish, or the crotchety.
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This book defies a description, or a summary. So let me use the following words instead, hoping they will somehow capture the essence of what I just read: violent, funny, twisted, sick, beautiful, creative, political, romantic, sexy, perverted, wise, tragic, hopeful, hysterical, erotic, ridiculous, poetic, frightening, noirish, satirical, drug-addled, and brilliant.
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While I was entertained the book offered little.
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A fun, quick read. Like a noir/fetish-porn/snarky-Michael-Moore-documentary triple feature where the projector is very confused about which reel goes next. Ellis hates the American Underground only slightly less than he hates the American Mainstream. I understand how he feels.
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Warren Ellis takes a seed from traditional hardboiled detective stock and germinates it in soil composted from some of the strangest niches of the Internet. The tale reads like Hunter S. Thompson after twenty years on the Fortean Times beat.The McGuffin in the story is a secret, backup Constitution to the United States that was lost decades ago under salacious circumstances, and our hero, Michael McGill, is hired to get it back because he's a natural magnet for bizarre circumstances. The trail leads him through some of the most unusual fleshpots of urban America, and anyone who has followed Ellis' weblog will know that he isn't even making up half of it.I laughed my way through the book because I've exposed my brain to so many disturbing things that this read was just an entertaining way to see them put together. If you aren't already acquainted with some of the more peculiar extremes of human behavior, however, this book may be more than a little unsettling. (I already told my wife she doesn't want to read it, and only had to read a single choice sentence to convince her.)
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This is a wonderful example of an author adding profanity and sexual fetishes in an attempt to add interest and edge. Elements of the story and the characters seem to not have been fully developed. It seems as if the author was making an attempt to portray a political/social satire, but not achieved. These stereotypical characters make the book tedious. There is some humor in the book that almost makes it bearable.
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I read the first chapter of this book online and got hooked. I had high hopes. It was noir-ish (scruffy PI passed out in his scruffy office, down to his last nickel; all it needed was the dame to enter sobbing for it to be letter perfect) and strange (a detailed description of a rat with which the PI was losing a war of wits) and had good overtones of menace (high government official with a psychotic streak and a heroin habit comes to make a threatening proposition). How was I to know that the best chapter would be the first.This book was showing off for the sake of it and it got old fast. The fact that this guy writes comic books for a living fairly screams from every page. He might as well have made this a graphic novel for all of the subtlety it had. I can take weirdness for weirdness’ sake, but this was just juvenile. Like two boys telling gross-out jokes to see who pukes first. The plot, what little of it there is, goes like this. Mike is hired by the Chief of Staff of the office of the President of the United States to find one semi-mythical book; the lost alternate Constitution with some ‘invisible’ Amendments. This same book also has some weird supernatural or hyperphysical ability to force people to read and absorb it. However this cannot be done over TV or radio waves and the chief of staff plans a country-wide tour of town meetings in order to basically reset everyone’s head back to the 1950s when he thought the world was perfect. This book has been traded around for truly bizarre sexual favors for the last 30 or 40 years and is now lost.Armed with a palmtop computer loaded with all of the clues and information now known about the history of the book, and a bank account with $500,000 in it, Mike sets off to find this mysterious book. He doesn’t even believe much of what he’s been told, but a half a million bucks is half a million bucks and what the hell. On his way pretty much every person he encounters represents some fringe group of sexual deviants. One after the other after the other they come (pardon the pun) and add to his growing knowledge of where the book resides. A little goes a long way with this kind of thing and after a while, the shock wore off and the little tidbit about a group of civic leaders stealing children to have sex with them, infect them with HIV and make bets on who dies first wasn’t as sickening as I’m sure the author thought it would be. But by then we’d seen it all and the impact was a mere tremble and not an earthquake. Ditto for the characters. After while each new freak, deviant, addict and pedophile seemed tamer than the last since it was obvious we were supposed to be completely shocked by the insane behavior and predilections of each new friend. Mike seemed completely at a loss as to how to deal with these people and showed the outrage and surprise that I’m sure the writer imagined he was instilling in the reader. Dear god, won’t it just end? It took me forever, comparatively, to finish this wee tome.Finally it did with a nod to romance and conventionality that I’m sure was supposed to seem quite safe and familiar to us in the landscape of warped fetishists and criminals. Except that it seemed as out of place as a cigar on a wedding cake. Mike and his ‘love interest’ Trix seem to be from different planets, but yet he falls in love with her. This is despite his being horrified by nearly every thought, action and past deed she has ever displayed. Yeah, right. Chandler you ain’t Mr. Ellis and even Mickey Spillane seems like Shakespeare by comparison.
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Book Review - Crooked Little Vein by Warren EllisCrooked Little VeinWarren ElliseBook Version300 pages (portrait view)Publisher: William Morrow Publication Date: July 24, 2007Language: English ISBN-13: 978-0060723934If you’re easily offended by rude or ribald language, unconventional sexual fetishes, or buckets of blood* you may want to steer clear of both Crooked Little Vein and this review. Just sayin’… fair warnin’.Like a violent criminal with a reputation to uphold Crooked Little Vein forced me into a secluded, dark alley and proceeded to cave my head in with the claw end of a one-pound hammer (and silly me enjoyed every second of it.) There is nothing soft or fuzzy about this debut novel from comic book writer Warren Ellis. On the contrary, it is a blunt force instrument waiting for an audience to beat. And, thankfully, it found me. Now, you should know that while prepping for this review (using Google and other implements of mass time annihilation) I conducted a bit of research regarding this novel. It appears that there are only two opinions pertaining to Crooked Little Vein on the Internet. Either the reviewer thoroughly hated it or totally enjoyed it. Now, on a certain level (you know the one – where your parents taught you to be polite and “If you can’t say something nice….”) I can see why some may have disliked it. To paraphrase - Those are not the reviews you’re looking for. There’s a lot of rough, rude, randy, and rash language in Crooked Little Vein, and fetishes that reside a million miles south of main-stream wife-swapping suburbia. In addition, the central character and his beautiful side-kick experience some terribly far-fetched adventures on their way to retrieve a powerful lost book which contains a secret version of the United States Constitution. The tome is sought after by the White House Chief of Staff who just happens to be a functioning heroin addict with a bottomless checkbook. And he’s willing to pay big money to get the book back. Along the way, the protagonist, down-and-out P.I. Mike McGill, gets into some of the funniest, raciest, counter-cultured situations ever encountered in fiction. In my own twisted assessment all the odd circumstances, bizarre characters, and unusual events are so outlandishly creative that they make this particular work of fiction one of the most remarkable and interesting stories I’ve read in a very long time. Some might call Crooked Little Vein irreverent. Others vulgar. But there’s always room for a story that provides something innovative and curious. And boy, does this deliver. Here’s the strange thing – the principle idea – the detective or P.I. story – is a very old one yet Ellis’ concoction of urban fantasy, unrefined emotion, offensive language, bizarre situations, and out-right crappy luck suffered by the main character and his assistant is enough for me to call this one brilliant piece of neo-noir fiction. Ellis has a solid grasp of what’s interesting, and cringe-worthy, about the steamy under-belly of America and his sharp, machine-gun style of writing fits this story perfectly. His prose is brutal, honest, tight, and lacks useless frill and decoration. A feat every author should strive to achieve. And although his characters are thrust into some of the strangest situations in modern fiction they are, by far, some of the most emotionally real characters I’ve ever encountered. Their feelings are never hidden, always worn on the sleeve, and they’re by no means afraid to say what they’re thinking or feeling. Surprisingly, beneath the surface of this extraordinary story lies a tender, albeit unorthodox, love story. Perhaps that’s what I found most interesting about the book. It has all the elements of a murder mystery quest, it forces you to realize that there is more to America than baseball, hot dogs and apple pie, and the characters are brutally honest and unexpectedly real. I thoroughly enjoyed this story and if you are one of those readers not easily offended by crude language and bizarre circumstances, or like the works of Richard Kadrey, Carlton Mellick III, or Chuck Palahniuk or agree with the majority of my book-review ratings you’ll probably take pleasure in it, as well.4 ½ stars out of 5The AlternativeSoutheast Wisconsin* Okay, I know, my review has nothing in the way of ribald language, controversial sexual fetishes, or blood and gore and I apologize for that but I’m willing to bet my opening statement got you to read this far… and for those of you that did, here’s the payoff.Q. Lewd language, fetish, and bloodshed?A. Fertilizer, cuttlefish, bazooka.I’ll let you determine which is which…
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I had no prior notion who Warren Ellis is, but many a froth-mouthed fanboy was praising him and his apparently extensive oeuvre of comic books, mostly, but also, among other things, this literary novel, Crooked Little Vein. Therefore I didn't have any preconceptions about what to expect and so by golly was I in for a big surprise! I never could have believed it would be such a snoozefest! Ellis wastes way too much time and effort trying to gross out the reader with irrelevant little sexual vignettes, neglecting plot and characters completely. We get the usual cyberpunkish dark sassy smartass girlfriend-sidekick, combination of the bad girl you jerked off to in high school (and still do; admit it) and your sarcastic best friend. The male hero is your usual thirtyish everyman with an unlucky streak and no discernible qualities. Furthermore, even an outrageously over-the-top story is allowed to make some sense; I would have liked a bit more plot in my holes. Eww, gross.It was a really fast read, on account of it being very short and with a badly rushed ending. I'm sure a less jaded person would have vomited a little in their own mouth, but unfortunately I barely lifted an eyebrow at the Godzilla bukkake and it was all downhill from there. Being a pacifist and all, I still wanted to pound the "witty" narrator's face in many times. Truth be told, I did also let go a guffaw a couple of times. Moderately entertaining, but I couldn't be anything but blasé about it. Weird internet porn and criticism of the Bush regime; yawn, that's so 2007.
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This quick read was pretty demented and a fun story. It explores the question of "what if" someone in the government had the possible ability to restore the "old fashioned" morality that the right wing republicans drool over. My husband is reading this now, and I wonder if he will also enjoy it!!
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Crooked Little Vein was disappointing. It's understandable, but disappointing - it's the book you'd write if you wanted to take what makes Ellis Ellis in the comics world, and present it to people who've never come across it before. I'd be interested to see what people who've never read any Ellis before thought of it, but I was glad to be done with it. More than anything else it reads like a fictionalised version of his blogs, with a loose narrative linking together a succession of 'Freaks and Geeks Wot I Did Find on the Internet'. It's remarkably generic and derivative of his own work, which leaves the whole thing feeling stale and unpleasant. He's capable of so much more. The main thing in its favour is that it's so short, light and frothy that it could be read and disposed of in no time at all. Eminently forgettable.There's an entirely unfunny scene with testicles being injected with saline.
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Rating: 3.5* of fiveThe Book Report: How bad can a day get? Mike McGill can tell you, and he'd be right. But he doesn't know *exactly* how bad a day can be until the White House Chief of Staff (bear in mind the book came out in 2007, adjust your mental compass, and go from there) walks into his office with a deal he can't refuse.Hey, after waking up naked in your office chair with a rat pissing in your coffee mug, why would anyone refuse any deal?So Mike gets a half million dollars in expense money, a "handheld computer" that hinges open (nothing ages worse than hi-tech), a phone number to call in case of emergency (555-555-5555, "we invented that, son, and gave it to Hollywood, but it really works for *us*"), and some new clothes, and starts following cold leads into seamy, icky, disgusting corners of the world that I choose to believe the sickfuckopath (© 2011 Stephen Sullivan, used by permission) who dreamt up this horrifying little odyssey invented whole and entire, in search of a magical copy of the United States Constitution that Ben Franklin had bound in the hide of an alien he killed during his embassy to Paris. A copy of the Constitution that Nixon, during his Vice Presidential stint, traded to a Chinese spy for sex.It goes without saying that clearly we're not in 1+1=2 reality any more, and all expectations needs must be recalibrated accordingly.I can't and won't reproduce the course of the hero through the obstacles and labors set in his path, the trickster god making paths smooth and then throwing turmoil into his journey, the monsters and the temptations and the Bright Shining Goal suddenly losing its luster...this is the Hero's Journey. Google it if need be. It's well done, and it's laugh-out-loud funny for 2/3 of its length and it's got the currently fashionable pseudolibertarian underpinnings that have such wide appeal.But Crooked Little Vein winds its way through a very, very old forest on a well-watered course.My Review: Wherein the ding in my rating from 4.5, to 4, to an ending of 3.5 stars of five. It's a lot of fun, and the narrator of this edition (it's not next to me and I'm too damn lazy to get up and see what his name is) does a really really good job with it. But I stopped laughing after the Baby Jesus Butt Plug incident came damn close to getting me hospitalized from lack of oxygen.A Quest has a material purpose, where the Hero's Journey does not. When the Hero goes on a Journey, he's looking for wisdom, he's undergoing a rite of passage, he's serving a cause; and when he's on a Quest, he's looking for an object. Mike does both. That's sloppy storytelling. Yes, of course it's true that all Quests return wisdom as one of their take-aways, but the material object of the Quest remains valuable in and of itself. This book sets up a Quest. It delivers the Hero's Journey.And it's a little too in love with its edgy, wacked-out sensibility. One character Mike meets on a flight from Las Vegas to LA is so extremely over-the-toply A Mouthpiece For A Message that I almost gave up and returned the CDs to the library. He gave away the most gratuitous seeming twist in the ending that I didn't like on aesthetic, moral, or practical grounds, buried in a mound of trash talk that I just didn't like at all because, well, damn.Should I recommend a book I'm so conflicted about? Well...Mike's journey comes to an end with, amazingly, his bank account full, his heart open, and his ya-ya in use for the foreseeable future. Find me a man who doesn't like that ending.
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Crooked Little VeinCrooked Little Vein is the title of the latest (and greatest) creation of Warren Ellis.This has to be, hands down, the funniest novel I've read in some time. After reading his comic books for years, I had often wished he would write a novel and this is why. The sharp wit and dry humor will leave you gasping for air and your jaws aching from laughing so much.Our protagonist is a PI named Michael McGill and is a bit of a stereotype. The guy sleeping in his office, wearing yesterdays shirts and wondering if he'll be able to pay the rent of have to sneak out of town.Just he is wondering about this (and if his shirt is too yellowed to wear another day) he gets a visitor like no other. And no, it's not a beautiful bombshell, but rather a very strange little man making him an offer he can't refuse.Michael is hired to find the 2nd (and very secret) Constitution. The so-called 'real' one.So he's off and running. Unfortunately, Michael has a talent for falling into the worst sort of situations. Things just go bad around him and getting this job is only the smallest part of how bad things are going to get.If you like mysteries, humor and very strange events, this is the book for you. In fact, you should buy it even if those aren't your things. Crooked Little Vein will convert you. Buy 2 copies and give one away. Afflict someone else with the writings of warren Ellis!
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This was REALLY fun. The second I got done I wanted to start over and write down some of the clever lines (and there are many). There are definitely hints of Neal Stephenson here and if you're an Ellis fan I don't have to warn you that this is over the top vulgar. In this case the vulgarity is all sexually oriented, which is exactly what I'm into. Most of the fetish stuff he mentions I've never heard of so either I'm not as well versed in the politics of perversion as I thought I was, or he's making it up.My only complaints are that EVERY character in the story is a complete wacko and it was too short. I hope to see more of this same character later, he was fun. And the narrator was a perfect choice (the same guy that does all the Takeshi Kovacs novels).
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Rare is the book that can make you laugh out loud or gasp in shock from page to page. Sometimes both at once. Wine helps. Several glasses? Even better. From the mind that brought you comic book geeks out there Transmetropolitan.
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