Reader reviews for Crooked Little Vein

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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