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Monday, July 16, 2007

"Crooked Little Vein" by Warren Ellis

Official Warren Ellis Website
Warren Ellis’ LiveJournal
Order “Crooked Little VeinHERE
Read An Excerpt HERE

Following in the footsteps of Neil Gaiman and Mike Carey, Warren Ellis is the latest critically-acclaimed comic book writer making the leap to novels, and the creator behind such noted properties as Transmetropolitan, Global Frequency & Fell, not to mention the various other comic books (Planetary, The Authority, newuniversal, Ultimate Fantastic Four, Iron Man, etc.), graphic novels, and television/videogame scripts that he’s left his mark on, has delivered one helluva debut with “Crooked Little Vein”.

Bestiality, Godzilla bukkake, degloving, vaginal tightenings, genetically modified monkeys whose feces possess anticancer drugs, testicles + needles + salt water; these are just a few of the depravities hidden within the pages of Mr. Ellis’Crooked Little Vein”. Trust me, the book is not for the faint of heart…it’s vulgar, nauseating, perverted, and the most damn fun I’ve had in a long, long time.

Basically a warped take on the noirish detective mystery, “Crooked Little Vein” follows private investigator Michael McGill, a “shit magnet” whose penchant for unluckiness attracts the attention of the United States President’s chief of staff who hires McGill to find a book that will supposedly save America’s way of life – a secret Constitution that was created by the Founders for emergency purposes and was lost in the 1950s. Starting in New York City, McGill’s hunt for the second Constitution will take the private eye on a ‘crooked little vein’ throughout the country’s immoral underworld, including visits to Columbus (Ohio), San Antonio, Las Vegas and Los Angeles. Along the way readers will get mixed up with some of the wackiest weirdoes unimaginable, including an indestructible rat with a grudge, a famous serial killer offended at the slander produced by the media about him, a Helter Skelter cabbie ‘X’d from society’, a detective who was previously a male prostitute, and the omnisexual Trix who partners up with Mike to share in all the fun. And let’s not forget the heroin-addicted chief of staff, Mike’s schizophrenic friend Bob, pimps, transgenders, former Skull & Bones, and the mastermind behind a mega-billion Internet porn empire…and that’s just touching the tip of the iceberg.

Seriously, from the moment you open the book until its very last paragraph, there’s crazy shit happening on every single page and you never know what to expect. It’s not just the off-the-wall premise or the deviant characters either; it’s all of the little details that Mr. Ellis brings to the book, which makes “Crooked Little Vein” so damn entertaining. Even more impressive is that somewhere amid all of that weirdness and debauchery, there’s actually an important statement being made about our declining society, how what was once considered taboo has become part of the ‘mainstream’ – due in part to our technological advancements –, and how, despite all of this, there’s still hope for a better future…possibly...

Obviously “Crooked Little Vein” isn’t for everyone—under 18 beware. A lot of people will find it offensive and loathe its very existence. Others, most notably Warren Ellis fans, comic book lovers, and anyone who’s not afraid to indulge a bit in their masochistic side, will eat the book up. Me, I loved every second of it and couldn’t get enough. I don’t know what that says about me, but to hell with it. “Crooked Little Vein” is easily my favorite novel of the year and I’m already salivating with anticipation for book number two: “Listener”, a post-apocalyptic sci-fi due out in 2008…


raul said...

i was a huge fan of the invisibles and transmetropolitan comics, i cant wait to see what this writer is like in pure literature form.

this is certainly going to be blasted in the red state speculative fiction circles. I cant wait to see and laugh at that two!

Another pair of guys that can write from a comics background is greg rucka and brad meltzer. I respect the people that can do this sort of switching from form-to-form with ease and talent.

Reanimated said...


Another exciting review! How can I not run out and get this? I can't. I must.


Robert said...

Yeah, I was expecting "Crooked Little Vein" to be pretty good, but the book exceeded even my expectations, so I was pretty happy with it :)

I've read and enjoyed a lot of Brad Meltzer & Greg Rucka's comic works, but I haven't read any of their novels yet...but I hope to. I think Greg has a new one coming out in the next month or so...

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