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Crooked Little Vein (2007)

de Warren Ellis

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1,488699,827 (3.76)46
Michael McGill is a burned-out private detective who suddenly becomes enlisted by an army of presidential goons to retrieve the Constitution of the United States, but not the one we all know about. This would be the real Constitution (the one with invisible amendments) created by some of the Founding Fathers as a fallback for their great experiment. Along the way, McGill gains a polyamorous sidekick named Trix, gets scared to death by what men do with warm salty water, and descends into a world where crime, sex, and madness all seem to be the same thing. Full of mind-bending style and packed with a wild cast of characters, Crooked Little Vein infuses Robert B. Parker with Kurt Vonnegut and the madness of the graphic novel world. A surprisingly surreal treat, it will appeal to hardcore comic fans, mystery aficionados, and anybody looking for a riotous adventure.… (més)
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» Mira també 46 mencions

Es mostren 1-5 de 69 (següent | mostra-les totes)
Just when you think that things can't get more depraved, frustrating, and undercutting to your faith in humanity, they do.

This was a hell of a fun read, from cover to cover. I'm not quite sure if it's making fun of the detective novel form, or taking it out for a night on the town, getting it good and liquored up, and making sure that the hangover was well worth it.

I really enjoyed reading this one, from cover to cover. I laughed out loud at several points, and just shook my head at others. I wonder if that fortune-telling girl on the corner will show up in any of his other works... ( )
  dcrampton | Apr 20, 2022 |
Gritty and dark, but also amusing and fun. I'm still on the fence about whether I like Ellis, I don't think I love his style, but I enjoy his stories. ( )
  Pepperwings | Dec 7, 2021 |
I love Warren Ellis’s style of characters and storytelling. I absolutely fell in love with Spider Jerusalem in Transmetropolitan and the unreliable narrator from Supergods. He carries over the style to Crooked Little Vein, the first novel I've read from him, and it was a rather interesting experience. Unlike his graphic novels, I must say the book was an ultimately insubstantial but fun ride as a Pervert’s Guide to America.

It’s Ellis being himself - brash, loud, and horny. The language is the first thing that pops up from the pages. Imagine having a dirty conversation with your best friend. That’s what it’s like. The fun part of reading it was the absolutely zany situations and just how ‘normally’ it’s presented. Our narrator, the straight arrow he is, goes from one insane sexual situation to another. It starts off with a Godzilla bukkake show (yes, you read that right) to orgies where participants must spread HIV to teenagers (not really far fetched to be honest).

The farce doesn’t stop there either. Our protagonists jump from one bizarre situation to another, offering up Ellis trademarks along the way. The casual conversation with the serial killer on the flight was amazing; the insane political family also comes to mind; the saline-pumping gay group is another. He mixes politics, power, and sex into drawing an intensely insane picture of America that’s both bizarre and somehow normal at the same time.

All this is done through the narrator who offers up a picture of a regular Joe who’s been through a lot. He’s shocked by all the bizarre situations he’s thrown into, reflecting our own views on the matter. He’s us in a way, and it’s great how Ellis uses him to ground an otherwise insane story. He’s used to highlight America’s “moral decay,” but by the end he’s numbed, and so are we.

That brings up America as a character. Ellis, a British author, offers an interesting look into the “heart” of America. Its big roads, lack of pedestrians, guns, casual outlook towards sex and its weaponization and commercialization in the upper echelons of power and society are all well-represented. Media and control over it is also another theme, though it plays a more secondary role here. While it may seem controversial and negative at first, there’s a sense of unbridled optimism and faith in the media and the legal system. America, despite its “faults” (so to speak), is made up of its people, no matter how fucked up they may be. They’re good people, and the story reflects that opinion quite strongly.

As I wrote earlier, the story may feel light and ultimately insubstantial, I feel it works well as a strange pervert’s guide to America, showcasing both its highs and lows. The ending may feel rushed, but it also felt like a strong commentary on the Internet and its usage, showing how going viral can strip something of its virility.

Overall, highly recommended read if you’re looking for light reading and maybe some interesting insight into America’s sexual commodification. ( )
  bdgamer | Sep 10, 2021 |
This is a nasty little book. Anyone who has read the comics of Warren Ellis will find themselves on familiar ground with this, his first prose novel. The story is simple enough: Mike McGill, our hero, must search through the sordid underbelly of America to find, well, a McGuffin, really. The true highlight of the book isn't the plot, it's watching Ellis debate with himself, using the voice of the book's main characters, about whether or not the future is headed toward hell in a handbasket. Ellis has interesting ideas about the future of our culture and watching that debate can be a heady experience.

Reading this novel brought home a point that I'd always suspected but never quite grasped before: like the best mystery writers, and despite the cynicism and bravado on display in his prose, Ellis is a Romantic. One can see evidence of this is his best comics series, Planetary, Transmetropolitan, et al.

If I have any complaints, it's that this very brief book is paced too quickly. Ellis is writing about the great expanse of America, but the pacing barely gives any sense of the country's size. And the pacing also makes the climax of the book slide by almost unrecognized. But this is a minor quibble and wouldn't keep me from recommending it. This book is not for the faint of heart, but for those who can stomach it, it is well worth the read. ( )
  adamgallardo | Aug 11, 2021 |
I hope Ellis didn't do any personal research for some of the incidents in this wild book. A down-on-his-luck Private Investigator is hired by the President's bizarre Chief of Staff to find the alternate version of the Constitution--the one with the invisible amendments. He teams up with a woman researching her thesis, and off they go to meet up with some of the most messed up, peculiar people you'll ever encounter. The plot here isn't really what counts--although Ellis wraps it up pretty neatly if you're willing to just go with it--it is the journey that counts, to Columbus, Ohio; San Antonio; Las Vegas; and LA. If you're easily disgusted, you won't make it halfway through. So dare yourself to read it.

The audiobook is very well read by Todd McLaren. ( )
  datrappert | Jan 9, 2021 |
Es mostren 1-5 de 69 (següent | mostra-les totes)
Ellis is a great storyteller, and this little sucker just rips along. I just finished it in 90 minutes on an airplane and it left me hungry for more.
afegit per lampbane | editaBoing Boing, Cory Doctorow (Jul 26, 2007)
 
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To Niki and Lili, for continuing to put up with me,
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Michael McGill is a burned-out private detective who suddenly becomes enlisted by an army of presidential goons to retrieve the Constitution of the United States, but not the one we all know about. This would be the real Constitution (the one with invisible amendments) created by some of the Founding Fathers as a fallback for their great experiment. Along the way, McGill gains a polyamorous sidekick named Trix, gets scared to death by what men do with warm salty water, and descends into a world where crime, sex, and madness all seem to be the same thing. Full of mind-bending style and packed with a wild cast of characters, Crooked Little Vein infuses Robert B. Parker with Kurt Vonnegut and the madness of the graphic novel world. A surprisingly surreal treat, it will appeal to hardcore comic fans, mystery aficionados, and anybody looking for a riotous adventure.

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