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Digging The Vein

4.08 of 5 stars 4.08  ·  rating details  ·  141 ratings  ·  19 reviews
Based on his own experiences as an addict and sidesman to diverse music acts, Tony O'Neill's 'Digging the Vein' explores LA's drug sub-culture - a slice of life that few tourists will ever get to see.
Paperback, 196 pages
Published December 1st 2006 by Wrecking Ball (first published February 8th 2006)
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Ryan Leone
Tony O'Neill is quickly becoming one of my favorite living writers. I've been on a massive binge of his work recently and actually just read Digging the Vein for the second time.

The L.A. influences are noticeable. This guy has obviously been touched by the work of Charles Bukowski, John Fante, and Dan Fante. This is without being derivative. And that's how you seperate the imitators from the writers that truly have a flair for the written word. Like the aforementioned writers, Tony focuses on t
Erin Beck
I love heroin books. I love hearing about how absolutely wonderful heroin is. As people's life's fall apart they still drone on about how much they love the feeling. It fills me with wonder and a little desire to try it, but I never will.
Patrick O'Neil
Junkies. Yeah, Junkies. One good thing reading about a junkie's life is that it makes whatever the hell you're doing look good. Unless you're a to-the-curb-down-and-out junkie like Tony O'Neill was - or maybe still is, who can tell with they way he left it all hanging. But I'm getting ahead of myself here. O'Neill was a dope fiend, O'Neill fucked his life up, O'Neill went crazy in Hollywood - actually it's the same old story, done a little different. It ain't no recovery story. The guy hates rec ...more
Katelin Toth
When I first started reading Digging the Vein it was like ah, I can breathe. I actually enjoy reading about someone else f'd up junkie career so I can take a break of my own (clean-598 days). I thought I would finish it in one night. It turned into about a month. The breaks were necessary or else I probably would've ended up downtown LA scoring with my fiancé who is also clean ( massive junkie career-about a decade long ) so I took a few healthy breaks of Tony O'Neil's violent stretch of additio ...more
I accidentally got another book by Tony O. after not giving the first piece a very good rating. I'm glad I didn't realize for a bit who I was reading or I wouldn't have finished. He definitely should have stopped after this prequel was written. This book was much better than the sequel I read first. I used to think it was self-serving ego that led folks to keep writing about themselves. Now I think it might just be simple old economics and fellas needing the cash to feed that jones!
It's a difficult one. The writer is such a thoroughly unlikeable guy it makes it hard to sympathise with him. I mean of course you do a bit when he is at his lowest ebb and the nature of addiction is selfish but he just never seems a nice guy at the beginning or end. The way he talks about woman makes me feel ill but again that's mostly when he in the grip of it. By his own admission he finds things more acceptable in this state such as certain language he would never use previously but still yo ...more
Barry Eagar
Dark, angry and well-written. Tony O'Neill simply tells it like it is. This book is definitely worthwhile for those interested in the psychology of addiction. His honesty is refreshing and he makes no excuses. There is tragedy right here amongst us in our comfortable first world. This book lays it bare and reminds people like me that we don't have to look far to find sadness and despair right under our noses.
Max Christie
Addictive reading

Definitely a page turner if you are into books that cover stories of addiction. Negative message about AA/NA WHICH is not a good message for people in recovery. Very rare and dangerous to promote social drinking after drug addiction.
Heroin, drugs, kicking it, and all the shit in between. It's been told a million times and bastardized in films with overused camera angels to show the eyes of dispare. Tony O' Neill has something different; something that makes his book stand on its own rather than just being a drug book. RHYTHM. The book flows in a way you can tap your foot to the sentences and the dialog that's given off to the mentioned Brit pop songs.
Another unblinking look at his heroin addiction, and wanton drug abuse, O'Neill is at his best when navigating the "junky mindset" -- revealing things both shocking and, in turns, surprisingly human about the many stops on the way to the bottom, and the set-backs on the way back up. He writes brisk, approachable prose, and for readers unafraid of the subject matter, a specific brand of illumination awaits.
Probably, maybe, the best book I've read all year. The most gripping anyway--dark and brutal and uncompromising, but pulls you in like only a few books do. It's like reading a lucid dream. As soon as I finished it (in one sitting), I felt like going back and rereading the beginning--that's the kind of magnetic pull O'Neill achieves.
Jul 17, 2008 Ben rated it 3 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Ben by: 3am magazine
Dynamic, visceral and overtly cool without shying away from the mundanity or vulgarity of O'Neill's addiction. Now and again swerves into excessive self-consciousness which does irritate but ultimately I was won over time and time again by his openness and vulnerability. A good read for those who like their literature to arrive wounded.
Brian Heverly
From your first shot of dope and than your last shot. O`neill focuses on everything in between, just read between the lines and put your seat belt on cause the roller coaster you are on is a dark, bumpy and bloody one. READ this book
I would have been dead by page 25 if I was in this man's position.

Honest views... never trust a junkie....
Harvey Rainville
think you've hit rock bottom?? read this little pulp treat and feel read good about yourself again
This book is now available on Ebay. Here is the link.
How did this rancid crap get published? I've read better cereal packets.
RC Edrington
An honest portrayal of a drug addict written by a kindred spirit.
Giovanna marked it as to-read
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Before he wrote the novel DIGGING THE VEIN Tony O'Neill was a professional musician, playing with bands and artists as diverse as Kenickie, Marc Almond, P.J. Proby and The Brian Jonestown Massacre. His autobiographical debut novel, published in 2006, was a thinly veiled account of his years as a musician and heroin addict, and became a cult hit when it was published in the US and Canada in by Cont ...more
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“No more junk talk, no more lies. No more mornings in the hospital getting bad blood drained out of me. No more doctors trying to analyse what makes me a drug addict. No more futile attempts at trying to control my heroin use. No more defending myself when I know I am practically indefensible. No more police using me as practice. No more ODs, no more losses. No more trying to take an intellectual position on my heroin addiction when it takes more than it gives. No more dope-sick mornings, no more slow suicide, no more pain without end.
No more AA. No more NA. No more mind control. No more being a victim, no more looking for reasons in childhood, in God in anything but what exists in HERE. No more admitting I am powerless.
Down the dusty Los Angeles sidewalks, down the urine stained London back alleys … there goes the connection fading into the crowd like a 1960’s Polaroid.
“Whachoo need…?”
“I needed to know that Death was here, in the room, and that I was too fast, too young, and too smart for him.” 2 likes
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