Rob's Reviews > Crooked Little Vein

Crooked Little Vein by Warren Ellis
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's review
Jan 31, 2008

really liked it
bookshelves: 2007
Recommended for: weird-but-not-THAT-weird folk
Read in October, 2007

With one of the best opening passages (well, one of the best opening chapters) I have read in years, Crooked Little Vein thrusts you headlong into its bizarre narrative immediately. Like a warning. "If you can't take the thought of a rat pissing in a cup then GET OUT NOW!!"

A quick-moving, surreal piece of art-imitates-life-fetishizes-art recursivity (yes: I am making up that word right now), Warren Ellis hands over a great dissection of of how culture's little fringes have all bent backward to tickle us all on the nose. Every scene seems to attempt to out-weird the previous one only to have some apparently off-stage voice remind us that nothing is obscure anymore; teh internets bring it all into your lap, no matter how impossible you think that fetish or kink might be.

At its core, Crooked Little Vein is a weird wild goose chase detective story that is at once quite modern and instantly recognizable as drawing on the pulp tradition. That said, our hard-boiled protagonist Mike McGill is more comical than severe -- and though apparently tolerant, you have to wonder if his shit-magnet tendencies have simply helped him build up an immunity.

In any case: this one had me laughing out loud repeatedly and frequently. Secret rat knowledge, indeed.

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UPDATE: it took me about 24 hours but I think I finally get the complete irony of the "Ben Franklin wrote the second, SECRET, possibly evil Constitution" part of the story.

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Comments (showing 1-2 of 2) (2 new)

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message 1: by Melody (last edited Aug 25, 2016 01:19PM) (new) - rated it 3 stars

Melody I looked it up on Amazon and read the opening passages - then had to read it again to my husband. We both decided we HAD to read it. Look forward to your review.

message 2: by Rob (last edited Aug 25, 2016 01:19PM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Rob @Melody: indeed! this is one that moves quick; I'm about 1/2 done already ... so I don't think you'll have long to wait before my review is posted! ;-)

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