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.
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.