Saturday, August 23, 2008

Crooked Little Vein, by Warren Ellis

Crooked Little Vein: A Novel, by Warren Ellis

This is quite possibly the strangest novel I’ve ever read. The book introduces loser detective Mike McGill who is hired by the President’s chief of staff to find the secret second Constitution of the United States (to be used only in case of emergency) which has been lost for decades. As strange as this sounds, it is only a framing story for a trip through the seedy underbelly of society. We meet a group that uses reptiles as erotica, another that injects saline into their testicles for a thrill, and still another that holds sex parties where a form of Russian Roulette is played with an HIV positive person instead of a bullet. The individuals are just as twisted: a crazy oilman with mounted dolphins, kittens, and seals on the wall instead of the usual deer and bear heads, a burned out paranoid private investigator having a nervous breakdown, and of course, a serial killer. On top of all this, Ellis also gives us a handful of colorful facts, such as “the TV show The Six Million Dollar Man was actually a CIA blind created specifically to cover a possible breach of security over astronauts with extensive bioelectronic modification escaping the system and going public.” I couldn’t put this book down!

The writing style was just as eccentric, with some chapters not even a page long. Chapter 3 was probably my favorite:

An hour later, I walked into some freak bar on Bleecker Street and yelled, “I’m buying a hundred drinks—for me!”
Oh, they beat the shit out of me.
Chapter 6 was even shorter, but not quite as funny:
I wish I still had that photo.
The sardonic humor kept me laughing, the unexpected style kept me surprised, and the plot kept me turning pages. I highly recommend this to anyone looking for something unusual.

First Sentence:
I opened my eyes to see the rat taking a piss in my coffee mug.

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