Friday, August 22, 2008

Crooked Little Vein

I recently read the full-length fiction debut by Warren Ellis. Odd characters parade throughout "Crooked Little Vein," manifesting any number of disgustingly weird fetishes and predilections. The book has us following a washed-up, broken private investigator as he seeks out the secret Constitution of the United States.

The plot isn't the central thing, though. It's really just a path to follow through the twisted freak show in the author's mind. For me, there's the rub. I mean, it's entertaining enough, but as soon as I get the impression that someone is trying to shock me, it becomes nearly impossible for them to succeed. There are certainly funny bits that don't rely on shock value, trenchant offhand observations on America, and a premise offbeat enough to be interesting, but the main thrust is to overwhelm you with weird. It's bizarre and outrageous, but I was prepared for it to be over-the-top weird, so I couldn't be blown away by it. If you lack that failing, and if you enjoy that kind of thing, it's probably the thing for you.




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