July 6th, 2009

there!, Hello

What a Crooken Little Vein you've traveled.

41) Crooked Little Vein by Warren Ellis (William Morrow, 2007, 280 pages)
This novel, set along the bleeding edge of depravity, follows self proclaimed "shit-magnet" Mike McGill's lackluster private detecting as he pursues a quasi-mystic, long lost document. This work, penned by America's Founding Fathers as a fall back supplement to the Constitution, may well have the power to restore morality to a fallen America, and certain parties want it at any cost. McGill's search takes him from New York City, NY to Columbus, OH to San Antonio, TX (!?!) to Las Vegas, NV to Los Angeles, CA in a whirlwind tour of the "underbelly" of America. Alas, this is not even remotely close to the actual America that I have visited, but its mythical "underbelly". Along the way, Mike makes the acquaintance of a Filthy Assistant, I mean Nurse, I mean oversexed, beautiful young woman (who wants to show him what he's been missing all these years of straight lacedness), and a ton of secondary characters who embody, perform or are victimized by (often unsavory, certainly unhealthy) pastimes and addictions. From Godzilla Bukkake to saline injections into genetalia to bestiality, this book hits about every fetish (and a couple I had not even thought about) with whimsy and puckish charm. Recalls William S. Burroughs' more lucid delvings into the surreal. At its best when actually showing its lovably depraved characters doing things, as opposed to info-dump catalogs of "shocking" material or its repetitious attempts to dismantle the distinctions between mainstream and counterculture. While neither groundbreaking nor particularly memorable, Crooked Little Vein is still a not bad entertainment (though several chapters certainly read as rushed; this is unsurprising, as the author's legend/reputation has him dwelling ever in the midst of Not Enough Time for Too Many Projects) from prolific comics/films/video games scribe Ellis.