I’ve been a fan of Warren Ellis and his comics work for a while now, but for some reason I haven’t taken a look at his prose work….until a friend told me about one of his books the other day, and two words caught my interest. ‘Godzilla Bukkake’. I shit you not.
And so, I seeked out the book, found it, and finished it in two days. Which is kinda fast for me. Anyways….Crooked Little Vein. This debut novel, published in 2007, tells the story of Mike McGill, a private eye hired by the United States government (and a very, very, weird Chief of Staff, to say the least) to recover a ‘secret’ second United States Constitution. This results in Mike undertaking a very strange and very darkly humorous journey across America, accompanied by an equally strange student named Trix, who goes with him in the name of her thesis about sexual fetishes.
This novel is probably what would happen if you locked a hardboiled detective story, several gigabytes’ worth of stuff you find in the darkest, dankest corners of the Internet, and a few grindhouse films for good measure in a room and told them to have a drunken threesome. Their illicit love child would be this novel. Yes, it’s THAT weird.
This novel is certainly not for the faint of heart, ones who find weird fetishes repulsive, and ones easily offended. If you’re none of the above, then you’re in for a treat. Beneath all the weird shit, and I mean WEIRD, this book is an interesting read. If you can see past the tantric ostrich orgies and drinking dead cow’s milk, this is an interesting commentary about what is ‘mainstream’, and how the things that become too ‘mainstream’ eventually gets boring and people keep trying to find new, more extreme things. In this case, of course, are weird sex acts.
Mike and Trix themselves are very likeable, and very interesting, despite (or maybe because of) their quirks. Mike is a self-proclaimed shit magnet, drawing all kinds of unfortunate and strange events to him (and HOW!), while Trix is very sexually adventurous and is very….open to whatever it is they’re trying to do at the moment. These two create an interesting dynamic that fuels the story between the weirdness happening every other chapter, and their banter is a high point, as expected from an Ellis work.
If you’re remotely interested in Transmetropolitan, Planetary, Supergod, or any of the other weird work Ellis has written in the past, this book is well worth checking out. It’s weird as shit (sometimes literally), but the colorful cast of main characters and support characters manages to keep it somewhat grounded and for it to not become just a series of descriptions about the strangest sex acts you’ll find this side of the dark corners of the Internet.
Just try not to emulate what they do in the book. Or do. Do whatever you like.