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Crooked Little Vein (2007)

Crooked Little Vein (2007)

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3.82 of 5 Votes: 2
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0060723939 (ISBN13: 9780060723934)
william morrow & company

About book Crooked Little Vein (2007)

A REVIEW IN THE FORM OF A LIST OF BRITISHISMS IN WARREN ELLIS'S CROOKED LITTLE VEIN:Page 3: "Called" instead of "named." [This, page 3, is when I thought to myself, "Oh maybe the author is British" and did a quick google to confirm. "Silly Warren Ellis," I thought, "Here in America we say people are NAMED Bob, not CALLED Bob." Little did I know what I was in for.]Page 7: "Drink problem" instead of "drinking problem."Page 21: "At Thanksgiving" instead of "on Thanksgiving."Page 26: "Neckbits." [Ah here begins the deluge of "bits." AMERICANS DON'T SAY "BIT." We say "a little bit" and "For my next bit, I need a volunteer!" In most other contexts, we say "part." A hardened private eye from Chicago DOES NOT TALK ABOUT HIS "BITS." Note: I know "neckbits" is a made-up word, but it's a British-y made up word.]Page 26: “Porno.” [This could be argued as an outdated American word rather than a Britishism, but from my extensive viewings of British television, I know that modern Brits do in fact still say the word “porno” in serious contexts, while here in America we have been exclusively saying "porn" without the "o" since like 1983.]Page 33: “Some poor mad bastard.” [Hey Warren Ellis, quick tip for writing an American character: unless we are specifically referencing the Mad Hatter or a mad scientist, the word “mad” means “angry” and not “crazy.” If we ever say “I’ve gone mad!” We do it dramatically, in a funny accent, sort of like how you wrote this book.]Page 39: “Barman” instead of “bartender”Page 40: Something floating “about" someone's head instead of “around.” [I feel like I knew Brits say “about” when we say “around” when I was 12, but hey I’m not an editor of best-selling novels so what do I know?]Page 52: “What do they do with the black guys, burn ‘em in piles round back?” [This cutesy very-British phrase of “round back” was uttered by a black male NYC cab driver.]Page 54: “Mounted the plane.” [I couldn’t find confirmation that this was a Britishism on google, but here in America I have never done anything other than board a plane.]Page 55: “Bear that one in mind.” [Don’t try to argue. We’d say “keep.”]Page 70: “Hang a sign around my neck reading I Am a Boring Asshole.” [he got the “a” in “around” and forgot we would never say a sign “reads” something; signs “say” things.]Page 72: “Spin round and round.” [Wow people in Ohio sure are weird.]Page 77: “Leave the house with her bits out.” [Again, an American would never, EVER say this.]Page 78: “Pants fastening.” [What’s a pants fastening?]Page 87: “Bits” againPage 93: “Bob had acquired a bit of Texas in his accent.” [Bob doesn’t have an accent, he’s American, like you, Mike. If he is putting on a Texas accent, say that.]Page 101: “Mad old rich guy.” [see above]Page 126: “Haven’t taken heroin” [Here in America, we “do” heroin.]Page 127: “I’ve not been in the best mood.” [Try to say that NOT in a British accent.]Page 140: Another “about” instead of “around.”Page 161: “America’s Terror: The Mad Virgin.” [Was he angry because he couldn’t get laid?]Page 171: “Car hire” instead of “rental car.”Page 179: A “common-or garden” pimp instead of maybe “garden variety”? [Had to look that one up to even see what it meant.]Page 183: “I trod on her foot.” [Why, because it was suddenly stepping on English soil?]Page 184: “Messroom” instead of “cafeteria.”Page 195 (and others): “Underpants.” [I tried to let this one slide because we do say it, but come on, Mike McGill would say “underwear” AND EVERYONE BUT YOU KNOWS IT.]Page 195: “Shockey.” [Another made-up but British-y word]Page 197: “Todger.” [Disclaimer: this item as well as the next two were said by a man of unidentified origin on a plane to L.A. Maybe the guy was British which is why he said British-sounding things. Although that wouldn’t explain why he talks just like our American hero, Mike McGill.]Page 201: “Mummy” instead of “Mommy.”Page 201: “Cricket box.” [Apparently this is the cup that goes in your jock strap, I wouldn’t know, because WHY WOULD I KNOW ANYTHING ABOUT CRICKET???!!]Page 202: “Had a go.” [Feeling less forgiving at this point. Britishism.]Page 202: “Plastic drinks tumbler.” [A what? May I suggest the phrase, “plastic cup”? No? Okay.]Page 204: “Short-stay parking” instead of “Short term parking.” [Send help, I’ve been looking for the “short stay” lot at LAX for two weeks now… need water… ]Page 221: “hideous.” [Sick of letting this slide. Americans don’t use the word “hideous” as an adjective all that often. If we do, it usually means “ugly” and not “disgusting.” After 200 pages, this was the last, hideous straw.]Pages 228-229, 231: Bit, bit, bits bit bit bit bit.Page 229: “At Vegas” instead of “in Vegas.”Page: 249: “Car park” instead of “parking lot.” [But oh, it gets better!]Page 251: “Have sex on kids.” [Could not confirm that British people have sex “on” other British people, or if this was supposed to be funny or was just a typo. Sort of a serious scene so I’m gonna err on the side of Britishism.]Page 256 (and others): “Underground carport.” [So, obviously he screwed up saying “car park” earlier and thought, “Oh what do they say in America though? Carport? Like, an airport for cars! Sounds good!” I googled it and it looks like carport means the same thing in old England as it does here: a shelter for a car consisting of a roof supported on posts, built beside a house. When in doubt, go with the word that’s wrong on both sides of the pond!]Page 264: “Kitchen paper” instead of “paper towels.” [I keep learning new things!]Page 266: “Five minutes’ time.” [I almost skipped this, but then I thought, have I ever in my life said “Five minutes’ time” when I mean “five minutes”? No.]So yeah. Reading this book was like watching a movie with an entertaining (if heavy-handed and somewhat tryhard) plot, good pacing, a few funny moments, and oh yeah, every single actor is from different parts of the UK and putting on laughably terrible American accents the whole time, which is ironic, because the whole movie is about how American America is. “THAHTS WHAT YEW GET WHEN YA CAM TO SUCH A CANTRY AS AMERICAHH, WEIRD SEX BITS MATE!”

Faint-hearts and the offendable might just want to sit this one out…the book, mind you, not this review. Acclaimed comics writer Warren Ellis cranks up the “ick” factor to about 11 and delivers a hysterical noir, mystery travelogue through the oddest, most depraved nooks and crannies of the American psyche. It is dark, twisted and no-holds barred...and it is also very, VERY funny. To give you a sample of the agenda items Ellis uses in his carnival of oddballities, you will will find: **A group of Godzilla bukakke fetishists (yep, you read that correctly); **A cohort of Bodybuilders who inject large quantities of warm saline in their berries; …yeah, it’s kinda like that. It's also kinda like....AHHHHHHHH. **A tantric Ostrich orgy;**A massively depraved uber richdude who orally milks dead cows...(go on...take a minute and let that sink in);**An image-sensitive serial killer who murders conservatively dressed woman (a nice twist there)...this guy is a hoot; **A steakhouse dinner scene that is positively stomach-churning...yes, even more so than the above. …and ALL connected to a secret version of the U.S. Constitution that can magically rewind the clock and turn America back into a land of powdered wigs, puritan values and mind-numbing normalcy. Verdict: I...loved...this. Of course, you should know that I had the ability to be offended by things I read surgically removed some time ago (it was actually during the 2000 Presidential Campaign). Even so, this bizarre, messed up journey through the “what’s-the-most-shocking-content-you-can-find-on-the-internet-made-real” version of America still made me cringe, wince and protectively grab my goodies more than once…I’m telling you that the needle full of saline to the testes scene will be a tough one for guys to get through. It’s hysterical…but tough. Our guide for this adventure is PI Mike McGill who is a self-described “shit magnet.” This means that wherever Mike goes he seems to have a preternatural knack for finding himself in “Ewww-laden" WTF situations. As Mike describes it to Trix (Ellis’ mouthpiece in the story): There are eight bars around this block. I naturally find the one where the barman accessorizes with human headskin. I follow up one lead on this case and I find fifty people furiously masturbating over recut Japanese monster movies. Mike gets retained by the oh so creepy, heroin-loving white house chief of staff to locate and return “the other Constitution of the United States.” It is a small, handwritten volume reputedly bound in the skin of the extraterrestrial entity that plagued Benjamin Franklin’s ass over six nights in Paris during his European travels…On the seventh night he got right up and killed the little bastard with one punch…The book binding is weighted with meteor fragments. The design is such that the sound of the book being opened onto a table has infrasonic content too low for human hearing…Do you understand, son?...It’s a book that forces you to read it…. To locate and return this magical book which has the ability to reset the clock on American sensibilities to the time of the founding fathers, Mike gets paid a fortune. However, his only clue is the fact that Nixon gave the book away to a hooker 40 years ago for some special attentions. (I thought a "tricky" Dick comment here was too easy so I skipped it...however feel free to think of one now).Mike, together with his sexually adventuress gal pal named Trix, follow the trail of slimy breadcrumbs left behind by the book and embark on an outing that is among the most unique I’ve encountered. During the course of their investigation, they will visit all the places you hear about from friends following the phrase, “You aren’t going to believe this…”. You may eww a few time, but I think you will laugh for more. As fun and twisted as this ride is, I didn’t see Ellis writing solely for shock value. I think there was calculation in what he did and that he had a point…at least I think he did. I think Ellis was using an extreme depiction of activities 99.999999999% of people would find repulsive to create a venue for discussing the distinction between what is mainstream and what is perversion. I think Ellis is challenging the notion that our “leaders” should have the right to make those determinations for us (rather than making those decisions ourselves within the context of our own lives). Is the accepting and tolerating of the non-violent, non-exploitive expressions of personal kink and twisted fetishes a necessary price we all must pay to insure that the society we live in is truly inclusive and embracing to all people? Discuss. Maybe I’m just over-thinking it, but it seemed that Ellis had something to say that was pretty important. However, whatever, Ellis’ message was, I had an absolute blast reading this and thought his style, his characters, his dialogue and his set pieces were funny, creative and highly entertaining…when I wasn’t cringing with my eyes closed. 4.0 stars. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED (but only for the more adventuress reader).

Do You like book Crooked Little Vein (2007)?

In the words of Becky from Clerks 2, "I'm disgusted and repulsed and...and I can't look away."Private Investigator Mike McGill has some of the worst luck imaginable. Every case he gets leads to him discovering something new about America's fucked up underbelly. When the Chief of Staff comes into his office and offers him half a million dollars to use his "shit magnetism" to track down the lost book of the Constitution in an attempt to reform the morals of America, Mike reluctantly agrees. With the help of a sexually adventurous woman named Trix, they go on a crazy road trip through the dark side of America.The Chief of Staff stays in hotels, shoots up on heroin, shits on the bed and then yells at passersby while watching fashion shows. This is the tame compared to some of the stuff that Mike and Trix encounter.What really struck me about this book is the fact that every fetish in this book is real. It's all stuff that Warren Ellis has found while surfing the net. It makes it that much more disturbing just thinking that somewhere, someone is jerking off to a Godzilla movie or shooting saline solution into their testicles. While the message that really fucked up kinky sex is the mainstream now thanks to the internet is a relevant one, Ellis hits you over the head with it a bit too much. There are a lot of monologues that just basically reiterate that same point. I don't need that to get the message. I got it reading the book. I get it talking with my friends. Hell, I can do a little exploring on my laptop right now and find a lot of content to rival what goes on in this book.In the end though, this is a really fun book that I was disgusted by, yet I couldn't put it down. Not for the easily offended, and you'll probably hate yourself for enjoying it as much as you did, but still a really fun read.

I'm still not sure why I read this. Probably because I really enjoy a lot of the comics he's behind: Hellblazer is one of my favorite series, Planetary and The Authority were well-done, and Global Frequency was great if disappointingly short-lived. There's a lot I don't like about his comic book work, too: it's over-the-top, immature, kind of misogynist and pretty egoistical. As it turned out, I disliked Crooked Little Vein for the same reasons. Purple prose, one-dimensional characters masquerading as deep, and a plot sequence better set to pictures. The numerous gross-out sequences got kind of old too, again, much like in some of his comics. I mean, by the fifth foul, fucked-up image I was kind of bored: overusing disturbing imagery quickly nullifies its impact. I think my roommate's boyfriend left if lying around.

Boy, where do I start with this one? First off, let me warn those who find certain fetishes, or sexual behaviors, to be weird or disturbing, that this novel may bother you greatly. However, it also may change how you view "weird" sexuality. It's not that this book is only about sex. It's not. It's just mostly about sex. What people find pleasurable in a sexual context varies wildly here. We see everything from Godzilla porn, to saline injections into the testicles and labia, to STD Russian roulette, to latex injections into the ass of a tranny hooker. Does this book attempt to bring into light some of the stranger sexual activities that go on under the surface of our society? Not at all. In fact, this book believes these things stand boldly in the light all ready. If one were to try and nail down the main thematic thrust of this novel, it would be the nature of what we call "mainstream" in our culture. Our main character is Mike. Mike's the kind of guy life shits all over, so he tends to stay away from life whenever possible. Part of Mike's problem is all the weird stuff he encounters in his job. Mike eventually meets Trix who tries to change his perspective on his life. Most people would call Trix a weird chick. While Trix is a student of the "weird", she doesn't see it that way. In Trix's mind, that which is easily accessible by your average person, is as much a part of the mainstream as anything else. Here's an example. Anal sex was once a very taboo subject and it was nearly impossible for someone to find any film or photos depicting the act. Well, nowadays, it seems everyone has anal sex (slight exaggeration) and anyone can bring up photos or videos of this act in seconds on the internet, or go out to the store and buy a magazine or video. As odd as it sounds, anal sex is mainstream. It is through this criteria that Trix posits things like Godzilla porn and saline injections into ones testicles, which one can find info on in a few seconds online, is also now mainstream because of this fact. Personally, I'd never heard of the whole saline-in-the-nuts practice before. When I mentioned it to a coworker one day, he knew all about it. We're talking about a very straight shooter here too. He just happened to accumulate knowledge of this practice somewhere along the line, be it on TV, a book, or the internet. Frankly, whether you agree or disagree with this definition of mainstream is moot. The point here is to simply get you thinking about your perspectives. Personally, after talking to my coworker, I'm inclined to go along with the point. Now, I don;t want to give you the impression this is all there is to this book. This is still a highly amusing hard boiled crime/detective novel in the vein of Mickey Spillane and Raymond Chandler. The thing that surprised me the most about this book (yes, even more than testicles the size of large melons) was how invested I became in the characters. You really care about this people, and Mike and Trix make a great team. I hope to see them again in future novels. For a first effort, Warren Ellis has really hit it out of the park.
—Noah Soudrette

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