Monday, June 1, 2009

"Crooked Little Vein" by Warren Ellis

"Burned-out private dick Michael McGill needs to jump-start his career. What he gets instead is a cattle prod to the crotch. The president's heroin-addicted chief of staff wants McGill to find the Constitution—the real one the Founding Fathers secretly devised for the time of gravest crisis. And with God, civility, and Mom's homemade apple pie already dead or dying, that time is now. But McGill has a talent for stumbling into every imaginable depravity—and this case is driving him even deeper into America's darkest, dankest underbelly, toward obscenities that boggle even his mind."

Well, this certainly is one weird story. The main plot is McGill trying to locate and obtain this alternate Constitution, the one that when read aloud to people makes them do, well, pretty much whatever you want them to do. The chief of staff states that the president wants it located so that they can start holding town-hall-type meetings, read the book, and get people to go back to the way things were, the "good old days". The sexually repressed days is more like it. Never mind that the COS is a raging heroin fiend, never mind the scary way he shows up everywhere that McGill goes, and never mind that it might not be in everyone's best interest to go back to the days of the working Dad and stay-at-home Mom with the two kids, dog, and white picket fence. McGill is offered a lot of money for this mission, and he's really not in a position to say no.

He's not alone on this weird quest, either. He meets Trix, a rather flamboyant poly amorous researcher (where he meets her is one of the books weirder scenes); the two hit it off and he "hires" her to be his assistant. She tells him he needs her because he's probably the most un-hip person she's met in the last decade. True - McGill isn't known for his wild and swinging ways. And he's going to need someone like Trix to navigate the crazy trail of the book, ranging from Godzilla-obsessed dorks to a wild Texan to....well... let's just say there were things in this book that I sort of wish I didn't know about.

But when all's said and done, is this a good book? Um, yeah, I guess I'd say it is. While it is definitely out there and on the uber-weird side, I thought Ellis's writing was good. Good characterization, tightly written plot (even if it is on the out-there side!), and a nice resolution to the story. This is his first "regular" novel; he's the author of several graphic novels. I would gladly pick up another book of his, but this time, I'll know to put my mental seat belt on before I open the cover. It's definitely a wild ride!

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