Saturday, December 27, 2008

Crooked Little Vein

By Warren Ellis

It's often a strange fit when comic writers publish novels. They have, for so long, relied upon an artist to communicate all of the visual information of their story, and so when they move into prose, they sometimes do not provide the visual descriptions needed to fully draw their reader in to what is happening. The solution to this, of course, is for the comic writer to write in a pulp genre - where the choice is to either drown in overly descriptive scenes, or to do away with it almost entirely, and focus solely on plot.

That's basically the approach that Ellis takes. The story is told in a very straight-forward way, leaving Mike McGill, a down on his luck detective of a very familiar breed, to narrate a tale throw simple description and dialogue.

But, since this is Ellis, the plot is damn weird. McGill is hired by the Chief of Staff of the White House to find the alternative Constitution of the United States. What follows is a travelogue of McGill's (and his assistant, the uber-sexual Trix's) descent through the perverse and disturbed underworld of American fetishists and psychopaths that have come into some form of contact with this document.

The book is an enjoyable, quick read. I don't think it's particularly memorable, but it's the holidays, and this is a good alternative to watching some kind of vapid movie.

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