Crooked Little Vein: A Novel by Warren Ellis
Reviewed by Kate Klonick
Reading Crooked Little Vein, the first prose novel by renowned graphic novelist Warren Ellis, is like being hit by a truck -- a dark, perverted truck, that, if it's anything like the one described in the book, is full of blind men humping their seeing-eye dogs before being rear-ended by a Miata full of Latino trannies in clown suits. And in case that's not jarring enough, there are meticulously described scenes of tantric sex between ostriches, saline-inflated genitals, a butt plug embossed with the face of Jesus, and the President's Chief of Staff shooting up with monkey feces. Clearly Ellis isn't straying from what he knows.
And clearly he's written a book that fans of graphic novels will love. As for other readers, we're not really sure. There is a plot, something complicated and not that interesting about a secondary version of the Constitution, so if you're reading for narrative arc you'll be terribly disappointed. Ellis is more concerned with revealing how the underworld is no longer "under" anything, how perversions have become -- and should be -- mainstream. No matter how disconcerting you may find Vein to be, there is one comforting thing to come out of reading it: You'll never be as messed up as these guys.