Crooked Little Vein by Warren Ellis

Mike’s Review

Quick-clever is harder to follow than drawn-out pretentiousness clever because if you zone out for a second in quick-clever, you get lost.

Most of the time when I’m reading I zone out. If I didn’t keep a book journal I’d never remember what I read. But I hear what you’re saying. Like, if I lose my place in a Virginia Woolf stream it doesn’t really matter. But in a Junot Diaz or something, you could miss a major plot point buried in jargony dialog, por ejemplo.


I rarely include this, but I realize I should. Here’s the point, the plot if you will: A shitty, never-knew-luck-existed detective (his wife left him to join a cult of ostrich-fuckers) is hired by the U.S. Government to track down a vaguely magical alternate version of the Constitution. He randomly meets an attractive young woman looking for experience for a thesis (which, why she’s able to drop everything and travel across country while writing a thesis is beyond me) and she joins the team. They fuck because she’s polyamorous, so of course. They go a bunch of places, see some crazy shit, claim it’s all perfectly normal because they heard about it on the internet, so it must be mainstream (I’m mainstream! Right here! Now buy my book). The detective gets mad because she fucks someone else, they love each other, they make up. They get the book. As diminishing as I am, the way they get the book/twists involved therein is actually pretty cool. America’s saved from and because of itself. The end.

That was fun. Gonna have to start doing more of that.

Let me say that since I’m not reading much these days, your synopsis is as good as it gets for me, like Cliff Notes for the lazy reader. I will read for fun again someday … when my children move out (j/k I hope it’s before then!).


Filling testicles with a saline solution is ridiculous and I’m afraid to google it to find out if it’s real, but I squeamed. Big time. Might be the needle. I had blood drawn the day before (this is just an excuse to say that I’m healthy as fuck).



Trix should have loved The Freedom hotel. The description dripped with irony opportunity and instead she recoiled until sex (Jesus buttplug, Jesus condom) was brought in. These are the same sort of tacky as the hotel, just with sex. The line of Trix basically being a fuckhole was being tread closely before this and now it’s been crossed. (Here’s what this is really about: I’m so scared someone will say this about one of my characters. And I thought I was doing pretty well avoiding it and then I read this and then I revised my own work and my female protagonist has no motivation and becomes a fuckhole and I suck). Her reason for liking Mike was basically, “you didn’t try to rape me.” Although he was thinking it the whole time.

What does it say about me that I end up hating the women characters in these situations? Is it because they’re ancillary and thereby easier to not empathize with? Or do I hate women? (I hate women)

But also, Mike’s (who is a character in the book and is not me) motivations/character makeup are pretty easily questionable and this isn’t a character-driven book; it’s plot-based. Cram as much crazy shit in as possible. So I guess that means Ellis is off the hook.

I will assume your question’s a rhetorical. The point about plot driven versus character driven is ultimately awesome,  and I should keep this idea in mind more often instead of expecting in books for every character to be uniquely multidimensional in detail.


My description of plot sounds like I’m annoyed, but mostly it’s a pleasurable read.

No, it didn’t really, by this point you should know that we your loyal readers are accustomed to your voice.


I never did figure out if Mike was old or young. I mean, he’s a broken-down detective so he has to be old, right? That’s the trope. But there were indications of his youngness.

When this happens I want to shake the authors and say, “Just fucking give us an age already!  If not explicit, offer the year of birth, or a high school graduation year …” Why leave us hanging about this important, easily tellable detail? Maybe to appeal to everyman … who knows.


I was so excited for the P.S. Insights, Interviews & More tagged onto the end of this, but it was disappointing.

Did it include a book club question list? Haha.


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