Sunday, October 28, 2007

Crooked Little Vein

To the best of my knowledge, Crooked Little Vein is the first novel by prolific comic book writer Warren Ellis. Let me see if I can sum up the plot.

A heroin addicted US chief of staff hires a Manhattan private investigator, Mike McGill, to find an alternate US constitution. The book was written by the founding fathers of America and details their true plans for the country. Richard Nixon lost the book in the 50's and since them American society has been getting progressively worse. The trail leads Mike on a cross country chase for the book where he encounters every sort of depravity you shouldn't be able to imagine.

I was constantly laughing out loud during while reading this book. The deviants and underground cults that Mike finds himself getting involved with are disturbingly funny. The message that is coming across is that the underground is now mainstream. Anything you can think of can now be found on-line. It's like the ultimate long tail example.

If you are unable to keep an open mind this book is probably not for you but if you can get passed the descriptions of sexual situations you will really enjoy this noirish detective novel.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

The Book of Fate

The Book of Fate is the latest novel by Brad Meltzer. The first time I was introduced to Meltzer was when my Dad boomed into town and wanted to pick up the new book by that author who's name started with an 'M'. After one trip to the local books store's mystery section and we found The Tenth Justice.

However, it wasn't until years later that I actually read anything by Meltzer when he started his Archer's Quest run on Green Arrow. Which was followed up by his incredible limited series Identity Crisis, a murder mystery set in the super hero community. With that in mind I borrowed Dad's copy of The Book of Fate to read.

From Booklist, Wes Holloway, a hotshot presidential aide, is wounded in an assassination attempt that kills the president's close friend. Eight years later, the dead man reappears, very much alive and apparently stalking the former president. Wes thinks he can figure out what's going on, but to do so he must decipher a two-century-old code and penetrate the secrets of Masonic history.

At least that's what you are led to believe from the dust jacket. But for those of us who are hoping for some DaVinci Code esque mystery will be disappointed. The Masonic history connection is used very sparsely and is not central to the plot.

The story moves along at a plodding pace for about 400 pages until the last third where things rush to a final conclusion. I can't say that this is one of the best books I've ever read but it is entertaining and the way in which it is structured allows you pick it up and put it down easily.

Sunday, October 14, 2007

Supreme: The Story of the Year

Even if you've never read a book by Alan Moore you've probably seen a movie based on this graphic novels like From Hell staring Johnny Depp, V for Vendetta with Hugo Weaving and Natalie Portman and the forgettable League of Extraordinary Gentlemen. That's not to say that the incredibly dense with literary references League of Extraordinary Gentlemen graphic novel wasn't amazing. Regardless, I digress.

In Supreme: The Story of the Year Moore takes over the writing duties of Supreme. A character who was created by Rob Liefeld as a blatant rip off of Superman. However, with the introduction of Moore to this title he was able to throw away all of the past continuity of the series and reboot the title to pay homage to the Silver Age Superman.

In this revision of the comic the character Supreme is aware that he is being revised, in an early story he even visits a reality where all of the former versions of Supreme live. He also comments on how his memory is full of holes which is due to the fact that his back story is not written yet. Moore uses this quest where Supreme is determined to fill in his memory as an opportunity to add to the Supreme mythos while advancing the plot of the series. This concept of a meta narrative is continued throughout the entire book.

If you enjoy a book in which the characters are constantly breaking the fourth wall or if you are just a fan of the silver age of comics, Supreme: The Story of the Year is the book for you.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

The Sharing Knife: Legacy

Multiple award winning author Lois McMaster Bujold returns with the second installment of her latest fantasy series The Sharing Knife: Legacy.

The story picks up immediately after the events of The Sharing Knife: Beguilement as we join our heroic couple Dag Redwing and Fawn Bluefield a scant few hours after they are married. They now have to travel back to Dag's home to explain their forbidden marriage to Dag's kin.

While I did think that the characterization, which is a strength of all of McMaster Bujold's work, was great I still was a bit disappointed with this book. The main plot thread running through the entire novel was whether or not folk could learn to accept Dag and Fawn's marriage. I guess that doesn't really speak to me as it seems like such a foreign concept that it did not hold much drama for me at all.

It was a good read but it won't be going to the top of my stack anytime soon. For some great fantasy work by her check out the Chalion series.

Thursday, October 4, 2007


Brasyl is the latest novel by Irish author Ian McDonald. It is not really of sequel of River of Gods but it does continue on in the same vein as he speculates on the future of a country's culture when faced with the daunting challenges of the Information Age.

However, unlike River of Gods which only takes place in a futuristic India, the narrative in Brasyl takes place in the 2032, 2006 and 1732.

While individually I enjoyed each of the individual stories I kept expecting them to tie together more tightly. When they eventually do it feels forced and it seems to be setting up for a sequel rather than concluding the story.

I can't say I recommend this book at this time. Perhaps if a sequel is introduced it will all make more sense. For an Ian McDonald book I do recommend please check out the previously mentioned River of Gods.