by Warren Ellis
Pub: Mulholland Books
I’m going to cheat a bit with this review. The best way to get some sense of this book is to watch the trailers I’ve embedded below. I could tell you it reads something like if David Cronenberg (in the horror/History Of Violence days) made an episode of CSI. I could liken it to a less drug infused Hunter S. Thomson. Warren Ellis’ writing always puts me in mind of a text analogue of a Hieronymus Bosch painting, as he conjures an image of hell that’s by turns fascinating, disturbing, and most importantly a bit too close to home. But these comparisons would only get you so far.
I’m going to put you into the capable hands of Wil Wheaton, Ben Templesmith and Jim Batt to get a better flavour of things.
Has that piqued your interest?
I suppose you need to know a it more of the story. I’m going to leave the lead up to that scene alone, and instead tell you what comes after. All those weapons can be traced to an unsolved murder; hundreds of guns, each with its own dead body. And it’s Tallow that’s going to take the fall for finding them, because no one in the police department wants to deal with the politics and PR of all that unnoticed death.
And it’s not just his colleagues and superiors Tallow needs to be wary of, but the owner of the morbid treasure trove, out to reclaim his trophies, and make some fresh corpses on the way.
Tallow isn’t alone in his insane journey down shit creek though. Two CSU’s come along for the ride, with their own brand of madness. Scarly and Bat, really help the book along, with the interplay and dialogue between the three being key to elevating the book.
Set in a future that feels a mere handful of tomorrows away, there are tiny nods to technology that could be just around the corner, without pushing the book anywhere close to science fiction.
Gun Machine is as much a story of Manhattan as it is a tale of crime, and there are references and mentions that’ll have you reaching for google to track them down.
Warren Ellis’ second fiction book, this feels more grounded than the ambient weird of Crooked Little Vein, and there’s still the feeling of a comic book writer under the surface in the descriptions, and that’s no bad thing.
I’m going to leave you with my recommendation that you give the book a go, and with the second trailer, which is a very different beast from the first, and that’ll make more sense as you read the book.