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Warren Ellis – Gun Machine [book review]

The reason why I keep reading Warren Ellis’s books is that I loved Transmetropolitan (his graphic novel(s)). Unfortunately, I don’t feel that his work translates very well to the written word. Sometimes it results in fascinating little swirls of crazy style… and at other times it feels oddly lacking.

Gun Machine is a good example of what I’m talking about: gory, very visual details like someone’s eye popping out of its socket as he gets killed; the murderer seeing the modern world as herds of deer, predatory animals, wolves with glowing eyes – and we’re talking about cars here. It feels definitely different from your usual sort of novel, and sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t.

It’s a mystery novel, the sort with a killer and a lot of unsolved crimes. Detective Tallow is out working a case with his partner which ends up with a lunatic shooting his partner dead. Tallow kills the killer – but ends up blowing a hole in the wall of a nearby apartment, which turns out to be some sort of creepy church-like place dedicated to  guns. He’s supposed to take some time off, but due to somebody wanting to finish him and get him out of the job (why? I’m not sure), he’s back working the case of the crazy gun room, with the expectation that he’ll fail to solve it. And it turns out that each and every gun has been used to murder someone.

He’s left pursuing a crazy case, collaborating with a pair of wacky CSU, with coincidences forwarding his case (one of the people he randomly saves on the street turns out to be related to the guns/murderer), everybody knows things about Native American history, the police radio keeps spouting insane murders at every hour of the day – you’d think 20 to 50 people got killed every day there for all sorts of reasons. If the novel is meant to be realistic instead of fantasy, and I get the feeling it is, some of the details are wildly exaggerated.

An okay murder thriller, readable, with decently fleshed out characters… but at the same time it felt to me like it kept making small messes for the sake of convenience.

(findable on Amazon in Kindle format and as paperback on BookDepository for approximately the same price, with free shipping)

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