Written by: Warren Ellis
Gun Machine is the latest novel by comics mastermind Warren Ellis, his second following the incredible Crooked Little Vein. It’s also a twisted take on the noir genre with a smart but worn down NYC detective taking on a lot of cases after he discovers a Pearl Street apartment completely covered in guns arranged in various patterns. He’s got to figure out who this mysterious killer who has been operating undetected for a very, very long time is and also possibly get his life together.
Gun Machine kicks off fast and never let’s you go. It sucks you in and makes you live inside the character’s bones. Besides the main character of Detective John Tallow, you’ve got his partners for this endeavor, a pair of crime scene investigators who are probably a little more real (and very different from) the ones you’d find on TV. Speaking of filmed entertainment, Gun Machine feels like a cinematic experience in it’s original story and well developed and interesting characters.
Ellis’ work and Gun Machine is filled with beautifully written ugliness, the sort of gory details of life that is clearly from a honed eye. When you throw in the awesome fucked-up plot, you get a pretty magical novel. And while at first Tallow might seem like a fuck up himself, you quickly discover there’s a real sleuth lying beneath who is remarkably well prepared for the massive task that lies ahead.
Gun Machine is an example of some of the finest writing out there today. This is the type of book you devour in one sitting, just constantly flipping to the next page to find out what happens next and how everything plays out. It would be easy to set up a story like this, someone finding an apartment full of guns, but Ellis really executes the idea going further with the idea than an interesting plot to get readers in. He follows the story through interesting twists and turns all the way to the end.
I cannot suggest this book enough for anyone who likes the detective or noir genres, or finding beauty in ugliness. Its a tremendous book that you’ll probably fall deeply in love with. Pick it up immediately.