Crooked Little Vein

The debut novel from Warren Ellis is a short, nasty piece of work, filled with all manner of depravity and perversion, and us Ellis acolytes wouldn't have it any other way.

Crooked Little Vein is a detective story, a road trip and a guided tour of the dark, twisted underbelly of American society as seen through the eyes of a seemingly perpetually drunk and surly British writer, all rolled into one.

Mike McGill is a private eye in New York City. He is, as he likes to put it, "a shit magnet." Weird, freaky things and people constantly seem to happen to him, such as, at the beginning of this novel, a creeky, crusty old presidential chief of staff who injects heroin and monkey crap into his veins ("I have a cage of genetically modified green monkies that express anti-cancer pharmaceuticals in their feces. Once a day I have to inject dilute monkey turds. But it's better than dying, yes?") hiring Mike to find the second, secret Constitution of the United States. It seems that the Founding Fathers had a backup plan in case America went all manner of fucked, but it's gone missing.

So, armed with $500,000 of your tax dollars and a pretty, young, tattooed sex fiend ...

Trix was twenty-three, lived in the village, and had three girlfriends and two boyfriends ... "Polyamory doesn't mean I'm a slut. It just means that I have a lot of love to give and I want a lot of people in my life."

... Mike quests across the country in search of a 200+ year old book that can "fix" America. Along the way he meets all manner of colorful characters, like the rich, old Texas oil man who, while naked, strangles cows with a garrote given to him by G. Gordon Liddy and then sucks on their udders, and the group of gay men in Ohio who insist on injecting Mike's testicles with enough saline to expand his nutsack to the size of bowling balls before they'll help him.

And don't even get me started on the Godzilla bukkake.

Vein is pure Ellis from the word go. If you're a fan of Transmetropolitan or any of his other works, you'll enjoy it. And if you're not already a fan, well, I'm sure you're already screaming and running in the opposite direction.

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