Warren Ellis’ first novel is full of subject matter that should be familiar to you if you visit his blog regularly. Started, he insists, as something of a joke to appease his agent he had to finish it when she managed to sell it almost immediately.
Mike McGill is a private investigator fallen on hard times and with a knack for getting the most screwed up cases. When his new client describes him as a “shit magnet” he can’t even argue with them. That client is the President’s chief of staff and he wants McGill to track down the alternative Constitution of the United States, a book that will help reboot the country’s morals to those of a simpler, more repressed age.
With a half million dollar expense account and a polyamorous assistant along for the adventure McGill sets off for a trawl through America’s underbelly, where the Constitution has become a form of pervert currency. Along the way he has to deal with testicular saline injectors, cattle mutilators, porn barons and serial killers and then decide whether he should even hand the book over if he finds it.
Crooked Little Vein is a short book, Ellis’ prose is sharp and trimmed down, but it’s packed with dark humour with some hilarious one liners and set pieces. I read it in a few hours whilst waiting to do some extra (sorry, Supporting Artiste) work on Friday and was lost to the world for a few hours.