Crooked Little Vein

~by Warren Ellis

Wow. Okay. So, Warren Ellis is perhaps most well known for his comic series Transmetropolitan although he is the brilliant author of many other series and graphic novels besides. Having read a few Transmetropolitan collections, I can understand why he is so well loved and perhaps, in some circles, even considered a genius of the art-form. Crooked Little Vein is his debut "traditional" novel.

Michael McGill is a down-on-his luck private investigator. His luck, or lack there of, is exactly why he is being offered his most lucrative case ever: in exchange for finding a missing book, half a million dollars have been transferred to his bank account by a rather corrupt government official. It's not just any book however, it's the other constitution of the United States, complete with invisible amendments. A secret document written by the founding fathers to control the masses, it was "lost" by Richard Nixon in exchange for some, ahem, favors.

Apparently, the book has a history of being traded for what most would consider deviant sexual behaviors. And Mike's in luck (or not), he has plenty of leads as to the book's current location. In order to find it, he will have to wind his way across the states, visiting the sexual under-belly of the nation. Fortunately, early on in his search he meets Trix, a young bisexual woman who is investigating various forms of sexual deviance for her thesis. She keeps him more or less sane for most of the trip, despite their many differences (Mike is a bit squeamish when it comes to weird sex, for one).

Humorous, over-the-top and at times disturbing, Crooked Little Vein was an extraordinarily fast read, which considering its length probably isn't that surprising. I'm fairly certain I enjoyed it. I think. Well, at least the beginning. By the end, I didn't really care much anymore. The story started out strong but kinda fizzled out by the end. Although, I will say, I'm absolutely in love with Trix.