Synopses & Reviews
Burned-out private detective and self-styled shit magnet Michael McGill needed a wake-up call to jump-start his dead career. What he got was a virtual cattle prod to the crotch, in the form of an impossible assignment delivered directly from the president's heroin-addict chief of staff. It seems the Constitution of the United States has some skeletons in its closet: the Founding Fathers doubted that the document would be able to stave off human nature indefinitely, so they devised a backup Constitution to deploy at the first sign of crisis. In the government's eyes, that time is now, as America is overgrown with perverts who spend more time surfing the Web for fetish porn than they do reading a newspaper. They want to use this "Secret Constitution" to drive the country back to a time when civility, God, and mom's homemade apple pie were all that mattered.
The only problem is, no one can seem to find it...
So who better to track it down than a private dick who's so down-and-out that he's coming up the other side, a shamus whose only skill is stumbling into every depraved situation imaginable?
With no lead to speak of, and no knowledge of the underground world in which the Constitution has traveled, McGill embarks on a cross-country odyssey of America's darkest, dankest underbelly. Along the way, his white-bread sensibilities are treated to a smorgasbord of depravity that runs the gamut of human imagination. The filth mounts; it is clear that this isn't the kind of life, liberty, or happiness that Thomas Jefferson thought Americans would enjoy in the twenty-first century.
But what McGill learns as he closes in on the real Constitution is that freedom takes many forms, the most important of which may be the fight against the "good old days." Like Vonnegut, Orwell, and Huxley before him, Warren Ellis deftly exposes the hypocrisy of the "moral majority" by giving us a glimpse at the monstrous outcome that their overzealous policies would achieve.
"At the start of this dark, demented fiction debut from Ellis, the creator of DC Comics' Transmetropolitan and The Authority, the U.S. president's heroin-addicted chief of staff hires 25-year-old Lower East Side PI Mike McGill to find the 'other' Constitution. This is 'a secret document privately authored by several of the Founders' detailing 'the real intent of their design for American society,' which a debauched vice-president Nixon 'lost' in the '50s. With 'half a mill' in black ops money, Mike hires cute tattooed Trix Holmes to be his guide to America's deviant underworld, whence the 50-year-old cold trail begins. In their search for the missing document, 'reputedly bound in the skin of the extraterrestrial entity that plagued Benjamin Franklin's ass over six nights in Paris,' the pair make some wild pit stops in Columbus, Ohio; San Antonio, Tex.; Vegas; and, finally, L.A. The home of the free and the land of the brave has rarely looked so creepy in this snappily paced homage to William Burroughs's Naked Lunch." Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
"Funny, inventive and blithely appalling, this book is Dante on paint fumes." Joss Whedon, creator, writer and director of the Buffy the Vampire Slayer series
"Crooked Little Vein is surprisingly funny (with shades of Lamb author Christopher Moore) and crammed with more dodgy material than a package of nonkosher franks. But at heart, it's simply a hard-boiled detective novel, in which Ellis nails every trope in the canon. (Grade: B)" Entertainment Weekly
"Comics scribe Ellis has cartoonish fun with his debut novel....Readers who appreciate the two nipple jokes in the first chapter can settle in and enjoy the ride." Booklist
"It's a high-energy joyride through a collection of lecherous situations best left undescribed here and likely to appeal primarily to adolescent males." Library Journal
"Trust me, the book is not for the faint of heart...it's vulgar, nauseating, perverted, and the most damn fun I've had in a long, long time....A lot of people will find it offensive and loathe its very existence....Me, I loved every second of it and couldn't get enough." Fantasy Book Critic
"While Crooked Little Vein never ceases to entertain, it takes few chances....Still, Ellis is a formidable talent whose wit and insight fit perfectly into the crime genre. Perhaps next time he'll go as deep as his gifts can take him." Los Angeles Times
"It is a very funny novel, and the dialogue often shines, but Good God, it got old fast....It's about as edgy as a Carlos Mencia stand-up special with Nickelback playing in the background. It always feels like Ellis just read about the stuff he writes about, but never participated in." Cameron Hughes, CHUD
"No matter how outlandish McGill's adventures through seedy Manhattan get, Ellis's ferocious, idiosyncratic brand of satire teases out the glimmers of truth lurking deep within genre conventions and the American psyche. For those reasons, Crooked Little Vein might be the saving grace of contemporary crime fiction even as it rejects such an idea outright." Sarah Weinman, Confessions of an Idiosyncratic Mind
"Reading Crooked Little Vein
...is like being hit by a truck a dark, perverted truck, that, if it's anything like the one described in the book, is full of blind men humping their seeing-eye dogs before being rear-ended by a Miata full of Latino trannies in clown suits....No matter how disconcerting you may find Vein
to be, there is one comforting thing to come out of reading it: You'll never be as messed up as these guys." Kate Klonick, Esquire
(read the entire Esquire review
A burned-out private detective is enlisted by an army of presidential goons to retrieve the U.S. Constitution...the real one. Following in the steps of Neil Gaiman, Crooked Little Vein is packed with action, adventure, and a wild cast of characters that are sure to appease not only hardcore comic fans, but a whole new slew of mystery readers waiting for a surprisingly surreal treat that infuses the madness of the graphic novel world.
Packed with mind-bending style and a wild cast of characters, this surprisingly surreal treat from a bestselling comic book writer infuses Robert B. Parker with Kurt Vonnegut and the madness of the graphic novel world.
About the Author
Warren Ellis is one of the most prolific, read, and admired graphic novelists in the world and the creator of such popular series as Transmetropolitan and The Authority. He has won many awards and been nominated for many more. Ellis has also written over fifty graphic novels, television and video game scripts, and a constant outpouring of text messages from the pub. He lives in southern England with his partner, Niki, and their daughter, Lilith. He never sleeps.