Warren Ellis freely admits that Crooked Little Vein is designed to offend its readers. He submitted the first ten thousand words to his agent in the hope that she’d take the hint and leave him alone. Instead she sold the book and asked for the rest of the manuscript. The result is an oddly compelling read that is at times both hilarious and repugnant. The hook is to send the self-destructive private investigator Michael McGill on a dark journey through America’s sexual and political underbelly. He’s accompanied on the journey by Trix, a researcher who’s writing a thesis on the extremes of self-inflicted human experience and is a self-confessed nymphomaniac. The prose is engaging, the pace high, and the plot just about credible enough to keep the reader hooked. The progression of the story, however, is a little too linear and straightforward (making one wonder why McGill was needed at all) and the tale starts to run out of steam as it nears the end. Overall, a fun and funny read, but not for those who are easily offended.