Crooked Little Vein - Warren Ellis
(Paperback ISBN: 978-0-06-125205-1)
This is the first novel by Warren Ellis, best-known for his top-notch comics writing (Transmetropolitan, Global Frequency, Planetary and The Authority, to name a few), and it does not disappoint! Crooked Little Vein is a post-modern hardboiled detective novel; a 21st-Century beatnik road novel, though neither description quite does it justice...
Without giving away too much, down-and-out P.I. Mike McGill is hired by the White House Chief of Staff to find a very important book. Sounds simple + straightforward, but instead, McGill is dragged through disturbing + eye-opening spins on the American Dream... sliding deeper + deeper into depravity on his way to finishing this freaky job.
Ellis' clever story + dialogue are spot-on, somehow creating real characters from some very surreal circumstances. (And McGill at one point refers to his balls as his "dadpaste factory" - which might be the most disturbing and hilarious thing I've read in months...)