A probing investigation into the disappearance of a rising pop star and the subsequent death of an obsessive fan goes awry in this thrilling debut novel.
Journalist Cyrus Archer is in dogged pursuit of the connection among a 1960s anarchist political sect known as the Situationists, a map of a hypothetical transit system underneath Chicago named the Ghost Network, and the disappearances of singing sensation Molly Metropolis and her assistant’s lover, Caitlyn Taer. For 15 months, armed with a collage of newspaper articles, interviews, computer files, and journals, Archer attempts to reconstruct the months preceding Molly's and Taer’s mysterious fates. He makes several interesting discoveries, but it's hard to tell what he thinks: is he surprised? Is he fascinated or horrified? His voice feels monotonous for someone who's trying to solve a mystery. Then he suddenly disappears himself, leaving his unfinished manuscript to "Catie Disabato," his former writing student, who cleverly inserts herself into the text to verify his research, add her own footnotes, and, though she’s conflicted about it, finish his book: "I had begun to face the reality that putting my name on this book would be the end of something for me….What is my role in the narrative supposed to be?” Disabato’s engaging, robust voice, though scarce, revives the tale. Ultimately, the novel, with its intricate structure and agile pacing, adds up to a layered, well-executed story within an inventive story.
Artistic ambition, cultural critique, and a revolutionary philosophy drive the mysteries underlying this complex, charismatic novel.