Traces of a mysterious young woman cause havoc.
One day Gregory Klein is punching numbers randomly into his telephone; the next, after a cryptic conversation with the stranger on the other end and a visit from the highly suspicious LAPD, he’s chasing across the country to find her. Jackie Savage, abandoned at her high school by the brother who usually picks her up, accepts a ride in a chauffeured limo and is whisked off into a fairy tale gone wrong. Hours after finding a photograph labeled “Hacker-19?” wedged under the pillow of his sofa, habitual self-mutilator Terry Young leaves his bride at the airport for reasons he can’t understand. Detective Joseph Malloy’s last day on the job turns into an off-the-clock obsession with the subject of a photo his successor finds in one of his open-case files. Contractor Debbie Wendell’s dragon-lady façade shivers and shatters when she finds a handmade wooden box at an airport construction site and learns that several passersby seem to be just as fascinated with it as she is. If these beginnings sound strange, their sequels are even stranger, as Kilgore’s five heroes keep knocking up against apparently omniscient strangers, obscurely motivated killers, fellow travelers who ask them probing questions and vanish and law-enforcement officers who seem determined to lock them up for the offense of looking for Shayla Hacker—for, as her Delphic former neighbor tells Gregory, “Once you’ve seen her eyes, you won’t be able to stop looking for her.” The search takes them as far as Cairo and Rio de Janeiro before coming to rest in Three Rooks, Ind., where a surprising number of impossible questions will be answered and a much larger number will not.
Twin Peaks meets The Da Vinci Code in this surpassingly weird debut.