cover image The Ghost Network

The Ghost Network

Catie Disabato. Melville House (Random, dist.), $16.95 trade paperback (288p) IS

Wrapped in the form of pseudohistorical, multilayered investigative journalism full of footnotes from a skewed world that resembles our own, columnist Disabato’s first novel is a paean to the modern urban landscape. In it she relishes questions about pop culture’s relationship to intellectual culture jamming, the persistence of the ephemeral under the gaze of the obsessed, and the secrets behind public personas and public transportation. Equal parts unfolding suspense and literary treasure hunt, Disabato’s document claims to be her completion of journalist Cyrus Archer’s abandoned investigation of the search for Molly Metropolis, a rising pop music diva who disappears suddenly in Chicago while on tour at the height of her popularity. Archer’s interviews reveal the story of music journalist Cait Taer, who seeks out Gina Nix, her old friend and Molly’s personal assistant, after Molly vanishes. Together they discover Molly’s secret notebook and solicit the aid of her Molly’s dangerous friend, Nick Berliner, in their search. Archer traces the mystery through journals, maps, and interviews—and underground into the B-sides of personality and art. The net effect is simultaneously breathlessly exhilarating and beautifully haunted. (May)