The Ghost Network by Catie Disabato (5 out of 5)
This one is hard to miss- it’s a bright orange cover. As in- walk into my bookstore and look at the new trade paperback table- I DARE you not to see it! Once I read the back and saw it was a book based in Chicago, I had to. It’s not a very big book- under 300 pages, easy to read font, and some multi-media aspects, so it’s even easier to get through. The format reminded me a lot of Night Film (Marisa Pessl, two years ago). This is Disabato’s first book, and what a way to start. It’s a book that will fit into multiple genres- it could be fiction, science fiction, fantasy, and yes, even parts of it could qualify as pop culture. It also veers off from Metropolis’ disappearance into other plots, conspiracies, and ideas.
Molly Metropolis disappears into the wintry Chicago streets shortly before her sold-out show. No one knows what to make of her disappearance, but one of her pseudo-obsessed fans, Caitlin Taer, is determined to find her. The text in the book itself was written by an English professor Cyrus Archer, who himself disappears after all of this starts, and edited by Catie DiSabato after his disappearance. Everything is very connected, and yet everything splinters off into a wonderful network of radical, brightly colored sparks. There is no way in hell you are going to figure out what happened to Molly, what happened to Cyrus, what happened to Caitlin, until you get to the end and hear the explanation. In the meantime, while you’re rocking through this book, you will encounter humor, pop culture references every which way, the this-within-that meta of every corner of every chapter, it’s a puzzle that never ends! And here’s the best part- it’s a FUN puzzle. If you aren’t familiar with Chicago, you will be after reading this. Many local attraction and distractions are addressed, including the legendary “L”, much of which has been long abandoned (and is the “Ghost Network” referred to in the title…OR IS IT?). Really, the questions answer themselves, or better yet, are answered by multiple sources, and anything could be nothing, and nothing could be everything. I have never had so much fun reading a book. Definitely one of my favorites in the first six months of 2015. It’s out now, so go grab a copy!