The Ghost Network- Book Review
Title: The Ghost Network
Author: Catie Disabato
There will be spoilers at the end of this review, because the ending had a significant factor in my rating, and I definitely need to talk about it.
This book was written as a true crime story- so much so that after the first chapter I literally googled the name Molly Metropolis to make sure it wasn’t based on real people or anything (I felt kind of dumb, but still). The author is a very talented writer, and that really shone through with the style she chose.
This book is about two separate disappearances. Kind of. Its really about the disappearance of Molly Metropolis, a famous pop singer. Cait Taer becomes obsessed with figuring out what happened to Molly, until she too disappears- presumed dead after a boat crash in a lake, with Gina and Nick (her friends) the only witnesses of what happened.
It was definitely an interesting read- there were tons of side tangents about the book. I learned a lot more about the Chicago rail/subway system, the situationalists (both original and new), mapmaking and other elements that are seemingly unrelated but tie together at the end.
It was told from the point of view of a journalist, who was writing a book about the disappearance of Molly Metropolis before he too disappeared, and his student (our author) took over his notes, looked into Taer’s disappearance, and put everything together. It was like an inception with the point of view- our author telling us what a journalist was told by the characters experiencing it? It makes sense in the story, most of the time, but is hard to explain.
None of the characters were that likeable, and they really weren’t supposed to be. Molly was a pop singer who wanted to be more than just a pop singer- she was changing the world through her actions and her music, revolutionizing what it meant to be a pop singer, and then she just disappears and abandons everyone she knows- her family, her friends, her fans, etc. She just seemed very self-involved.
Cait Taer was obsessed with finding out what happened to Molly, and used Gina, her girlfriend and Molly’s former assistant, as well as Nick, Molly’s close friend, to get to the answers. Although the plot developed nicely because of Taer’s character, she wasn’t an enjoyable or relatable character. I just couldn’t get behind any of the actions of the characters, or root for them, because I didn’t like any of them.
Some of the characters just felt like archetypes- the dancers, and Molly’s former friends, for instance, definitely did not feel like real people, or take actions that were believable.
I really enjoyed this book, or for like the first 80% of the book. Basically all of it until the end. The ending, really, was what pushed this from a four star book to a three star book, and had me going from wanting to reread it to putting it in a place where I might never pick it up again.
Honestly, I liked the first ending better than the second. The idea that Molly disappeared because she was disappointed that what she believed it wasn’t anything at all except smoke and mirrors? That there was really no conspiracy, and it was all just made up in Cait, Gina and Nick’s minds? In my opinion, that was a much story than the real ending- where everything happened like a conspiracy theorist thought it would. That was more disappointing to me, because it tied everything perfectly in a bow, and felt so much less realistic, and took it out of its true crime storyline that it had been working. I was so let down by the ending, because I loved the first half of the book.
Would I recommend this? Yes, but only because I want to vent about the ending without spoiling the book for those who have not read it.