You Are What You Read

Reviews of books as I read them. This is basically a (web)log of books I've read.

My Photo
Location: Lawrenceville, Georgia, United States

I am a DBA/database analyst by day, full time father on evenings and weekends.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Spook Country

William Gibson's Spook Country is a novel about four sets of people tracking down a shipping container. The big mystery is what is in the container and why are the people so interested.

Hollis Henry is a former musician and minor pop star now writing for a startup magazine called Node. She has been assigned to write about a new art form called locative art. Soon her new boss Rausch asks her to meet with the artist's engineer, a man named Bobby Chombo. Chombo is paranoid and sleeps in a different two meter GPS grid square every night. He is helping a mysterious party track a cargo container that has been traveling across the ocean on different ships from port to port.

Milgrim is a painkiller addict who is being forced by a man calling himself Brown to help track down some members of a crime family connected to the cargo container. Brown keeps Milgrim under control by giving him small doses of painkillers and locking him in his hotel room. Milgrim translates the Russian code that the criminals send to each other. The man they are tracking is Tito, Cuban-Chinese and part of a small crime family. When Brown and his team make a move on Tito and the old man who is his contact, everything goes awry. It turns out the old man and the rest of the family were expecting him.

Chombo disappears with his equipment, and Rausch tells Hollis that one of his employees put a tracker on the truck and it's headed north. Hollis ends up in Vancouver where the container has entered the port. When Hollis follows Chombo again, she ends up meeting Tito and the old man, who convinces her to hang around and see what's going on. It turns out Bobby is tracking the container for the old man and his family. Brown is tracking the trackers, and also ends up in Vancouver. Hollis goes with Garreth, an associate of the old man, as he shoots radioactive slugs into the container, and Tito sneaks into the port and plugs the holes with magnets. When Brown crashes his car in an attempt to kill Tito, Milgrim escapes and steals Hollis's purse including a wad of money. The old man explains that there is $100 million in the container which is now irradiated and useless to the owners.

I was disappointed in this book. The characters were somewhat interesting, but the plot was largely incoherent. The story is amusing along the way, but for most of the narrative I couldn't figure out why I should care about the container or anything to do with it. There was never an explanation for how either Brown or Rausch know about the container or why they cared so much about it or the old man. Some of the other plot elements were good, but they never added up to much. Some of the story was confusing, and the confusion was never completely settled. It's not really one of Gibson's best. B-


Post a Comment

<< Home