Hollis Henry is constantly recognized as a member of The Curfew, a band that broke up ages ago, but whose fan base has a wide reach. She’s trying to reinvent herself as a journalist, most recently with an assignment from nonexistent magazine Node. Her journey takes her from LA to Vancouver and back, picking up her old bandmates in both spots (pretty weak storyline), as she investigates the mystery of Bobby Chombo and the shipping container. Intersperse this with the storyline of virtual reality art pieces (phantom beds of tulips, body of River Phoenix, etc. etc.)
Tito is a young, agile, seriously trained member of a crime family, whose job it is to plant a fake iPod on some pursuers and to patch up the mutilated shipping container with heavy magnets.
Milgrim was probably my favorite character, a junkie captured by a quasi-cop and forced to translate the encoded Russian messages from Tito to his family. Milgrim’s a philosopher at heart, constantly reading and rereading the book he picked up along with someone else’s jacket, constantly on the lookout for an escape from Brown (quasi-cop/Blackwater figure).
Brief excerpt from the book gives you a sense of the writing (not fabulous, but sometimes funny):
Brown left Milgrim in the Korean’s laundry for a very long time. Eventually, a younger Korean, perhaps the proprietor’s son, arrived with a brown-bagged Chinese meal, which he presented to Milgrim with no comment. Milgrim cleared a space among the magazines on the plywood coffee table and unpacked his lunch. Plain rice, boneless chicken nuggets in red dye no.3, fluorescent-green vegetable segments, finely sliced brown mystery meat. Milgrim preferred the plastic fork to the chopsticks. If you were in prison, he encouraged himself, you’d find this food a treat. Unless you were in a Chinese prison, some less-cooperative part of himself suggested, but he worked his way through it all, methodically. With Brown, it was best to eat what you could when the opportunity presented itself.
–(Chapter 23, Two Moors)