Ring, ring. You're dead. We were all there in that city that draws its paycheck from the manufacture of ghosts, itself made of ghosts: Los Angeles. We were there when one man started handing out free talk. And we are there now, sad little dolls made of dust... Peter Russell lost a daughter to a serial killer. His marriage was the next casualty. Now he gets by as Mr Fixit for a film millionaire with a young wife on a big Hollywood estate infamous for its association with a historical scandal. The millionaire invests in a new kind of phone, the Trans. The problem with the Trans is that not only can you talk to your friends on it, you can also talk to the dead - though that wasn't part of the design spec. The Trans accesses forbidden channels. It has disrupted the exit routines of the recently dead to wherever they should have gone. At first, Russell is only haunted by his dead daughter. Now there are phantoms everywhere. Many are ghosts of the living, people with nothing inside them, called wraiths. A cascade of transgression and murder is unleashed as sales of the Trans take off. Harried near to death himself by his murdered child, Russell must find out who killed her and find a way to put an end to it all, if it kills him.