A mysterious flashdrive ends up in the hands of an unsuspecting victim. Unaware of its power, the victim explores the content of the flashdrive. Within a matter of minutes 30 people die a violent and horrendous death with no explanation or witnesses to the source of the mass murder. The case proves to be one that police logic won’t be able to figure out without some extraordinary theories, in addition to taking some extraordinary risks.
Detective Norton is the experienced individual who is responsible for figuring out the mystery. Unfortunately, he still has some demons to deal with and this only complicates matters for him. As he tries to pull himself together and find whatever is behind all the dead bodies, things take a dramatic turn for the worst. He comes into contact with a mysterious woman who gives him even more trouble, but she also might have the answers he is looking for. As they meet for a second time the case becomes more complicated and difficult to solve.
With a highly unlikely partner, Norton faces a wall of resistance towards clarity. All his experience and skill come into play as he partakes in high speed chases and life threatening confrontations. The odds are squarely stacked against him and nobody can be trusted. Will Norton survive long enough to find the truth?
The author, J.R. Park, has a great way of coloring the scene. He provides a lot of attention to details, both physically and mentally. Park also makes it easy to paint the scenario within the imagination and for a short story this can be difficult to do. The characters are well thought out as the story touches on the important aspects that give them life so-to-speak. Even though some of them play a tiny role they are quickly summed up within a single page.
The real magic of the story lies in the the action scenes along with the graphic explanations that accompany the death of the characters. Park leaves no stone unturned in describing the feeling of the horror as well as the tiny details of how injuries are inflicted. In this manner Park brings another dimension to horror and death.
Shrouded in mystery, the story takes unexpected turns. There is no telling who is going to die next or where the horror behind the mysterious murders is going to end. It’s suspenseful and sometimes even sincere, especially the leading character Norton. His internal turmoil over a situation he wanted to prevent keeps on surfacing throughout the case. Silently he wishes for death while his principles to see justice served keeps him from committing suicide. The lack of closure and the constant memory flashes only makes his mission more difficult. In some cases it places him in more danger.
Overall “Terror Byte” was written with a great pace and a nice build-up towards a surprising climax. The plot is original in terms of the threat, although some of the characteristics Norton shows have been used before. It’s definitely a book that can go into the “memorable” category.
Damnetha is a staff writer, horror book and movie critic.