Written by: Matthew J. Barbour
Terror Byte is the first novel by British author J. R. Park. The concept of the book is relatively straight forward and speaks to the world we currently live in. While authors have traditionally looked at mass extinction and world crisis events in terms of nuclear fallout, plagues, meteors, and climate change, the most immediate threat to our modern way of life is a computer virus.
In Terror Byte, Detective Norton is investigating the scene of a mass murder in an office complex. The killing has been performed by Death’s Head, a state of the art computer program. The program, once uploaded, will find a way to destroy all targets designated through any means available. It is the perfect killer. Upon completion of the task, it removes all traces of its presence from the computer system.
But how did such a program find its way into a public business? And more importantly, where is it now? Loaded on a flash drive, the program appears inconsequential to the general public, but this device might represent the greatest threat to human existence. It is up to Detective Norton to find and destroy it, but he is not the only the one looking.
Terror Byte is an incredibly fast read in the action-adventure format popular with young adult novels. There is no filler, even things that will seem irrelevant at the time fold back into the overall narrative to form a complete and enjoyable whole. However, sexual content and some gore hold Terror Byte back from being appropriate for all audiences and as to be expected from any first novel –especially a self-published work-, the book lacks a level of polish that one might anticipate from more experienced writers and mainstream publishers.
Still, J. R. Park delivers a fun and delightful detective sleuth. Terror Byte is a fantastic first effort. Hopefully, the novel is just the start of a long and promising career.