When his teenage niece and three of her friends die simultaneously under mysterious circumstances in different areas of Tokyo, failed journalist Kazuyuki Asakawa sees a story that could revive his career.
His investigation leads him to a holiday resort where the four teens rented a cabin one week prior; there, he discovers a videotape. He finds the recording filled with bizarre, unsettling images of volcanoes, babies, and a bleeding, sweaty man. At the end of the tape is a warning: he will die in seven days unless… Well, unfortunately the cure has been recorded over.
Fully believing the warning on the tape, and panicked that he only has seven days to live, Asakawa enlists the help of his degenerate friend Ryuji in unraveling the mystery behind this curse. As they probe into the tragic history of the tape, Asakawa finds there is more than his own life at stake.
First in a series, this book was a fairly quick read but infinitely satisfying. The plot moved at a quick clip, which reinforced the urgency of the characters, yet no details were glossed over. The mystery unfolded well, and although I guessed parts of it before the characters did, it was still pleasurable to watch the pieces come together.
This book is technically in the Horror genre, but I would say it is more of a Thriller. Readers who are expecting this book to be similar to the movies that it inspired (the Japanese movie Ringu and its American remake, The Ring) will be disappointed. This is not a ghost story; rather, it is a tale of anxiety and illness draped in a paranormal veil.