Max Larkin is flying high: he has just solved his third huge case in a year, has been asked to join the FBI, and everyone wants a piece of him. While being interviewed live on television, he receives a call from someone with a grudge against him. The caller asks that a film feed be projected in the studio, and uses this to show himself killing Max’s first love, Dee Rice, live on air, before deep-frying her heart, taking a bite out of it, and sending it to Max. He promises to continue killing people Max knows until Max discovers who the killer is.
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The killer keeps his promise, killing Max’s high school football coach Terry Schubert, his estranged best friend from high school Jeremy Heart, Coach Schubert’s son Jeff Schubert, and even the Rockton Chief of Police Captain Perry. In addition, he films these murders, which he commits in gory and inventive ways, and streams them over the internet for a paying audience. The killer sets up a twitter account on which audience members can post suggestions regarding ways in which he can kill victims, and eventually garners three million viewers. His cannibalism also continues, with him eating parts of his victims and leaving these to be found by Max and the police.
Max and the other members of the Rockton PD all struggle with their personal fears and demons as they are put to the test by the disturbing events they’re forced to engage with. Various false leads and assumptions set them back, and they blame themselves for failing to prevent the deaths of those they know and love—and dread the next one to fall. The investigation forces them to confront their own pasts, and their present, to scour every possible clue to help them track down the killer.
Eventually, however, the killer gives himself up, and the final murder he films is his own: the online footage is of the body of a suspect with his head blown off, as in a suicide. Max realizes that this is yet another twist in the tale, though, and tries to stop the SWOT team before it enters the building. Too late, the bomb that was set to blow kills two police officers and injures others, and they have still not found their man.
Taking a break from the case, Max goes to his ten-year high school reunion to catch up with old friends. Here, the final showdown occurs, and all the loose ends are finally tied up.
Slashtag is a tightly plotted, suspenseful psychological thriller, shot through with flashes of dark genius and macabre insight into the darker reaches of the human soul. It will leave you gripping the edge of your seat with anticipation and fear.