David Mason has based his gripping new novel on a creepy urban legend of the same name: a Russian radio station has been broadcasting and letting out a buzz every other second since the 1970s. Every few months, the buzzing is suddenly interrupted by a voice saying a series of numbers and code words. Then the buzzing starts up again. A number of theorists suggest that it’s a secret military communication method, or that it may even be a countermeasure for nuclear war.
In the novel, journalist Natalya Kovalski undertakes a research project on a mysterious shortwave radio transmission known as the Buzzer, trying to make her mark. Along with Stepan Litvin, a short-wave radio enthusiast and computer programmer, they visit an abandoned military base in Povarovo which is suspected to have once been the source of the transmissions.
While exploring the eponymous phenomenon, they discover links between the city of Luga and a Soviet Human Enhancement Project C-1 which was undertaken in World War 2. After discovering evidence suggesting that the Buzzer and the C-1 is an experiment on the population of Luga, they attempt to expose the experiment to the media in order to save the city. Are they saving Luga, as they think, or putting themselves and the city in further danger?