Level 26
Anthony E. Zuiker and Duane Swierczynski
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Buy *Level 26: Dark Origins* by Anthony E. Zuiker and Duane Swierczynski online

Level 26: Dark Origins
Anthony E. Zuiker and Duane Swierczynski
Dutton
Hardcover
406 pages
September 2009
rated 3 of 5 possible stars

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The primary author of Level 26: Dark Origins is the guy who created the CSI television series. He's now branched out into writing books, but not just any sort of normal paper-bound kind. This is described as the "first digi-novel."

With this one, you don't just open up the cover and start reading; there are instructions.

"About every twenty pages, you will have the option of logging in to experience a digital cyber-bridbge - a three-minute motion picture scene with A-list actors you've seen in blockbuster films and award-winning TV shows. Before your eyes, the characters will spring to life, crime-scene deails will explode off the screen, and the Web site might even ask for a phone number - where the killer can reach you directly. You might call it CSI with an edge."
Zuiker is an obviously talented and gifted person, but as a writer he is little more than average. The characters tend to be flimsy and not too believable, and the reader merely glides along the top of this story ever truly being sucked inside it. And jumping online to hunt for a website for an important bit of information necessary to understanding what comes next in the plot is a bit ineffective.

If this book only works because it is a digi-novel, then it has failed. The novel needs to stand on its own as a carefully-crafted and imaginative work of fiction. If those elements had been in place, then the addition of the computer/online pieces would only have served to make this even more of an experience for the reader. In fact, Level 26 plays out more like an episode of CSI than a full-length novel.



Originally published on Curled Up With A Good Book at www.curledup.com. Steven Rosen, 2009

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