Anthony E. Zuiker, creator of the popular TV show CSI, has released what is referred to as the first “digi-novel.” The book is partnered with the Level26.com website, where the reader at the end of certain chapters is directed to enter a keyword on the site to unlock a clip that relates to the book and the particular chapter just completed. Combined with occasional illustrations, Zuiker is trying to make this the new revolution in book technology. Sadly, overall the effect falls short of being revolutionary, and something that hopefully won’t be happening with other books.
The story is about a serial killer, known as Sqweegel, who has been killing and torturing for decades and all forms of international government, including the CIA and FBI have not only been unable to catch him, but fail to find a single shred of evidence to who the man might be. Because of this, the killer has been designated a Level 26, the highest level ever created for a murder. The question is who can they bring in to actually catch this guy?
While the premise and story seems initially compelling, the plot soon spirals out of control into the completely far-fetched, with the video clips featuring over the top acting that more disengages the reader from the book than engrosses them. Level 26 is a book that some may enjoy, at least for what it’s trying to do, but it sadly falls far short of achieving its goals.
If you liked this review and are interested in purchasing this book, click here.
Originally written on October 18th, 2009 ©Alex C. Telander.