Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Level 26: Dark Origins Review

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

It is well known among law enforcement personnel that murderers can be categorized on a scale of twenty-five levels of evil, from the naive opportunists starting out at Level 1 to the organized, premeditated torture-murderers who inhabit Level 25.

What almost no one knows, except for the elite unnamed investigations group assigned to hunt down the world's most dangerous killers, a group of men and women accounted for in no official ledger, headed by the brilliant but reluctant operative Steve Dark, is that a new category of killer is in the process of being defined.

Only one man belongs to this group.

His targets:

His methods:

His alias:

His classification:
Level 26.

3.5 out of 5 stars

Dark Origins is the first book in the Level 26 trilogy. It is a Digi-novel with corresponding videos on the website

Two years ago, Steve Dark got the closest anyone had ever gotten to Sqweegel, a serial killer so heinous that he reached a level off the scale. As a result, Sqweegel killed his foster family. Now, Dark is out of the game... until his old boss shows up to ask him back. He refuses until he finds out that Sqweegel is already inserting himself into his life and posing a huge threat to his pregnant wife. Sqweegel is playing a game with him and he has to put himself in the mind of a twisted killer to defeat him.

Dark Origins is by the creator of CSI. In fact, there was an episode (s11e4) of CSI that featured the character of Sqweegel. It was actually an interesting episode and it kind of left me hanging because it was the only one with the character. I didn't realize this at the time, though, so I didn't get this book because of that. The book advertizes, though, that it is by the creator of CSI and that should have given me a clue as to how the book would read.

I thought the book was pretty good, but I was honestly disappointed. It read like any episode of CSI or any similar show. It kind of glosses over the murders (in both the videos and the book), making it seem far less gruesome than it's supposed to be. For someone who doesn't like details, this book would probably be sufficiently gory. I, however, really wanted something far more in depth. There were also some twists that I figured out fairly early on, so I wasn't surprised in the end.

One thing it did have that I did not like was animal violence. There were two instances in the book and one in the videos that I just skipped. I don't like to read about animal murder, even if the animals are small.

The video aspect of the book was an interesting addition, but ultimately not actually necessary. Initially, it was kind of neat but it became a little bit annoying. There were 20 videos with this novel and, for the most part, they gave you a code in the book about every 30 pages. The problem with this was that I didn't want to sit with my computer next to me or to stop every 30 pages to watch another video. Also, the videos didn't give information that wasn't in the book. What I ended up doing was skipping several codes then going back later to watch the videos.

Ultimately, it was a pretty good book. The characters were good- very much like characters on a cop show. The story was decent, though a little tame for what I was really looking for. I do think that I'm going to eventually read the next two.

*Picture and description from Goodreads

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