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Dark Origins

Cover of Dark Origins

Dark Origins

Level 26 Series, Book 1
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Unabridged CDs * 7 CDs, 9 hours
A revolutionary, cross- platform, immersive storytelling experience centered on a series of crime thrillers from the visionary creator of CSI: Crime Scene Investigation.
Unabridged CDs * 7 CDs, 9 hours
A revolutionary, cross- platform, immersive storytelling experience centered on a series of crime thrillers from the visionary creator of CSI: Crime Scene Investigation.
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  • From the cover Prologue

    the gift

    Rome, Italy

    The monster was holed up somewhere in the church, andthe agent knew he finally had him.

    He removed his boots as quietly as he could andplaced them beneath the wooden table in the vestibule. Theboots were rubber soled, but even those could make some noiseon the marble floors. So far, the monster didn't know he wasbeing followed—as far as the agent could tell.

    The agent had been chasing the monster for three years. Therewere no photos of the monster, no physical evidence at all. Catchinghim was like trying to capture a wisp of smoke in your fist. The forceof your action would cause it to dissipate and re-form elsewhere.

    The hunt had taken him all over the world: Germany. Israel.Japan. The United States. And now here, Rome, inside a seventeenth-centurybaroque-style church christened Mater Dolorosa, whichwas Latin for "sorrowful mother."

    The name fit. The interior of the church was gloomy. With hisgun in a two-hand grip, the agent moved as silently as possiblealong the yellowed walls.

    A notice posted on the church door said it was closed to thepublic for renovations. The agent knew enough Italian to understandthat the four-hundred-year-old fresco on the interior domeof the church was being restored.

    Scaffolding. Gloom. Shadows. It was a natural habitat for themonster. No wonder he'd chosen it, despite its being a sacredplace of worship.

    The agent had come to understand that the monster knew noboundaries. Even in times of war, churches and temples wereconsidered places of sanctuary—safe havens for those seeking thecomfort of God during their darkest hours.

    And as the agent made his way around the metal poles andunderside of the scaffolding, he knew the monster was here. Hecould feel it.

    The agent was no believer in the supernatural; he did not claimto have psychic abilities. But the longer he hunted the monster, themore he found that he was able to tune in to his savage wavelength.This gift brought the agent closer than any other investigatorto catching the monster—but it came at a cost. The more hetuned his brain in to the monster's insanity, the more he lost touchwith what it was like to be sane. He had recently begun to wonderwhether his single-minded pursuit might soon kill him. He'd discardedthe thought.

    His focus had returned when the agent saw the most recentvictim, just a few blocks away. The sight of the blood, the tornskin, the viscera steaming in the cool night air, and the marbledbeads of fat hanging from exposed muscles would later send thefirst responders outside to vomit. Not the agent, who had kneltdown and felt a thrilling burst of adrenaline when he touched thebody through the thick latex of his examiner's gloves and realizedit was still warm.

    It meant the monster was nearby.

    The agent knew he wouldn't have gone far; the monster loved to hide himself and enjoy the aftermath of his work. He had evenbeen known to secret himself within the scene while law enforcementcursed his name.

    So the agent had stepped into the small courtyard near thevictim's body and let his mind wander. No deductive logic, noreasoned guesses, no gut, no hunch. Instead the agent thought: Iam the monster; where do I go?

    The agent had scanned the rooftops, then saw the glitteringdome and knew immediately. There. I'd go there. There was not aseed of doubt in the agent's mind. This would end tonight.

    Now he was moving silently among the wooden pews and themetal poles of the scaffolding, gun drawn, all of his physical senseson high alert. The monster might be smoke, but even smoke hada look, a scent, a...

  • AudioFile Magazine There are 25 levels of serial killers, from the dilettantes to the Dahmers, but Sqweegel is in a class by himself--a Level 26. Even without the bells and whistles, LEVEL 26--co-written by CSI creator Anthony Zuiker--is a thrill a minute. Granted, the plot takes liberties with science and reality, but the tale of an old warrior, in this case the detective, being forced back into the harness for a final cathartic battle always works. An impressive performance by John Glover, whose killer sounds like evil personified, elevates the tension of the book. An added thrill is that listeners can visit the Level 26 Web site to watch videos that expand upon scenes in the book. This "digi-movie" experience is powerful, thanks to actors like Michael Ironsides. The audiobook could be enjoyed without the videos, but it wouldn't be as much fun. M.S. (c) AudioFile 2009, Portland, Maine
  • Publisher's Weekly

    July 20, 2009
    You get a movie with the book.
    Level 26
    Anthony Zuiker
    with Duane Swierczynski. Dutton
    , $26.95 (416p) ISBN 978-0-525-95125-4

    CSI creator Zuiker teams with Swierczynski (Severance Package
    ) to create what's billed as the world's first “digi-novel,” involving a seriously weird serial killer and the tortured FBI investigator who's forced to hunt him down. There's nothing really new about the basic concept, but Swierczynski handles the writing with assurance and verve. The killer, known as Sqweegel, is “a psychopath who has shot, raped, maimed, poisoned, burned, strangled, and tortured upwards of fifty people in six countries over a span of more than twenty years.” The investigator, Steve Dark, lives a quiet life with his beloved, pregnant wife, in Malibu, Calif. The digital concept kicks in every 20 pages or so when the reader is referred to a Web site containing 20 two- to three-minute professionally made film clips that bridge the action from one section to another. It's a bit like watching the extras on a DVD—fun, but not really necessary to the main event. 200,000 first printing.

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Dark Origins
Dark Origins
Level 26 Series, Book 1
Anthony E. Zuiker
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