Hair-raisingly creepy and utterly terrifying...
As a serious fan of the television series, C.S.I (Crime Scene Investigation), it was with much excitement and trepidation that I delved into the debut novel of its creator and visionary extraordinaire – Anthony Zuiker. Following his strengths and sticking closely to the macabre, unsavoury and dark side of humanity; Dark Origins: Level 26 introduces us to the deeply disturbed mind and incredibly flexible body of a serial killer known as ‘Sqweegel’.
Ok, so the name ‘Sqweegel’ hardly sounds sinister, but when you factor in that this person dresses in a white all-in-one latex body suit with creepy black zips and tiny holes for his beady little eyes to look out at you with, you can’t help but take him seriously. Sqweegel has been in operation for over twenty years, during which time many have tried and failed to apprehend him – but none got as close as Special Circs agent, Steve Dark. Actually, Dark got too close and Sqweegel decided to take it out on Dark’s foster family – all of the massacred, butchered, totally destroyed. Two years after doing a flit and Dark has been tracked down by his old boss: they need him to come back – now. Coerced into signing away his soul again, Dark is immediately drawn back into Sqweegel’s sick web and everything he has left is in danger of being taken away by this monster – again.
As a stand-alone novel, Dark Origins: Level 26 is as addictive as Crack and just as hard on the nerves. Exploring the possibility that there are killers whose methods are so extreme, so unconventional and so successful that they deserve their own kind of branding (as a Level 26 killer); Zuiker creates a monster the likes of which we haven’t really seen since Hannibal Lecter. As a self-proclaimed “DigiNovelTM”, it blurs the boundary between the written and the visual world.
Purists will find the interruption of having to boot up the PC and login to the online elements an unwanted distraction from the power and pace of the book itself; however, there is something to be said for the sheer quality of the footage Zuiker has put out there. It certainly adds an additional dimension to the overall creepiness and horror that makes up Sqweegel. In the end, it comes down to personal choice and, in my case, how patient you are. Personally, I simply couldn’t let the book slip from my fingers from the moment I opened it to the moment the last word had been read. Dark Origins: Level 26 is a book to be devoured greedily, non-stop, in the dead of night – only then can you appreciate the spectacle unfolding in front of your eyes. And the great news? – it seems that we will have to gear ourselves up to be scared silly again – there will be a book 2.
We interview C J Daugherty about Night School
- 10 January 2012