More on Anthony Zuiker’s ‘Digi-Novel’

When I wrote about CSI creator Anthony Zuiker’s just-signed book deal for a slew of thrillers that combined the written word and digital clips, something of a spirited debate broke out in the comments, and Zuiker himself even stopped by to defend his endeavor. Fast forward several months and with the first of those books, LEVEL 26: DARK ORIGINS, slated for publication in September, USA Today breaks the news of who Zuiker brought on board as his point man on the prose part of the project, someone very recognizable in both the crime fiction and comic book world: Duane Swierczynski. So my initial fear that “Dutton’s going to have a hell of a
time marketing this beyond that first initial flush (which will require
plenty of $$$ and probably not all of it from Dutton’s coffers) unless
the melding of story and video is truly exceptional” may well be dissuaded.

Swierczynski has promised to post more details on how he got involved (UPDATE, 513: now he has), which is good because it’s an interesting story to tell. And whether one agrees or not with Zuiker’s assertion that the LEVEL 26 books will circumvent those, like him, who don’t have the patience to read a 400-page novel (or 250-page book, as he said last year), what his publisher at Dutton, Brian Tart, says does ring rather true: Zuiker’s novels “have to stand on their own as books, and

they do. But publishers need to experiment with new ways of engaging

readers. Books were a primary form of entertainment when there were

only a couple of TV channels and no Internet.”