Novels and TV series about serial killers and murderers have always shown us that there are different degrees of killers - ranging from killers of opportunity, through to killers who plan their kills in advance with meticulous and sadistic pleasure. These killers are rated on a scale of level 1 to level 25 - but in Zuiker's world there is a new kind of killer, a level 26 killer, a killer who requires a special kind of law enforcement to track them down - and in Zuiker's world that person is Steve Dark.
Steve Dark is a tortured soul who has seen things and lived through things that would make most people go mad - and he might have gotten close, but he turns that madness into an edge as he tracks the killer known as Sqweegel. The story is fast paced and packs a rather solid punch with gritty details and heart stopping moments. One of the most interesting things about this novel is that it was written with cyber-bridges that link you in to short movies that are posted on Level26.com - this movies can either be watched at the intervals suggested in the novel, watched at the end of the book - or ignored completely. I watched them when they were indicated in the book and it makes the reading experience so much more intense to watch the action on screen before diving into the next part of the story.
This is not a novel for the faint hearted, some of the scenes described as somewhat gruesome, and the tension can be intense - but it was one of the best novels I have read in recent years. The plot is well defined and there are some moments of genuine surprise - which is not so easy in such a popular genre for both authors and readers. I highly recommend this book, and having just finished the sequel I can only hope that Zuiker and Swierczynski can keep up this high level of writing for many books to come.
If you like this book then try:
- Level 26: Dark prophecy by Anthony E. Zuiker & Duane Swierczynski
- Kiss the girls by James Patterson
- The postcard killers by James Patterson and Liz Marklund
- Keeping the dead by Tess Gerritsen
Reviewed by Brilla