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Dark Prophecy: A Level 26 Thriller Featuring Steve Dark Hardcover – October 14, 2010
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About the Author
ANTHONY E. ZUIKER is the creator and executive producer of the most-watched television show in the world, CSI: Crime Scene Investigation, as well as CSI: Miami and CSI: New York. Zuiker is a visionary business leader who speaks professionally about the future of entertainment and storytelling on multiple platforms. A mystery aficionado since childhood, Zuiker’s lifelong dream has been to write a crime novel. He lives in Las Vegas and Los Angeles with his wife and three children.
Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.
West Hollywood, California
Steve Dark snapped awake, rolled out of bed, dropped to the floor.
Landing silently on his fingertips and toes, he stayed frozen in place and listened. Traffic hummed on nearby Sunset. Someone laughed, drunkenly. There was the faint click-clack of high heels on concrete. A car horn, muted and distant. Normal L.A. night sounds. Nothing out of the ordinary.
Supporting himself on fingertips and toes, Dark slowly crept through the house, keeping to the shadows, listening intently. The only sounds he could discern were the soft popping of his joints as he moved. Dark recovered his fifteen-round Glock 22 from its concealed space beneath the floorboards, then stood up on the balls of his feet. He slipped off the safety. He always kept a bullet chambered. The initial sweep took about ten minutes and revealed nothing. He checked the windows and doors, one by one. The front doorsecured. Window locksin place. Security systemon. Invisible window and door tapeunbroken. Not a single entry point had been disturbed.
Dark put himself through this routine so often it was almost becoming rote. Which was a problem. He couldn't let himself become complacent. He should devise another routine. Maybe think up another safeguard.
After slipping on the safety on his Glock, Dark placed it on the couch next to him. Then he opened his laptop and accessed the remote site that stored his video surveillance. Every square foot of his home was covered by pinhole-size, motion-activated cameras. The quality was low-res, but then again, Dark wasn't shooting precious family moments. He merely wanted to detect movement. Dark tapped the ENTER key, and the remote site began to download video from the past six hours that showed any movement whatsoever. When it finished loading, though, it only showed Dark's own movements through the house. Nothing else.
So what had he heard?
Just some stray noise from a nightmare?
Dark checked his watch. 3:21 A.M. Early, even for him. He didn't sleep much, and the loss of two more hours was disappointing. But at least the house was secure.
Dark had thought the same thing five years ago, and a monster had still managed to squirm his way into his living space. It had been a different house, with a much cruder security system, but it shouldn't have been so easy. Dark had learned the painful lesson: You could never be too careful. Dark had destroyed the monster with his own hands. Hacked away at his adversary until he resembled a pile on a butcher's table. Watched the pieces burn. Spread the ashes with a metal rake.
Still, the lesson remained: You could never be too careful.
Dark padded his way to the kitchen and flicked on his electric carafe that heated water in about sixty seconds. A coffee would be good. After that…; he didn't know what. Ever since leaving Special Circs, his days had seemed both shapeless and endless. Four months of limbo.
When he left, he told Riggins he had a lot of unfinished business. Namely, reconnecting with his daughterwho almost didn't recognize her father's voice on the phone.
But Dark had spent most of the summer installing security in his new home, telling himself he couldn't possibly bring his daughter here to visit without it being locked down tight, 100 percent secure. That process felt like battling a hydra. Chop off the head of one potential problem, six more seemed to spring up in its place. Dark did nothing but work on the house, check the Internet for murder stories, and try to sleep.
Five years ago he'd killed a monster. But no matter what he did, he couldn't shake the feeling that another monster was coming after him…;
So now it was three thirty A.M. and his instant coffee sat cooling in a mug and the sounds of L.A. murmured and there was nothing left to do.
Top customer reviews
Books are difficult to review without spoiling, but, in summary, give it a read, but don't expect as compelling of an experience as the first book.
My major problem with Dark Origins was the "digi" part of the Digi-Novel. What a great idea, video segments to enhance the printed word. But they have to be relevant, and they have to lead the reader into the story without giving plot aspects away. The Dark Origin segment content was, well, spotty. Uneven. But the primary flaw was casting. The video version of Steve Dark looks like an aggravated, bad boy, underwear model. Steve Dark is wasted. Steve Dark tiptoes on the edge of madness. Steve Dark has seen things that changed his soul. He does not look like the actor Daniel Buran. Unfortunately nothing has changed in Dark Prophecy.
When we read we create a world of our own and if Digi-Novels are to work the vids will have to be as subtle and excellent as the written words. To me the videos just became distracting, and I stopped looking at them.
Dark Prophecy's plot maintains the high level of suspense and surprise. Is it perfect? Nope. At one point it claims "There are an estimated 1,423 murders in the world every day. That worked out to a murder every 1.64 seconds." Sorry. Bad Math. One murder every 1.6 seconds for 24 hours would be 54,000 a day, not 1,423.
Lets not be picky. I liked the two books very much and will spring for the third when it appears.
In Dark Images, the first digi-novel Level 26 book, Anthony E. Zuiker visionary creator of CSI and Duane Swierczynski brought the thriller book to a new level - going to the site Level 26 and actually SEEING the terror as it unfolded.
I got so scared, I stopped going to the site as the book was scary enough.
It also introduced us to one of the greatest crime fighting minds - Steve Dark. In the first book he paid a horrible price.
And walks away.
But somehow he is made a major part of this second Level 26 book, Dark Prophecy. I didn't know how Zuiker could top the first novel, but wow he did in this book!
To give away much of the novel would in a way give away too much, but as the book deals with Dark's becoming familiar with the Tarot Deck, it is fair to say, he gets involved with villians who know every nuance of the Tarot and he has to work it out. This time not within the means of the law. He becomes almost vigilante-like and that makes the plot even more scary.
Does the one who fights evil any way he can become more evil that the ones he goes out to stop?
The ending is scarier the more you think on it - Although I applaud you who are courageous enough to go online to Level 26, having it play in your mind is a lot scarier.
And you thought Sqweegel was the ultimate villian - whoa -