Review: Level 26: Dark Origins – Anthony E. Zuiker with Duane Swierczynski

level 26 dark origins cover

Level 26 #1

SYNOPSIS: It is well known among law enforcement personnel that murderers can be categorized on a scale of twenty-five levels of evil, from the naive opportunists starting out at Level 1 to the organized, premeditated torture-murderers who inhabit Level 25.

What almost no one knows, except for the elite unnamed investigations group assigned to hunt down the world’s most dangerous killers, a group of men and women accounted for in no official ledger, headed by the brilliant but reluctant operative Steve Dark, is that a new category of killer is in the process of being defined.

Only one man belongs to this group.

His targets:
Anyone.

His methods:
Unlimited.

His alias:
Sqweegel.

His classification:
Level 26. – via Goodreads

GRADE 5I am reviewing with a synopsis because the book really isn’t that long and not that much happens that I can write as usual and not spoil the entire damn thing for anyone. Anyway. I thought that this was a pretty cool approach to a novel, really. I liked the way there were video clips to watch throughout the novel, but you didn’t have to watch them to follow the story at all. You can conceivably read it without it, I mean the first time I read this book I didn’t watch the clips, and even this time around I read it first then went back and watched the clips. Level 26: Dark Origins races along, and there are some sick things going on in the story, no two ways about it. It’s a really fast read, light, too, considering what the subject matter is (or I am just grossly desensitised). However, I am not a massive fan of the writing style at all, it was not my thing. It was clunky, the names were ludicrous, dialogue was stilted, the characters superficial, the book didn’t draw me in and make me believe in what was going on. Also, I know that we are supposed to identify with and root for Dark, but I just couldn’t do it. Also, I just felt that the whole situation between Dark and Sibby wasn’t constructed very well at all. I know that we are introduced to another level of depravity here, but the book just didn’t reflect how rough and insane it was supposed to be. Sqweegel being the main villain had so much more potential than was used. He was creepy, and just thinking about his patience and the things that he did is nasty,  but only when you get onto it. I wish that his character had been fleshed out more in a way, made so much scarier, as he should have been. There are also a lot of little pictures throughout the book for chapters that could have been great, but they seem so randomly thrown in that they lost impact. At the end of the day, Level 26: Dark Origins is a light thriller read that will occupy you though not necessarily enthrall you, but it will certainly keep you busy, flaws and all.

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