Images courtesy of Level 26
It’s been over a year since CSI creator and executive producer Anthony Zuiker unleashed the grim world of Steve Dark upon readers with the release of his first digi-novel, Level 26: Dark Origins, and on Thursday October 14th, Zuiker is returning to the Level 26 universe with the release of Level 26: Dark Prophecy. The date also marks a CSI-Level 26 crossover, as the “forensics-proof” Level 26 villain, Sqweegel, is scheduled to make an appearance in this week’s episode of CSI. What follows is a look back at the Level 26 franchise along with hints of what’s to come for “Special Circs” agent Steve Dark stemming from an interview with Zuiker about the series.
When Level 26: Dark Origins launched last year, it quickly secured its status as an international and New York Times bestseller, now boasting over 100,000 members at the digi-novel’s website, Level26.com. The novel was peppered with 20 five-minute videos serving as “cyberbridges” in the unfolding narrative. The story centered around Steve Dark’s near-obsessive hunt for Sqweegel, a fastidious serial killer who committed his crimes while wearing a white body condom. Zuiker notes that “the book [Level 26: Dark Origins] was very sexually deviant, very dark . . . and it was vamped that way back then beause we were definitely shooting to do things that were too-hot-for-television.”
During the novel’s concluding cyberbridge, viewers were treated to a tantalyzing glimpse of an empty, black body condom, a prelude to Sqweegel actor Daniel Browning Smith’s entrance into the CSI universe. Thursday’s episode, entitled Sqweegel, will serve as an extended cyberbridge of sorts, linking the events of the first book to the sequel. Zuiker explains that “Black Sqweegel will be on CSI as a forensic-proof killer, and when that particular episode ends, the storyline will continue in Dark Prophecy.”