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December 22, 2014

Review: CSI - The Interactive Mystery

by Danny Gallagher, posted Dec 6th 2009 2:02PM
Remember those pop-up books you used to read as a kid and the sheer fun you had make the bunny jump over the fence or the kid deliver jelly beans to the sausage factory?

Why can't adults have the same thing? And I mean for books other than dirty ones?

Quirk Books and Chronicle Books have done just that with the never-ending CSI franchise. CSI: The Interactive Mystery by Sam Stall is a hardcover short mystery story done in the traditional style but with an interesting twist that makes it a fun and unique read. And yes, it still requires reading. Screw Egon Spengler, print ain't dead.

The story plays just like your average CSI episode. It opens with a body and a crime scene and all the CSI regulars crowded around it cracking more inappropriate jokes than Don Rickles at the United Nations. Since it's hard to really see the details that make the CSI show work, it's filled with plenty of key photos pointing out parts of the scene that a crime scene analyst would consider important. so your brain doesn't expand and seep out through your eyes from the overflow of information you think you might need.

Pretty soon, the truly interactive part comes into play. Snippets of physical evidence are included in the book that you can take out of proportional evidence baggies and envelopes as "clues" to help guide you to the killer. Items such an innocuous book of Japanese haiku, registries and even gruesome autopsy photos. Some of the items require more interactivity such as a bundle of shredded documents that you have to piece together with delicate fingers. The best part is they all can be taken out of the book and spread out on a desk or coffee table so you can fully examine all the evidence or leave them out during parties for awkward after dinner conversations.

Of course, if you're a fan of the series, you're going to like it but the interactive element actually makes it an enjoyable read. The characters don't shine through as much in terms of their personality but the mystery makes it fun and helps it reach a wider audience since it would bog down people who don't watch it. It's also a pretty intermediate mystery to solve and having all the clues at your fingertips instead of jumbled in your head like a giant gum-wad actually gives you a sporting chance. The answer is literally right under your nose.

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