BookBin2013: Mr. CSI: How a Vegas Dreamer Made a Killing in Hollywood, One Body at a Time


As you can already tell by the types of books I review here at the lair, I don’t read many autobiographies, biographies, or memoirs. I suppose because I’d much rather lose myself to a good fictional tale or immerse myself in the non-fiction minutia of one of my nerdy fandoms. I do (infrequently) purchase these more people-oriented books, if it’s about or by someone I’m terribly interested in, but they tend to languish, unread, far longer than my other purchases. Apparently, my general disinterest in people extends beyond the every-day disdain and into my free-time reading choices.

What better way to start to ease myself into the task of tackling at least some of the bio-esque books from my collection than through one of my nerdy fandoms? That’s why this review, denizens, is brought to you by three of my favorite letters in the alphabet: C, S, and I.

That’s Mr. CSI to you, however…or, if you’d rather, Anthony Zuiker, creator of that smexy team of Vegas criminalists that made science-based procedurals ubiquitous across the channel spectrum. In traditional memoir style, Zuiker maps for us the path that led him to create the biggest cash-cow franchise that Paramount’s sunk their teeth into, possibly since Trek.

What I found most intriguing about this book is that, for the most part, it’s Zuiker telling us absolutely nothing about CSI…while telling us absolutely everything about CSI. It almost reads like an episode script: Give the reader a stunning cold open, then flash into back story, full of clues and foreshadowing all along the way, and see if they can piece it all together on their own.

There’s even a grisly crime scene and guest appearances by real people who inspired characters from the Vegas series. Zuiker confirms the identity of one of his inspirations. Others are very obvious, even if they remain unidentified.

I have to admit, denizens: I really enjoyed this book. Not all that surprising, I suppose, considering the source material. However, before I read this, I didn’t know anything about Zuiker; I didn’t even know what he looked like until I saw the book cover. I had no idea that he grew up in Vegas, surrounded by the people who would later populate the world of his greatest professional creation to date. Reading this book gave me some great CSI trivia as well as a pretty decent understanding of what motivated Zuiker, not just to create this show but to persist in all his creative endeavors. I guess you could say this is kind of a memoir/detective novel/self-help/motivational speaker book.

Whatever you classify it as, it’s a quick, enjoyable read, but definitely meant primarily for CSI fans. You might enjoy some aspects of it if you’ve never watched CSI, but you’re going to miss a lot. “True believers,” however, will probably really dig the ride. I know I did.

Final Verdict: Yeah, this one’s a keeper. I actually have a shelf dedicated to memoirs and such, and Zuiker has definitely earned his spot…now, excuse me while I go cordon it off with some crime scene tape…