The creator of one of TV's most successful franchises spills his guts.
Zuiker knows how to tell a story, and like most episodes of CSI, this one begins with a grisly crime scene in a low-rent Las Vegas apartment. There, the real-life inspirations for the author's fictional characters discovered the body of his long-estranged father, dead from a self-inflicted gunshot wound. Zuiker received the news the next morning, after having attended an awards show the night before, and his return to his hometown to deal with the aftermath provides a gripping start to his memoir. The reminiscences about his troubled relationship with his father, a hustler in the old Vegas mold, distinguish the book as more than an ordinary autobiography of a self-made man. But the majority of the narrative is just that, told with humor and a notable lack of ego. Zuiker's ambition to succeed was clear from an early age, and he embarked on a series of often ill-advised get-rich schemes, including selling dice games of his own creation through vending machines and creating advertising ideas for businesses from casinos to adult stores. However, it was his involvement with scholastic public-speaking competitions that led to his eventual triumph in Hollywood. The actual creation of the CSI franchise makes up a relatively small part of the story, though there are a few anecdotes about the stars and the people behind the scenes. The promise of the book's beginning remains largely unfulfilled, however, as Zuiker finds forgiveness for his father's shortcomings but fails to explore their impact on his life.
A well-told tale of rags to Hollywood riches, but a missed opportunity for a deeper exploration of a creative mind.