With an international backdrop, this interactive adventure is a thrill ride determined to keep readers engaged—to the point where it needs to resort to occasionally nudging them in the “right” direction.
Jackson is an art journalist with a recurring, potentially fatal case of right-place-wrong-time. While interviewing a skittish curator in Greece, he witnesses her murder and is promptly dropped into an underworld of assassins who want to eliminate him. There's also a beautiful Interpol agent who (hopefully) wants to help him and an antagonist who combats mortality by living sans skull. In choose-your-own-adventure style, readers determine the narrative’s path by swiping, tapping, tilting and manipulating the device while also gradually shaping Jackson’s personality and character. Once a decision is made, it is logged onto the servers (with the option to share via Facebook) and can be compared with those of “friends.” Regretting the selection of “stumble” instead of “steady yourself”? Choices can be altered simply by re-reading the chapter. Interactive elements will keep readers actively involved (the device is used as a steering wheel in a car chase at one point). Though Jackson’s fate is theoretically driven by the choice of readers, there are points of obvious manipulation. For instance, if readers conservatively elect not to investigate a ransacked room, they will almost immediately be led back to do so anyway. Select settings and story elements (the Catacombs of Paris, the Seine) have informative hyperlinks that perpetuate engagement. However, links lead to Wikipedia rather than a more fact-driven resource. An ending involving telekinesis and possible homicide will likely lure readers into the next installment, which, like this title, can be accessed only through the developer's Crowded Fiction interactive app.
An entertaining-enough thriller that is equally saturated with action and interaction.