Article by Suzanne Philips,photo copyright Harper Collins
In 1990, Anthony Zuiker was just another Hollywood wannabe—a balding, overweight guy driving a tram in Las Vegas for eight bucks an hour, telling his friends about the screenplay he was writing, dreaming of fame. He’d grown up in Vegas, where his mother worked the blackjack table at a casino, while his father flitted back and forth from investment schemes that didn’t seem to go anywhere. His friends figured Anthony wouldn’t either.
But twenty years later, Zuiker stands as the mastermind behind the most popular television show in history, CSI: Crime Scene Investigation, and its spin-offs: CSI: Miami and CSI: NY. How he got there—a remarkable rise from nothing to something—is the narrative lifeblood of Mr. CSI, only, like the show itself, there’s a catch:
On a January morning in 2005, Zuiker got a call from the Las Vegas Police Department while he was working at his desk on a script for CSI: NY. His estranged father, whom Zuiker hadn’t seen for a decade, had put a shotgun in his mouth and pulled the trigger.
So begins Mr. CSI, a book that frames Zuiker’s astonishing ascendency to fame and fortune with an unsettling and honest appraisal of his father’s suicide. It’s a book that uses the conventions that have made CSI a worldwide success to tell a far more personal story, of what one man left behind in his success and what he gained when he returned.
One might assume that Mr. CSI would be a “how-to” book of sorts on how to get a television show made or how to achieve your goals. While the book is that to some extent, it is also so much more. Zuiker’s journey to come to grips with his tumultuous relationship with his estranged father is prominent throughout the book and is told in a sort of “no holds barred” style that is both refreshing and endearing. You can feel the pain and resignation that Zuiker feels over that relationship come across the page. Kudos to Mr. Zuiker for putting it all out there for the world to read.
The book is also a fascinating look at what goes into making a successful television franchise. It’s refreshing to see the world of Hollywood from a newcomers point of view – the reader feels like they are going through part of the ups and downs with Zuiker.
Mr. CSI will certainly be a delight for fans of the shows, but is also a lovely look into family dynamics and how to make peace with your past.
Look for Mr. CSI in your local booksellers or find it online at www.amazon.com.