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July 17, 2009 / schulerbooks

Review: Personal Effects: The Dark Arts by J. C. Hutchins

I’ve noticed a number of titles popping up in the young adult section that are taking an interactive, multi-media approach, tapping into the tech-savvy younger generations through titles that have online components: websites with videos, games and clues that allow a greater immersion in the textual story.

Personal Effects is the first such book I’ve noticed targeted toward adults. While it is written by J. C. Hutchins, the concept (which may become a series) was created by legendary game designer Jordan Weisman as an ARG, or Alternate Reality Game. Not only does the book come with a packet of documents, letters and photographs that you can thumb through, but the intriguing mystery is accented with phone numbers you can actually call, and a web trail to follow.

Zack Taylor, the young art therapist who is assigned to determine whether Martin Grace is mentally fit to stand trial for a slew of brutal murders, leads you through the twisting tale. Grace’s medically unexplainable blindness, and his airtight alibis for all the murders prompt Zack into an exploration of Grace’s past that leads him to the CIA, and even back into his own family history.

A great find for readers who’ve always wanted to be Sherlock.

Check out the author’s website and begin your investigations!


–Whitney, Lansing


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