ABC's 'Whodunnit?' Gets Tie-In Book Series By Creator

"CSI" mastermind Anthony E. Zuiker will explore the backstory to crimes featured on the mystery reality show.

ABC and Hyperion Books are deepening the mystery of the network’s upcoming Whodunnit? with a book series by creator Anthony E. Zuiker.

ABC’s mystery reality series sees 13 contestants living together in a mansion, each week tasked with collecting evidence to solve an elaborate crime. One contestant will be eliminated each week until only three remain. But one of them is actually the killer, and the contestant who unmasks the criminal will receive a $250,000 prize.

Zuiker’s novels will develop the backstory of the show’s murders and its host character, Butler Giles (Gildart Jackson).

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The first book, Whodunnit? Murder at Mystery Mannor, will be released digitally on June 18, a week before the show’s June 23 premiere. A second will be released with the series finale in August.

The Whodunnit? novels are not Zuiker’s first foray into cross-platform literature. The CSI creator also writes Level 26, a series of “digi-novels” that began in 2011. The novels each tie to short video clip “cyberbridges” on the series’ website, and in 2010 Zuiker brought a Level 26 character into a CSI episode.

“Zuiker is a brilliantly creative television executive and novelist,” Hyperion president and publisher Ellen Archer said in a statement Tuesday. “We believe his forward-thinking approach to over-the-top complementary storytelling in print and television will generate legions of readers and viewers.”

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“Ever since I was a kid, I had a passion for mysteries and crime solving, so I jumped at the opportunity with Whodunnit? to create a cross-platform storytelling experience where the book tees up the show and the show then tees up the book,” Zuiker said in a statement.

Hyperion Editorial Director of Franchise Publishing Laura Hopper will edit the series.