Best-selling crime author James Patterson has released an interactive thriller novel on Facebook Messenger, and instead of turning a page, the only way to progress through the story is by clicking the knife emoji.
The Chef follows the exploits of Caleb Rooney, a New Orleans "police detective by day, celebrity food truck chef by night." Rooney finds himself under investigation for murder, so he's got to follow the trail of clues — and that means you can too.
Want to dig in? The Chef has been sitting in wait on Messenger since Oct. 30, but the hard copy is not due out until Feb. 2019. All you have to do is hit "send message" to the Facebook page for The Chef by James Patterson to get started.
Click that knife emoji to cut to the chase.
Image: mashable screenshot
You're encouraged to use the knife emoji to progress through the story's 34 chapters, and "review evidence" by swiping through image carousels, or hitting play on video testimonies, depositions, and surveillance footage, along with sound clips.
At first glance, it's a pretty, uh, novel experience. There are little asides that shake up the regular pace of Patterson's story, for example, when Rooney mentions something he's cooking in the food truck, you can ask for the recipe. Whether I can keep this enthusiasm up for 34 chapters remains to be seen.
The story's not just restricted to Messenger, however. The novel's protagonist, Caleb Rooney, has an Instagram account, stocked with pics from his fictional food truck "Killer Chef", his partner, Marlene, and a mysterious "guy in yellow."
Patterson will be taking part in live Q&As on Facebook, with dates to be announced.
“Ten years ago, if you told me I'd see one of my novels come to life through scrolling chat bubbles, I would have laughed," reads a statement from the author.
"But exploring new ways to connect with fans is important to me and Messenger's experience for The Chef not only makes the story more accessible to readers across new generations, but offers an enticing and thrilling read like never before."