Facebook Messenger has launched its first novel by US thriller author James Patterson.

Named The Chef, the story follows Detective Caleb Rooney who moonlights as a food truck chef in New Orleans as he deals with a murder accusation.

To find the story, simply search ‘The Chef by James Patterson’ in Messenger and hit the ‘Get Started’ button to see the novel play out. Instead of reading lines of text, the story comes through as chat bubbles, alongside video and audio content.

As the reader, you move the story along by using the dagger emoji.

There is also a Facebook group where fans can discuss theories and ideas about the book, which has nearly 3,000 members so far, and Patterson will hold a Q&A session on Facebook Live.

Patterson has sold around 375 million copies of his books around the world, but this is the first one that has appeared in this digital format. He initially approached Facebook about a year ago with the idea to adapt one or two of his novels in this way.

“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,” said Patterson.

Facebook said The Chef is an experiment and has no set plans to carry out similar projects at the moment.

If Kindle was the first iteration of digital reading, then interactive storytelling is the next step for the future of books. Recently, a new storytelling app Unrd launched on the App Store, which turns your phone into a character’s message inbox, allowing you to explore a novel through messages and video.

The flagship story, Last Seen Online, gives the reader access to the phone of a missing girl. The messages come through in real time, so you go to bed not knowing if the character is alive or dead.

Unrd has been picking up speed already, with Apple choosing it as its App of the Day when it launched. As Facebook Messenger looks to move into this space, it seems like we’re going to spending a lot more time on our phones, albeit productively.

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