Author: Spencer Kope
Publisher: Minotaur Books
Rating: 5 stars
Buy Links: Amazon
Provided by Publisher
Blurb: Magnus “Steps” Craig is part of the elite three-man Special Tracking Unit of the FBI. Called in on special cases where his skills are particularly needed, he works as a tracker. The media dubs him “The Human Bloodhound,” since Steps is renowned for his incredible ability to find and follow trails over any surface better than anyone else. But there’s a secret to his success. Steps has a special ability—a kind of synesthesia—where he can see the ‘essence’ of a person, something he calls ‘shine,’ on everything they’ve touched. His ability is known to only a few people—his father, the director of the FBI, and his partner, Special Agent Jimmy Donovan.
When the remains of a murdered woman are found, Steps recognizes the shine left by the murderer from another crime scene with a physically similar victim. And he uncovers the signature at both scenes—the mark of a sad face. At the same time, another killer, one Steps has dubbed Leonardo and has been trying to track for over ten years, appears again, taunting Steps. But while Steps tries to find a clue that will lead him to Leonardo, the case of the Sad Face Killer heats up. The team uncovers eleven possible victims: missing women who fit the same pattern. Using his skill and the resources of the Bureau, it is a race against time to find the killer before it’s too late.
Review: This mystery was so compelling and felt like it only touched the surface of what this detecting duo can do. There is so much more to be learned about Magnus Craig and James Donovan and the unique way they work together, mixing the spirit world with solid DNA evidence, police training, and procedure. Spencer Kope is new to me but after reading Collecting the Dead, I’ll be watching him closely.
Using a gift he received early in his childhood, Magnus aka Steps can see where others have left a mark–like a soul touch. By reading these shines, not only can he tell if someone has been to a place, he can sometimes see the crimes that happened there. Unfortunately, his gift is somewhat hard to explain, so he frequently has to pretend to track or search to find plausible evidence where he knows the crimes occurred. His partner Jimmy is very important in keeping him reined in and in helping to ground him.
In this book, however, the fascinating character is almost overshadowed by the killers. The Sad Face killer is horrible to contemplate, and when Steps and Jimmy start slowly realizing the time bomb on their hands, fear overrides any satisfaction that their investigation may soon be solved. They know who he’s got; now they’re trying to find out where he’s put them.
What if they aren’t in time?
This is a great, suspenseful read and I can’t wait for the next one to come out! #GetLeonardo