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Collecting the Dead

Cover of Collecting the Dead

Collecting the Dead

A Novel

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.

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.

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  • Publisher's Weekly

    April 18, 2016
    FBI agent Magnus “Steps” Craig, the narrator of Kope’s compelling debut and series launch, can see the psychic residue—the “shine”—that people, both dead and alive, leave behind them. He uses this peculiar gift as the lead investigator in the FBI’s Special Tracking Unit. Steps is obsessed with a killer he’s dubbed Leonardo, because of the way the murderer, who’s still at large, displays his victims as the Vitruvian Man. More urgently, Steps’s attention is focused on a prolific killer with a penchant for murdering young women in Northern California. After finding a frowning face etched in shine—think of it as colorful paint invisible to everyone but Steps—the agent and his team begin calling the serial killer the Sad Face Killer. Steps knows that Sad Face’s latest abductee is still alive, thanks to the shine on a locket of hers, so it’s a race against time to find her before Sad Face kills her. Kope, the crime analyst for the Whatcom County (Wash.) Sheriff’s Office, has introduced a tortured soul who’s a welcome addition to the library of crime fiction heroes. Agent: Kimberly Cameron, Kimberly Cameron & Associates.

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Collecting the Dead
Collecting the Dead
A Novel
Spencer Kope
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