Wednesday, August 19, 2020

ARC Review: Shadows of the Dead by Spencer Kope

Shadows of the Dead
Author: Spencer Kope
Series: Special Tracking Unit (Book 3)
Publication: Minotaur Books (August 25, 2020)

Description: The best tracker in the world, a man with a secret and a special set of skills, must find two nearly untraceable killers before time runs out for their victims, in Spencer Kope's Shadows of the Dead.

A woman―abducted and found in the trunk of a car after a high-speed chase―regains consciousness in the ICU to reveal two crucial pieces of information: the man who kidnapped her is not the same as the man who left her in the woods, and she's not the first victim―in fact, she is number eight.

Magnus “Steps” Craig is part of the elite three-man Special Tracking Unit of the FBI. Known for his ability to find and follow trails over any surface, Steps is called in on cases that require his unparalleled skills. But there’s a secret to his talent. Steps has a kind of synesthesia where he can see the ‘essence’ of a person―what he calls ‘shine’―on everything they’ve touched.

Brought in to track the driver through a dense forest after the blood hounds have lost his trail, Steps and his partner Jimmy find the driver laughing maniacally, babbling about souls, and hiding a pristinely maintained box of eight posed rats. Now the Special Tracking Unit must chase two villains―through not just the real world, but the dark web as well―tracking an enemy they can't see, as time runs out for the unknown victims.

My Thoughts: This is the third mystery starring Magnus "Steps" Craig and his partner Jimmy Donovan. Together they are two parts of a special FBI unit that is called in when someone needs to be found. Steps almost died when he was eight and was revived only to discover that he has an unusual power. He can see something unique about where a person has been and what he has touched. Each person makes a unique path that Steps calls Shine. They are keeping Steps' power a secret.

They are called in to track down a man when a woman is found bound in his trunk. They discover the man which only begins the mystery. The man has a mental illness which makes him delusional. He keeps talking about his partner - the Onion King - who lets him help with his kidnappings. He also tells them that the girl in the trunk is number eight. They aren't at all sure what is real and what is part of the man's delusions - until the girl wakes up and confirms that she was kidnapped by another man and left in the forest for our delusional character to find. 

Our delusional man is identified as Murphy Haze Cotton and, in the course of searching his home, a diorama of rats who are all wearing masks is discovered. Further investigation leads to an isolated cabin which is also a repository for mannequins in masks and a location where the remnants of bodies dissolved in lye are spread.

Steps and Jimmy along with a variety of police officers from a number of jurisdictions are in a rush to identify the missing women who were used to create the masks and track down the elusive Onion King. The case becomes even more urgent when another young woman disappears.

This was an entertaining story with a unique detective. I thought it was well-paced and exciting. 

Favorite Quote:
Criminal investigations are a bit like playing Ping-Pong in the dark with marshmallows; no one ever knows the score and you spend half your time searching for the marshmallows.

I received this one in exchange for an honest review from Edelweiss. You can buy your copy here.

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