cover image Shadows of the Dead

Shadows of the Dead

Spencer Kope. Minotaur, $27.99 (384p) ISBN 978-1-250-17834-3

Early in Kope’s relentless third novel featuring Magnus Craig, the leader of the FBI’s Special Tracking Unit (after 2018’s Whispers of the Dead), Craig and his partner, Jimmy Donovan, succeed in capturing “mental train wreck” Murphy Cotton at a remote cabin on Washington’s Olympic Peninsula. In the trunk of a car Cotton has stolen is a bound woman, Charice Qian. Craig and Donovan learn from Cotton that he kidnapped Charice on behalf of someone he knows only as the Onion King. Cotton refers to Charice as Eight, leading the FBI agents to believe that there are at least seven other victims who might still be alive. Aided by other FBI personnel, Craig and Donovan make a gruesome discovery deep in the woods that helps them identify the other victims. Craig has a secret ability that he calls “shine” that allows him to perceive that surfaces have been touched by specific individuals months or even years afterward. Not a magic bullet, this ability is a useful tool for identifying suspects, victims, and locations, but it can’t be used to secure a search warrant, replace a computer search, or make entry into a building. By layering Craig’s skill with traditional FBI procedural techniques, Kope has created something truly special. Agent: Kimberly Cameron, Kimberly Cameron & Assoc. (Aug.)