Collecting the Dead

Collecting the Dead

First book in the FBI Special Tracking Unit (STU) series.  The three-person STU, based in Bellingham, Washington, is a highly competent team hand-picked by the Director of the FBI because of their special skill sets.  Operations Specialist Magnus "Steps" Craig is the heart of the unit.  Gifted—he would say cursed—with a slightly paranormal tracking ability, he can walk onto a crime scene and immediately see everywhere someone walked and everything they touched.  The problem is figuring out who the tracks belong to.

Steps's partner is Special Agent Jimmy Donovan.  A seasoned FBI agent, Jimmy is not only a partner, but a friend, a counselor, and a bodyguard to Steps.  The final member of the team is Intelligence Analyst Diane Parker, who rarely leaves the office and seems to live and breathe data.

While Steps and Jimmy fly around the country on the unit's Gulfstream G100, affectionately nicknamed Betsy, Diane dissects databases and digs for information from her cozy office in Hangar 7, the secure facility at the Bellingham International Airport that serves as both headquarters for the team, and home for Betsy.

In Collecting the Dead, Steps and Jimmy find themselves in northern California hunting for a serial killer who leaves behind an unusual calling card.  As the bodies begin to stack up, so do the risks.  Steps and Jimmy soon find themselves in a cat-and-mouse game with a cunning and ruthless monster.

Favorite Reviews:

"Kope, a professional crime analyst, brings a refreshing authenticity to his work, then raises the stakes several notches by giving Steps, from whose point of view the story unravels, a unique, funny, and intriguing voice. Crammed with characters who will capture readers' attention and writing that leaves much of the field in the dust, Kope’s novel features a character who is different, talented, sympathetic, and gifted with great heart."

                             Kirkus Reviews - starred review           Click HERE for full review


"Readers who enjoy serial killer novels will be talking about this book for months."

                             Library Journal - starred review 


"Kope, a working crime analyst for a county sheriff in Washington State, avoids the histrionic low road of serial murder fiction, using his experience to enliven the plot with the intricacies of profiling and detection."

                             Chicago Tribune               Click HERE for full review 


"Since childhood, Steps has been able to read a bad guy’s aura, a soft glowing trace that the bad guy leaves on whatever he comes in contact with. Steps calls it a person’s “shine,” and it’s Steps’s way with shine, which comes across as an altogether believable concept, that moves Spencer Kope’s first crime novel, featuring a chase after a diabolical serial killer, into a thrillingly original category."

                              Toronto Star                      Click HERE for full review


"Collecting the Dead is a white-knuckled, breathtaking thriller with one hell of a cast of characters. Magnus “Steps” Craig is the neatest new hero on the genre block."

                            Open Letters Monthly        Click HERE for full review


"A heart-thumping yarn from a real-life crime analyst"

                            The Boston Globe             Click HERE for full review
                            from their "Quintessential Summer Reading Guide"


"Steps is a welcome new series protagonist, not only because of his unusual talent but also his sense of humor and personality. He hates forests—“They’re like nightmares with leaves”—but often ends up in one while tracking criminals."

                              Pop Culture Nerd            Click HERE for full review 


"Spencer Kope would be the most interesting guy in the room even if he hadn’t just published his debut thriller . . . Like the best books of the thriller genre, this one is driven in equal parts by characters (not just Steps) and plot. It’s difficult to put down, given that Kope has constructed one loudly ticking clock."

                             Bookreporter                   Click HERE for full review


"Kope, a crime analyst for the Whatcom County, Wash., Sheriff’s Office, hypnotizes the reader in this brilliant debut, not only for its addictive storyline but also by creating, in Steps, a good man blessed and plagued by his particular talent. Endlessly frightening, occasionally funny, “Collecting the Dead” portends a great future for author and hero in a promised sequel — and beyond."

                           Richmond Times-Dispatch       Click HERE for full review


"Kope . . . has introduced a tortured soul who’s a welcome addition to the library of crime fiction heroes."

                          Publishers Weekly                     Click HERE for full review