Spencer Kope

I came to my career as a Crime Analyst with the Whatcom County Sheriff's Office after spending the better part of my adult life (up to that point) in the intelligence business, first as a Russian linguist in the Navy, then as an Intelligence Operations Specialist with the Office of Naval Intelligence (ONI).  Along the way I did and saw a lot of interesting, sometimes disturbing things, and it was during my Navy years that I started writing.
 
By the late-90s I had a couple novels and two nonfiction directories published.  They were all small press, but one of them won a Small Press Book Award at the BookExpo in Chicago in 1998, and another was picked up as a Featured Alternate selection of the Military Book Club.
 
While my earlier novels were geared for the young adult market, my position as Crime Analyst got me thinking:  If I can solve crimes, why not write about them?
 
So I did, and I love it!
 
The first two books, Collecting the Dead and A Shine So Cold, follow the exploits of the FBI's Special Tracking Unit (STU)—a fictitious organization based in my hometown of Bellingham, Washington.  To call the STU a “unit” is a little presumptuous, since there are only three members:  Special Agent Jimmy Donovan, his partner, Magnus Craig, and Analyst Diane Parker.
 
The Special Tracking Unit has many secrets, the biggest of which is that Magnus, AKA Steps, has a slightly paranormal ability that allows him to walk onto a crime scene and see everything the suspect touched and everywhere he walked.  Steps calls it “shine” and describes it as residual energy.  As interesting as this sounds, it would be of limited use, but for one thing:  like fingerprints and DNA, everyone’s “shine” is unique. 
 
The only people who know about this special ability are FBI Director Robert Carlson, Jimmy, and Steps’ dad . . . and none of them are talking.
Back in the day . . . this is my "official" Office of Naval Intelligence (ONI) photo, taken in late 1995.
One of my earlier nicknames at the Sheriff's Office was Jedi Master, which led to a Christmas gift exchange where I received a bobblehead "Evil Yoda."  Apparently, this is what I look like if I don't get my mocha in the morning.
 
Silly, I know.  My teeth look nothing like that.
On safari in Kenya, 1985.
 
We gave our guide fits when we decided to get out of the Land Rover and do some exploring on foot.