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.
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.