A series of bizarre murders—the victims nearly unidentifiable—forces FBI tracker “Steps” Craig to match wits with the most cold-blooded killer he’s ever encountered.
There has been a murder, but not only is the identity of the victim unknown, most of the body itself is missing. All that’s been found is a pair of feet, stored in a portable cooler, and left in the house of a Federal judge in El Paso, Texas. The killer apparently broke into the judge’s house, left his grizzly message, and disappeared without a trace. With no clues as to the killer, the person killed, or the intent behind the cooler, all the authorities really know is that this likely isn’t the killer’s first—or his last—victim.
Magnus “Steps” Craig is an FBI agent and an elite tracker, easily the best in the world. Steps is renowned for his incredible ability to find and follow trails over any surface. As part of the three-man special team, FBI’s Special Tracking Unit (STU), he is called in on cases where his skills are indispensable. But there’s a secret to his skill. Steps has a kind of synesthesia, an ability that allows him to see whatever each particular person has touched in a unique color—what Steps calls ‘shine.’ His ability is known to only a few people—his father, the director of the FBI, and his partner, Special Agent Jimmy Donovan.
While the Special Tracking Unit tries to grapple with the gruesome scene in El Paso, they soon discover another, earlier victim. Once again, only the feet—in a disposable icebox—were left behind. With almost no clues besides the body parts, Steps and his team find themselves enmeshed in the most difficult case of their careers. And The Icebox Killer has only just begun.
Kope's disappointing sequel to 2016's Collecting the Dead takes Magnus "Steps" Craig, an FBI agent with the ability to see an individual's "shine" (a unique color signature), and his partner in the elite Special Tracking Unit, Jimmy Donovan, to El Paso, Tex., where a federal judge has discovered a pair of severed feet packed in a cheap ice chest in his living room. Steps uses the shine of the person he dubs the Ice Box Killer to follow the culprit on a winding route that takes him and Donovan to the swamps of Louisiana and into the deserts of New Mexico. While Steps's enhanced visual sense came across as an interesting, if not entirely believable, quirk in the previous book, this time it serves as a plot crutch that allows pieces of the narrative to fall too easily into place. Steps and Donovan both display questionable law enforcement knowledge throughout (e.g., they don't know how many murders someone has to commit in order to be considered a serial killer), lending the whole novel an air of inauthenticity. Readers will hope that Kope, a Washington State police crime analyst, will put his expertise to better use next time.