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Echoes of the Dead

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A group of missing friends forces 'Steps' Craig to contend with the most twisted killer he's ever encountered in Spencer Kope's Echoes of the Dead. Magnus “Steps” Craig is the best 'tracker' in the world, renowned for his ability to follow a person's trail anywhere - no matter the terrain or how old the trail. Steps utilizes his unique talent as part of the elite thr A group of missing friends forces 'Steps' Craig to contend with the most twisted killer he's ever encountered in Spencer Kope's Echoes of the Dead. Magnus “Steps” Craig is the best 'tracker' in the world, renowned for his ability to follow a person's trail anywhere - no matter the terrain or how old the trail. Steps utilizes his unique talent as part of the elite three-man Special Tracking Unit of the FBI, which is called in on cases that require his unparalleled skills. But there’s a secret to his success. Steps has a kind of synesthesia where he can see the ‘essence’ of a person—which appears to him as a unique color or pattern he calls "shine"—on everything they’ve touched. It's a secret Steps has shared with a rare few people and could, if revealed, endanger not only himself but the unit that he serves. Steps and the Special Tracking Unit are called in on a new case where the local law enforcement is baffled. Four friends have vanished while on their annual fly-fishing trip—a congressman, a district attorney, a CEO of a major accounting firm, and a cofounder of a successful hedge fund. Now, Steps must search some of the most treacherous terrain, the Sierra Nevada range, as one by one time begins to run out for the missing men. Desperate to save whoever they can, Steps and his team discover that this is no simple missing persons case, but one with sinister motivations unlike any they've seen before.


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A group of missing friends forces 'Steps' Craig to contend with the most twisted killer he's ever encountered in Spencer Kope's Echoes of the Dead. Magnus “Steps” Craig is the best 'tracker' in the world, renowned for his ability to follow a person's trail anywhere - no matter the terrain or how old the trail. Steps utilizes his unique talent as part of the elite thr A group of missing friends forces 'Steps' Craig to contend with the most twisted killer he's ever encountered in Spencer Kope's Echoes of the Dead. Magnus “Steps” Craig is the best 'tracker' in the world, renowned for his ability to follow a person's trail anywhere - no matter the terrain or how old the trail. Steps utilizes his unique talent as part of the elite three-man Special Tracking Unit of the FBI, which is called in on cases that require his unparalleled skills. But there’s a secret to his success. Steps has a kind of synesthesia where he can see the ‘essence’ of a person—which appears to him as a unique color or pattern he calls "shine"—on everything they’ve touched. It's a secret Steps has shared with a rare few people and could, if revealed, endanger not only himself but the unit that he serves. Steps and the Special Tracking Unit are called in on a new case where the local law enforcement is baffled. Four friends have vanished while on their annual fly-fishing trip—a congressman, a district attorney, a CEO of a major accounting firm, and a cofounder of a successful hedge fund. Now, Steps must search some of the most treacherous terrain, the Sierra Nevada range, as one by one time begins to run out for the missing men. Desperate to save whoever they can, Steps and his team discover that this is no simple missing persons case, but one with sinister motivations unlike any they've seen before.

30 review for Echoes of the Dead

  1. 4 out of 5

    Matt

    First and foremost, a large thank you to NetGalley, Spencer Kope, St. Martin’s Press, and Minotaur Books for providing me with a copy of this publication, which allows me to provide you with an unbiased review. Spencer Kope returns with his fourth novel in this unique crime procedural series, using the abilities of two men to track people down using their own personal skills. The Special Tracking Unit is known around the country for their abilities, but it is the work of Magnus ‘Steps’ Craig, who First and foremost, a large thank you to NetGalley, Spencer Kope, St. Martin’s Press, and Minotaur Books for providing me with a copy of this publication, which allows me to provide you with an unbiased review. Spencer Kope returns with his fourth novel in this unique crime procedural series, using the abilities of two men to track people down using their own personal skills. The Special Tracking Unit is known around the country for their abilities, but it is the work of Magnus ‘Steps’ Craig, who can see ‘shine’ that adds new depth to the investigation. This may be the more harrowing case yet, with dead ends and a mysterious undertone that connects all those involved. Kope keeps getting better the more this series progresses. Four men have been enjoying an annual fishing trip for the past two decades. It’s a way to escape their daily lives and enjoy a little camaraderie. When they don’t check in at the expected time, families worry and calls are made. Due to the notoriety of one man on the trip, Washington becomes involved, which means a call to the Special Tracking Unit. Jimmy Donovan and Magnus ‘Steps’ Craig comprise the Unit, working together to locate those who have gone missing. Steps has a special ability, seeing each person’s unique ‘shine’ or glimmer they emit, which helps with tracking and forensic progression. However, it’s also a detriment, as has become apparent in cases past. Together, they travel to California and begin their investigation, only to land in the middle of something odd. When one of the victims is apparently found on a park bench, things soon turn baffling. It’s not actually the victim, but a man who has recently died and been buried. This body, having been placed in a coffin, is now out and wearing one of the missing men’s clothes. As Steps and Donovan follow the local authorities, it’s revealed that this has been a body swap and someone was buried alive. Unsure what to make of the killer or their antics, Steps and Donovan must continue working, trying to hone in on anything, including shine, to get answers. After a second body is discovered, it’s a race to learn the motive and rationale. What may be a political connection could also be something completely different, which only complicates the investigation. Time is running out and the body count keeps mounting. I discovered Spencer Kope’s books and could not get enough of this unique take on the crime procedural genre. There is something refreshing about a unique take, while still keeping the reader completely attached to the story. Kope writes well and leaves the reader eager to see what awaits in this non-stop novels. Steps and Donovan surely take centre stage in this piece, using their skills to track down not only the four missing men, but a killer with an axe to grind. While there is a little backstory when it comes to Steps, that is mostly a means of reminding readers what’s happened to him. Personal and professional growth is key in this novel, occurring throughout and keeping the series fan glued to what is to come. As the novels have progressed, I have become more attached to both men, eager to see what awaits and how they will progress. Kope uses a strong writing style and sinister crime to lure readers into the middle of this piece. There’s nothing like a crime thriller to get the blood pumping, but it is the uniqueness of solving it that adds something special. A great narrative, with constant movement, helps catapult Kope to the top of the genre, while the story never loses focus on what’s important. One would not think that tracking the missing and those who have committed crimes could be so intriguing, though Spencer Kope has found a way, so much so that I cannot wait to see what he’s got coming in the future. Kudos, Mr. Kope, for another winner. I can only hope that others will discover this series and find the same enjoyment . Be sure to check for my review, first posted on Mystery and Suspense, as well as a number of other insightful comments by other reviewers. https://www.mysteryandsuspense.com/ec... Love/hate the review? An ever-growing collection of others appears at: http://pecheyponderings.wordpress.com/ A Book for All Seasons, a different sort of Book Challenge: https://www.goodreads.com/group/show/...

  2. 4 out of 5

    Fiona

    I have rules about cemeteries. Well... now I have rules about cemeteries. I may have just made them up, but they still apply. The main rule, the most important rule, is that if someone starts to run, you follow. You don't pause to assess the situation; you don't worry about looking silly or scared, you just run. At a minimum, you need to run as fast as the person you're following; that way you don't get left behind. Getting left behind is bad. If you can run faster, that's even better. I've seen so I have rules about cemeteries. Well... now I have rules about cemeteries. I may have just made them up, but they still apply. The main rule, the most important rule, is that if someone starts to run, you follow. You don't pause to assess the situation; you don't worry about looking silly or scared, you just run. At a minimum, you need to run as fast as the person you're following; that way you don't get left behind. Getting left behind is bad. If you can run faster, that's even better. I've seen some odd things that I can't explain during my time with the Special Tracking Unit, things revealed by shine that convince me there's something beyond death. This should be comforting news, and it usually is, but not when I'm standing in a graveyard on the cusp of night. There's a certain genre of book that really had it's peak around the 2000's - books like the Charlie Parker series, Nelson Demille's John Corey novels, the Carson Ryder books - my first real introduction to novels about serial killers and the men that chase them. Like YA, there's only a few authors of this genre I'll still read today - snarky male protagonists and diabolical genius killers get a little samey - and Spencer Kope has written a series that I'm absolutely hooked on. We do have a snarky male protagonist, but Steps is unusual for more than just his ability to see shine - he's a little more thoughtful, and not afraid to be a civilian among the sea of law enforcement he usually finds himself in. The everyday considerations of his talent are also well done, not intrusive, but bring up some interesting points that made me really see the downside of being able to see every trace of human contact with your surroundings (motel rooms - need I say more?) There was a bit of a lack of that ability having much bearing on the case this time, but I still found this a solid entry in the series. It's nice to have a set of books that reliably work for some crimey, bantery entertainment, so I'll definitely be back for the next.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Val

    I have been hooked on this series from the first book! Steps and his synesthesia are utterly fascinating to me. The premise of this book is: "Four friends have vanished while on their annual fly-fishing trip—a congressman, a district attorney, a CEO of a major accounting firm, and a co-founder of a successful hedge fund." The FBI's Special Tracking Unit, which is made up of Jimmy Donovan, Magnus “Steps” Craig, and aided by the brilliant Diane (who is able to find anything there is to be found on I have been hooked on this series from the first book! Steps and his synesthesia are utterly fascinating to me. The premise of this book is: "Four friends have vanished while on their annual fly-fishing trip—a congressman, a district attorney, a CEO of a major accounting firm, and a co-founder of a successful hedge fund." The FBI's Special Tracking Unit, which is made up of Jimmy Donovan, Magnus “Steps” Craig, and aided by the brilliant Diane (who is able to find anything there is to be found on the internet) is called upon to determine where the missing men are. What begins as a missing persons case turns into a case that is as gruesome as the pacing is relentless! (I honestly don't remember the previous books as being quite as disturbing.) Having said that, however, I still love this unique series and can't wait to see what's next!

  4. 5 out of 5

    Aristotle

    Walking the thin line between the natural and the supernatural can be very risky. Once again the author crossed the chasm successfully. This was more of a police procedural. The 'Shine' was a sub plot. Steps, Jimmy, and Diane make a great trio. The ending. I have to wait a year for the next book? Oh, come on! Read book one to better understand the 'Shine' Walking the thin line between the natural and the supernatural can be very risky. Once again the author crossed the chasm successfully. This was more of a police procedural. The 'Shine' was a sub plot. Steps, Jimmy, and Diane make a great trio. The ending. I have to wait a year for the next book? Oh, come on! Read book one to better understand the 'Shine'

  5. 5 out of 5

    Laura Rash

    I love this series and this was an awesome addition to it! Many thanks to the publisher for this copy:)

  6. 5 out of 5

    Jean

    Echoes of the Dead is the 4rth book in the Special Tracking Unit. This can be read as a stand-alone. I have been a fan of this series from the beginning. This book had it all. It was fast-paced with an interesting plot. The characters are well developed. Steps, is such a unique character, it is a refreshing addition to the crime genre. His portrayal of moments of emotion, fear, anger and witty banter makes him human. Looking forward to reading the next book in the series. Thank you to NetGalley, Echoes of the Dead is the 4rth book in the Special Tracking Unit. This can be read as a stand-alone. I have been a fan of this series from the beginning. This book had it all. It was fast-paced with an interesting plot. The characters are well developed. Steps, is such a unique character, it is a refreshing addition to the crime genre. His portrayal of moments of emotion, fear, anger and witty banter makes him human. Looking forward to reading the next book in the series. Thank you to NetGalley, St. Martin's Press and Spencer Kope for a copy of "Echoes of the Dead" in exchange of a fair and honest review.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Jess

    The writing is really good, and I love these characters. But I didn’t feel like Steps had to use “shine” much in this book, and that’s a disappointment! It’s the most interesting aspect of the series, and it really wasn’t needed here. I also thought this book was really gruesome, and I got a bit uncomfortable reading it towards the end.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Wayward Readers Book Blog

    This is the fourth book in the series but can be read as a stand-alone. Spencer Kope offers a unique crime thriller with a hint of sci-fi. The storyline is fast-paced and intriguing as the “team” sets out to investigate a series of murders. Kope’s refreshing approach and main character’s peculiarity makes the narrative standout in an overcrowded genre. Love this series. Thank you to #NetGalley for the ARC of #EchoesofTheDead which was read and reviewed voluntarily.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Cathy Cole

    It's almost as if Spencer Kope read my mind. I've often wondered about killers who had someone in their childhoods treat them horribly... why couldn't they kill the persons who abused them instead of annihilating so many innocent people? In Echoes of the Dead, he takes this thought of mine, turns it on its head a bit, and runs with it. Due to his synesthesia, Steps Craig is an old soul in a young man's body, and this fourth book in the Special Tracking Unit series finally shows readers that his p It's almost as if Spencer Kope read my mind. I've often wondered about killers who had someone in their childhoods treat them horribly... why couldn't they kill the persons who abused them instead of annihilating so many innocent people? In Echoes of the Dead, he takes this thought of mine, turns it on its head a bit, and runs with it. Due to his synesthesia, Steps Craig is an old soul in a young man's body, and this fourth book in the Special Tracking Unit series finally shows readers that his personal life is taking some very important, and very beneficial, strides forward. I always enjoy reading how he and partner Jimmy Donovan (one of the few who know his secret) work together, and in this book, they get some first-rate help from a member of local law enforcement. The violence in Echoes of the Dead seems to have been raised a notch or two, which will make it very uncomfortable for those readers who have a low tolerance for such things, but although I had a moment or two of unease, I am the type of reader who only becomes more determined to catch the killer when this happens. I also noticed something that will please readers who shun anything that has the slightest appearance of the paranormal. In this book, "shine"-- the colorful essence of the killer-- is no longer the primary way to identify the killer. Now "shine" is more of a "stamp of approval" that their leads have brought them to the right person. For me, "shine" works either way because I also like watching Jimmy and Steps try to find legal ways to prove what it's been telling them all along. Was catching this killer satisfying? You betcha. Now I'm looking forward to the next book, especially because of the cliffhanger this one ended on. Bring it on! (Review copy courtesy of the publisher and Net Galley)

  10. 5 out of 5

    Karen

    Gory in a gross way. And, still handicapped by the premise behind the series: 1. Gruesome murder(s) 2. Steps sees unique shine 3. Steps natters on like a human wikipedia about boring off-topic subjects 4. Steps follows shine to killer Read Wen Spencer's compelling Ukiah Oregon tracker novels instead. Gory in a gross way. And, still handicapped by the premise behind the series: 1. Gruesome murder(s) 2. Steps sees unique shine 3. Steps natters on like a human wikipedia about boring off-topic subjects 4. Steps follows shine to killer Read Wen Spencer's compelling Ukiah Oregon tracker novels instead.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Sue

    There was very little actual tracking in this book. His ability to see shine was used more for verification than direction, so he couldn't really share it with anybody but his partner. Once they were no longer needed for tracking purposes, I don't understand why they were allowed to continue to be part of the team trying to solve the mystery. The brutality of the details got to me. I didn't enjoy this book as much as the previous ones, but it is still a good read. I hope in the next book they fi There was very little actual tracking in this book. His ability to see shine was used more for verification than direction, so he couldn't really share it with anybody but his partner. Once they were no longer needed for tracking purposes, I don't understand why they were allowed to continue to be part of the team trying to solve the mystery. The brutality of the details got to me. I didn't enjoy this book as much as the previous ones, but it is still a good read. I hope in the next book they finally solve and bring an end to the Leonardo character. I'm not a fan of a long, drawn out subplot!

  12. 4 out of 5

    Kathleen Gray

    Well. FBI SA "Steps" Craig has the unusual ability to see the aura of a killer (go with it) finds himself with a twisted and urgent case when he, along with his partner Jimmy Donovan, goes on an urgent search for four high profile men who have gone missing from a fishing trip. Make that three, because one of the men, accountant Jason Norris, is found murdered and posed. Who is left? Marco Perez is a Congressman, Wade Winchell is a deputy DA, and Noah Long is a hedge find manager. No spoilers fro Well. FBI SA "Steps" Craig has the unusual ability to see the aura of a killer (go with it) finds himself with a twisted and urgent case when he, along with his partner Jimmy Donovan, goes on an urgent search for four high profile men who have gone missing from a fishing trip. Make that three, because one of the men, accountant Jason Norris, is found murdered and posed. Who is left? Marco Perez is a Congressman, Wade Winchell is a deputy DA, and Noah Long is a hedge find manager. No spoilers from me as to why they were targeted. There's violence (it's gruesome in spots) that adds to the pacing of the novel. I'd not read this series, making this a standalone, and it was a good one. Thanks to netgalley for the ARC. This would be a great travel book (it's a page turner).

  13. 4 out of 5

    Margie Bunting

    I was excited to learn that Spencer Kope’s Special Tracking Unit Novels now number four! Kope set up the fourth in the series so that it can be read as a standalone, but you will probably want to go back and read the rest. Magnus “Steps” Craig is unique as a tracker because he alone can see the “shine” left behind by the killer—a special color that identifies the killer’s presence. Steps acquired the ability as a youngster after a traumatic event, and he tells only those who need to know, most sp I was excited to learn that Spencer Kope’s Special Tracking Unit Novels now number four! Kope set up the fourth in the series so that it can be read as a standalone, but you will probably want to go back and read the rest. Magnus “Steps” Craig is unique as a tracker because he alone can see the “shine” left behind by the killer—a special color that identifies the killer’s presence. Steps acquired the ability as a youngster after a traumatic event, and he tells only those who need to know, most specifically his FBI partner, Jimmy Donovan. Now he’s pondering whether to tell his fiancee. In this high-tension thriller, the team is challenged by the disappearance of four high-profile men who have met annually for years to share a fly-fishing expedition. One is a congressman and medical doctor, one the LA district attorney of Major Crimes The other two are a San Jose accounting executive and the cofounder of a hedge fund. And when the first body is found, the race to save the rest is pushed to the limit. Be forewarned that there are some disturbing scenes of gruesome violence. But the research and procedural decisions that keep the investigation moving, the backstories of the four potential victims, and the insights into a twisted killer’s mind and motivation are fascinating and memorable. My review is based on a complimentary pre-release copy of the book.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Linda

    Readers, get ready to come face to face with one of the most twisted, diabolical creature I have read about in a long time. Talk about convoluted revenge! Magnus, “Steps” Craig and his Special Tracking Unit is on the hunt for four missing friends, including a Congressman. With his special ability to see the tracks of the perpetrator or “shine” as he dubs it, Steps follows this unique shine to an evil creature that will make your skin crawl. But will he be on time? This book comes out next month an Readers, get ready to come face to face with one of the most twisted, diabolical creature I have read about in a long time. Talk about convoluted revenge! Magnus, “Steps” Craig and his Special Tracking Unit is on the hunt for four missing friends, including a Congressman. With his special ability to see the tracks of the perpetrator or “shine” as he dubs it, Steps follows this unique shine to an evil creature that will make your skin crawl. But will he be on time? This book comes out next month and if the ending is any indication, we haven’t seen the last of the Special Tracking Unit.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Leane

    Always a good visit with Steps and Jimmy from the FBI's Special Tracking Unit CHs well-developed and Steps URN is benign, self-aware, and humorous. Supporting cast great, crime procedure excellently detailed without being overwhelming. Quick pace with lots of dialogue and enough action, twisty plot as they follow their trail, and the places they visit (Bakersfield CA here) vibrantly described. Even the bad guys and they are an evil violent bunch in this series leap from the pages. For a change, Always a good visit with Steps and Jimmy from the FBI's Special Tracking Unit CHs well-developed and Steps URN is benign, self-aware, and humorous. Supporting cast great, crime procedure excellently detailed without being overwhelming. Quick pace with lots of dialogue and enough action, twisty plot as they follow their trail, and the places they visit (Bakersfield CA here) vibrantly described. Even the bad guys and they are an evil violent bunch in this series leap from the pages. For a change, Step's "gift" takes a bit of aback seat even if used to verify their thoughts on who the culprit is and if you need to ask what that gift is--read the first 3 in the series. Nice set-up at the end with the one serial killer who scares them the most--Leonardo--coming for them.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Vicki Gilbertson

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. Once again Kope knocked it out of the park. So much going on, as it takes a little bizarre twist and turns. The gang has their hands full on this one. Seeing how they are all handling this one is funny and scary as hell. Good old Stu, Marty, Ellis and Heather even get a good time in this one. My hero was Roller got to Steps, just like Heather did made Steps appreciate the smaller things you have.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Sally

    I “enjoy” reading this series. I very much like the characters and the way they solve the crimes. This crime was certainly elaborate, maybe a bit over the top, but interesting to solve. Another book well done.

  18. 5 out of 5

    E Cheong

    Excellent read! Best book in the series so far ...

  19. 4 out of 5

    Rita Gorra

    Meh. I wasn’t really interested in the characters. The plot seemed a little too graphic and too aimless. I liked the first 3. Not sure what changed.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Pat

    A political piece Was good read until politics entered the story. Shame as author had a good flow going until that point in story.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Gloria Zak

    I have read one other book in the series. I think the “shine” is creative, inventive. I do believe this book though was way too violent.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Judith

  23. 5 out of 5

    Martin Riley

  24. 4 out of 5

    Mary Culver

  25. 4 out of 5

    Troy

  26. 4 out of 5

    Erin Aderholdt

  27. 4 out of 5

    Gail Price

  28. 5 out of 5

    walter beals

  29. 4 out of 5

    Betsy Madlem

  30. 4 out of 5

    Susan O

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