Friday, December 29, 2017

Despite a Didn't-Love-It Debut, Supernatural Detective Series Shows Promise

(Image from Barnes & Noble)

Ever since he was a little boy, Magnus "Steps" Craig has possessed a special ability.  Both a blessing and a curse, it enables him to see a person's "shine."  Normal people can't see the unique trails people leave behind them as they move throughout their lives; Steps can.  This secret ability has enabled the 27-year-old to work effectively as a member of the FBI's Special Tracking Unit (STU).  Few know about Steps' unusual talent, they only know that the "Human Bloodhound" has an uncanny knack for finding missing persons. 

When the dead body of a young woman is discovered, Steps recognizes her killer's "signature" from another crime scene.  Along with his partner, Jimmy Donovan, Steps travels to California to track down the bloodthirsty monster.  As they identify the murderer's victims, the duo began to close in on the killer's identity.  Then, his/her MO changes.  With a new puzzle to solve, the case becomes even more challenging.  With lives on the line—including their own—Steps and Jimmy have to find the killer.  Before they become the next victims.

I'd heard good things about Collecting the Dead, a debut mystery/thriller by crime analyst Spencer Kope, so I picked it up expecting an exciting, engrossing novel.  Did I get it?  Sort of.  While the story's compelling, I wouldn't call the book a page turner.  I wanted to know what was going to happen, yes, but I didn't find myself racing to the finale.  Still.  Collecting the Dead surprised me by being less dark and gory than other novels of this sort.  In fact, it's lighter and funnier than its fellows.  The humor is way overdone in parts, but overall, Steps comes off as a funny, likable narrator.  He acts like an old man, true, but he remains brave, devoted, and compassionate.  I enjoyed him as a narrator, even though I didn't end up loving Collecting the Dead.  This series has promise, though, so I'm willing to give the next installment a try.  I'm not chomping at the bit or anything, but I wouldn't mind taking another ride with Magnus "Steps" Craig.

(Readalikes:  Reminded me a little of The Body Finder series [The Body Finder; Desires of the DeadThe Last Echo; and Dead Silence] by Kimberly Derting)

Grade:


If this were a movie, it would be rated:


for brief, mild language (no F-bombs), violence, and blood/gore

To the FTC, with love:  I received a finished copy of Collecting the Dead from the generous folks at Minotaur Books (a division of St. Martin's Press/Macmillan).  Thank you!

12 comments:

  1. Bummer this wasn't as good as you had hoped.

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  2. The premise did sounded good, but I'm sorry to hear that it wasn't all there. Looking forward hearing if the second book is better.

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    1. I think it will be. It comes out in the Spring, so I'll let you know what I think then!

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  3. Sorry this wasn't exactly what you thought. I want these kinds of books to be page turners. Hopefully the next books will be better.

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    1. It gets more page turner-y as it goes, but I was surprised by its relatively languid pace.

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  4. This sounds like an interesting premise, but I'm sorry the book was disappointing! I'm a fan of crime and thriller novels, but I look forward to them keeping me on the edge of my seat-- a thriller story that fails to keep moving and thrill isn't much of a thriller. I hope you have a wonderful new year, though!

    claire @ clairefy

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  5. Ever since I've read Cassandra Clare's books, I've loved the name Magnus. But, I don't think I can picture anyone with that name without picturing her character, lol. I'm glad this series is showing promise. That's always nice when you decide to give a series another chance.

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    1. I like the name Magnus, too ... in concept, anyway. I've never met an actual person with that name.

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  6. Hey Miss Susan! I think I liked this one more than you did, but I agree that it was very much a debut book. I'm looking forward to the next in the series. And I also thought of Derting's series as well.

    Hope you and yours will have a Happy 2018! I'll be back to blogging starting tomorrow. :-)

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    1. Yeah, I think a lot of people liked this one more than I did. I still enjoyed it, though, and I'm hoping it's a series that will keep improving as it goes because I definitely like the set up and characters.

      Are you seriously coming back to blogging? Awesome! You just made my whole year, Kay :) I can't wait to see what you get up to in 2018!

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