Magnus “Steps” Craig is part of an elite three-man Special Tracking Unit of the FBI, charged with finding the lost or abducted and bringing them home. Dubbed “The Human Bloodhound,” Steps is renowned for his incredible ability to find and follow trails over any surface. He has a special skill―known only to his partner―that has enabled his team to stop seventeen serial killers over the past five years. But now there’s a new monster at-large, and the bodies are piling up.
When the remains of one young woman are found, Steps recognizes the “signature” from another crime scene: the mark of a sad face. Meanwhile, a serial killer that Steps has been trying to track for over ten years, code name “Leonardo,” is back in play―and on Steps’s trail. Just as the investigation seems to be closing in on Leonardo, the hunt for Sad Face heats up. Now, it’s up to Steps to outrun and outwit one of the most twisted serial killers he’s ever encountered. . .as time ticks away on the lives of the victims. Will this be another one of Steps’s miraculously-solved cases―or his last?
Cope snagged me with this 6th sense… Steps has this ability to see the essence, to filter all the other imprints out and see the killers. I’m always drawn to the hunt and an investigator’s skill at assessing evidence, putting it in line, and getting on the trail of the killer. And the combined efforts of the Special Tracking Unit brings that chase into focus throughout the novel.
Steps has a deep backstory. From his initial discovery of his talent to his training to focus his eye for the shine, Cope does a great job of characterization. There’s a little romance involved as well as a good deal of back and forth between Steps and Jimmy.
My criticism lies in the plotting of the investigations. While not totally hard to follow, the book is organized with periods of downtime for the crew and periods of immense action and travel. This start and stop and a bit of convolution in the cases tended to make me want to put the book down for a bit instead of keep reading.
I finished it solely for that reason many of us finish these thrillers… who is the gosh darn killer?!?!