An investigator with a unique and invaluable skill leads an elite team on the hunt for a serial offender known as The Ice Box Killer.
When FBI Special Agent and hard-boiled narrator Magnus “Steps” Craig (Collecting the Dead, 2016) was 8 years old, he died and was brought back to life. Ever since then, he’s had the ability to see an aura, a “shine,” which, unique as a fingerprint, reveals an individual’s identity. While it’s essential to his detection, it’s not admissible as evidence. On a tip from a local detective, Steps’ partner, Jimmy Donovan, brings him to a bloody crime scene near Bellingham, Washington, with no explanation. The body of Krystal Ballard has been stabbed 11 times, a clear case of overkill. Her ex-husband, Archie, has been arrested, but Jimmy thinks he’s innocent. One look at Archie and then the crime scene, and Steps nails the true killer. Then the duo is summoned to El Paso, where a pair of frozen feet have been found in the living room of controversial Judge Jonathan Ehrlich. In short order, the perp is dubbed “The Ice Box Killer.” As they assemble a likely suspect list from Ehrlich’s recent cases, Steps and Jimmy learn of more footless victims. Their list takes them to Tucson, Albuquerque, and Washington state, where they grill all manner of societal outsiders while colleagues in the lab narrow the field.
With its deadpan banter and gritty narrative, Kope’s second case has a Dirty Harry vibe and finds a sweet noir groove.