Friday, April 20, 2018

Spencer Kope's "Whispers of the Dead"

Spencer Kope is the Crime Analyst for the Whatcom County Sheriff's Office. Currently assigned to Detectives Division, he provides case support to detectives and deputies, and is particularly good at identifying possible suspects. In his spare time he developed a database-driven analytical process called Forensic Vehicle Analysis (FVA) used to identify the make, model and year range of vehicles from surveillance photos. It's a tool he's used repeatedly to solve crimes. One of his favorite pastimes is getting lost in a bookstore, and he lives in Washington State.

Here Kope dreamcasts an adaptation of his new novel, Whispers of the Dead:
I’m guessing there are a lot of writers out there who, like me, flesh out their characters well before ever putting them to paper. I’ve gone as far as to cut out pictures of people that look like the mental image I have of a character. These go on my storyboard, where they constantly reinforce that image.

When I started writing Collecting the Dead, the first book in the Special Tracking Unit series, I pictured man-tracker Magnus “Steps” Craig as a shorter, mid-twenties version of Jared Padalecki, who plays Sam Winchester in the series Supernatural. He just seemed to fit. Sam’s brother Dean (played by Jensen Ackles) isn’t exactly what I pictured for Special Agent Jimmy Donovan, but he’s close enough. Maybe I just liked the way Sam and Dean work together and pictured Steps and Jimmy doing the same.

Or maybe I was watching too many episodes of Supernatural....

The third member of the Special Tracking Unit is the sometimes snarky Diane Parker. Though Diane is only in her mid-fifties, I’d love to see her played by Dame Judi Dench. Ellis Stockwell, the slightly eccentric neighbor who has an extensive collection of hats and likes to sunbathe in the nude, has to be played by either Tommy Lee Jones or John Cleese (though I’m leaning toward Cleese since Ellis insists on talking with a British accent, despite not being British).

In Whispers of the Dead, the latest edition of the STU series, Steps and Jimmy find themselves in El Paso, where they team up with Detective Tony Alvarado and Lieutenant Kevin Kelly. I have a hard time with Tony because I can picture him as Michael Peña, but I also like Benicio del Toro in that role. Michael Clarke Duncan of Armageddon and The Green Mile fame would be perfect for Kevin Kelly, but sadly we lost him a few years ago.

Somewhere in all this Lou Diamond Phillips has to make an appearance ... because he’s Lou Diamond Phillips.
Visit Spencer Kope's website.

Writers Read: Spencer Kope.

The Page 69 Test: Whispers of the Dead.

--Marshal Zeringue