Sam Blackman is an angry man. A chief warrant officer in the criminal investigation detachment of the U.S. military, he lost a leg in Iraq and has been outspoken in his criticism of his medical treatment. Then, ex-marine and fellow amputee Tikima Robertson walks into his hospital room, hinting that she has an opportunity for Sam to use his investigative skills. But before she can return, Tikima is murdered.
Former chief warrant officer and amputee Sam Blackman and his partner, Nakayla Robertson, are opening a detective agency. They have high hopes that the thriving Mountain Region will provide a steady stream of cases. Their first client, a quirky elderly woman in a retirement community, makes a strange request: she wants Sam to right a wrong she committed over 70 years ago. Her victim? F. Scott Fitzgerald. Her crime? Stealing a manuscript when Fitzgerald resided in the stately Grove Park Inn.
When private detective Sam Blackman agrees to help his partner and lover, Nakayla Robertson, conduct a fundraiser for orphaned twins, he does so to ease his conscience. The boys' parents were killed in a courtroom shootout where Sam was the key witness against the twins' father. The charity event, a nighttime ghost tour of the legendary haunted sites of Asheville, North Carolina, seems harmless enough.
When Cherokee burial remains are unearthed on the site of a local cemetery's expansion, Barry Clayton, part-time deputy and full-time undertaker, finds his dual occupations colliding. Then, during the interment of the wife of one of Gainesboro's most prominent citizens, Cherokee activist Jimmy Panther leads a protest. Words and fists fly.
"Very interesting insight into the Cherokee of NC"
It was only a simple, routine assignment for private investigator Sam Blackman and his partner, Nakayla Robertson: follow a history professor, who is suing a spinal surgeon for malpractice, and catch her in physical activities that undercut her claim.
Marsha Montgomery comes to the office asking Sam and Nakayla to investigate a burglary at her mother’s home. In 1967 someone stole a rifle and a photograph of Marsha’s mother, grandmother, and great grandmother taken in 1932 by renowned photographer Doris Ulmann. Marsha’s visit is no coincidence: The photograph was taken at the Kingdom of the Happy Land. Sam’s being played, but why? When Marsha’s 85-year-old mother, Lucille, is arrested for murder, Sam has his answer and his case. Is the skeleton that of Jimmy Lang - Lucille’s lover and Marsha’s white father - who disappeared in 1967?
"You want to borrow a casket?" Funeral director and part-time sheriff Barry Clayton finds United States Junior Chamber (Jaycee) member Archie Donovan’s request absurd, until he learns the casket will be the centerpiece of the Jaycees’ haunted house, a charity event with all proceeds going to the children’s hospital. But when the president of the Jaycees is murdered in the casket on Halloween, the national press descends upon Gainesboro to cover the bizarre crime.
Russell Mullins has left intelligence work. When his wife died of cancer, Rusty quit the Secret Service to repurpose his life. He joins a private protection company in Washington, DC, and is assigned to guard Paul Luguire, a Federal Reserve executive and chief liaison with the US Treasury. Mullins and Luguire form a strong friendship. So when a police detective calls in the middle of the night with word of Luguire’s suicide, Mullins doesn’t buy it.
His doubts are reinforced by Amanda Church, a former Secret Service colleague now in the Federal Reserve’s cybersecurity unit. She uncovered a suspicious financial transaction initiated by Luguire only days before his death.
Scientist Jonathan Singer stands on the verge of achieving his two greatest dreams: marriage to his soul mate Sally DeMille and the successful launch of The American Super Collider, the culmination of his cutting-edge research. But when an elderly man shows up at his apartment with irrefutable proof that he is also Dr. Jonathan Singer, Jonathan's ordered life spins wildly out of control. The old man claims to have traveled back from 40 years in the future. He makes a desperate plea - "To thine own self be true". But this self is telling him to destroy everything he's worked for.
When Barry Clayton’s father developed Alzheimer’s disease, Barry gave up his career in law enforcement to run the family’s funeral home in the North Carolina mountain town of Gainesboro, where he is known as Buryin’ Barry. But even a small town in the Appalachians is not immune to crime. At a summer street dance, Barry’s friend Sheriff Tommy Lee Wadkins is shot at by an old man distraught over the death of his wife. The hospitalized Tommy Lee appoints Barry as the deputy in charge of the investigation, to the dismay of Deputy Reece Hutchins.
"Starts out fast and keeps moving"
When children’s hospital volunteer and high-school student Gene Adamson hears the words of the dying man, the gunman who used him as a shield after murdering a prominent geneticist, Gene thinks the man delirious. But then the bodies of killer and victim disappear from the morgue, and a ten-year-old girl desperately needing a heart transplant is mysteriously bumped from her number-one spot on the organ-recipient list. The list. What is the list?
June 1860. A new locomotive christened A Southern Breeze steams across the Carolina countryside carrying seventeen-year-old Jeb Bennett and his twin sister, Rachel Leigh, to the exhilarating promise of a summer in Charleston. While storm clouds gather over the landscape, fiercer storms rage inside the passenger cars. The tensions between North and South rapidly escalate until one traveler’s journey abruptly and brutally ends. Who is the murderer? Was the victim the real target?