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.
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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.
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?
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.