When Max Porter discovers his office is haunted by the ghost of a 1940s detective, he does the only sensible thing … he starts a detective agency!
Thrust neck-deep into a world of old mysteries and dangerous enemies, he will face ghosts, witches, and curses. He will discover a world in which survival might be the easiest challenge. And he will do anything necessary to keep his wife and his life from falling away.
Real history meets the paranormal in this thrilling, suspenseful series!
Targeted Age Group:: 15 – adult
Heat/Violence Level: Heat Level 3 – PG-13
What Inspired You to Write Your Book?
I was curious about the history of the town I was living in (Winston-Salem, NC) and discovered an unusual fact concerning World War II and German POWs. That bit became the genesis point for the whole series. To say more would involve spoilers, so that'll have to do.
How Did You Come up With Your Characters?
Max and Sandra are inspired by (not based on) my wife and myself. In particular, our experiences as northerners moving into the South. Drummond comes straight out of 1940s noir ficiton and film with a heavy nod toward Humphrey Bogart and Sam Spade.
"Come with me," Max said, getting up. "I want to show you one of the crime photos. Relax, it's not bloody. I just want you to see something that'll make it clearer to you."
With a reluctant stretch, Sandra followed. The bedroom of their apartment doubled as an office for Max, so she settled on the bed while he scooted into the small desk chair in the corner. He pulled up the photo on his laptop and angled it for her to see.
The black-and-white photo depicted a stool in the middle of an unfinished room. Two buckets had been placed next to the stool, one clearly filled with a dark substance. Gruesome pictures of women and children being shot or tortured had been nailed to some of the wall studs. Straight in front of the stool, Stan had mounted a film screen. Two detectives were shown in the photo — both looked queasy.
"Stan forced his victims to stay awake the whole time, or I suppose, as long as Stan could handle it himself. Nobody ever found what film he showed them but based on the wall pictures, I'm guessing it ain't a Disney classic."
"Okay, now I'm thinking this Stan guy is super nuts. Why is this going to convince me you should get involved?"
"Because," Max said pointing to the detective standing near the stool, "this man here is the spitting image of Drummond. Very strong family resemblance."
"It's still a bunch of crazy people."
"You're missing the point, honey. Drummond is interested in this because of a family matter. This detective had to have been some close relation. The Stan Bowman crazy part of all this is secondary. This guy is just looking for a lost relative."
Sandra frowned. "You really believe that?"
"If that's all it is, then I might be able to help him out, help him find his family. I do that, and I'm sure he'll pay well. We need all we can get." Before Sandra could speak, Max put out his hand. "If it's something more, I'll let it go. Don't worry. I'm not getting fired."
Sandra crossed her arms but didn't protest further. Max smiled.
The next day, Max bolted down his breakfast and rushed to the office. To his pleasure, he found Drummond waiting for him.
"I take it you found some things," Drummond said.
Max circled his desk, pulled out a hard copy of the photo, and tossed it down. "I'd say I'm getting somewhere."
Drummond looked at the photo and grimaced. "Boy, I haven't seen this in a long time."
"So, what's the relation?"
"I can still smell the place."
Max sat on the edge of his chair, his knee bumping the gun tray screwed into the desk's underside. "You've been to this place?" he asked.
"You think this is my grandfather? You did look closely at this picture, right? I'm right there."
"Mr. Drummond, that picture is seventy years old."
"I know. Last one of me ever taken. Two days later I wound up dead. Shot right here in my office."
"Are you pretending to be this lost?"
"No," Max said, his face locked in total confusion.
"Let me lay it down for you. In the 1940s, I was a private investigator. The police called in for my help on the Bowman case, and then I was murdered. Pretty clear now?"
"So … you're … dead?"
"Yup, I'm dead."
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