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Baltimore February 1980: Clients don’t usually arrive at PI Anne Carter’s office in a hail of gunfire, but EMT Charlie Magee does. He wants her to find out who is trying to kill him and why. The only unusual thing that has happened lately is that he found a man on Hollins Street and tried to keep him alive. But could she trust him? The police and fire departments don’t believe him, and when he turns on the black Irish charm, neither does she. Vivian Rowlandson is another matter. Her husband Glen, a retired lieutenant colonel of Special Forces, is missing, and she fears he’s had a blackout, something that she says began in Viet Nam. He’s not in the morgue. He’s not in a hospital. There’s not much to go on, and when his adopted son, Phi, disappears too, she begins to wonder if he’s really had a blackout.
Meanwhile, her personal life is in its usual chaotic state. Her daughter, Elizabeth, is in a panic because her lover has told her that if they don’t get married, he’s going to leave her. To make matters worse, Joe Curtis, a former client is trying to kill her.