It's the summer of 1938 and Layla Beck is a well-off, young Senator's daughter who has just had the rug pulled out from under her. Because she won't marry her father's choice of a husband, she is forced to find work for the first time in her life. Her uncle sends her to Macedonia, West Virginia through the Federal Writer's Project to help the local government write their town's history for their sesquicentennial celebration. Shocked and horrified, Layla tries desperately to get out of it to no avail.
Zebulon Finch, known as "the Black Hand," is a seventeen-year-old gangster operating on the streets of 19th-century Chicago, dealing death and visiting whorehouses. His lifestyle earns him a bullet in the back of the head and a one-way trip to the bottom of Lake Michigan. Only Finch does not die. His ability to move, think, and speak stays, but his body is slowly decomposing. Think Warm Bodies, but with not as nice a protagonist. With no clue why this has happened, Finch sets off on a long journey in search