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Blackman's Coffin (Sam Blackman #1)

really liked it 4.0  ·  Rating details ·  862 Ratings  ·  104 Reviews
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. His outspoken criticism of his medical treatment resulted in his transfer to the Veteran’s Hospital in Asheville, NC. Then an ex-marine and fellow amputee named Tikima Robertson walks into his hospital room.
Tikima hints that she has an
Paperback, 256 pages
Published July 1st 2008 by Poisoned Pen Press (first published 2003)
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While perusing the stacks at the library, Blackman's Coffin practically leaped off the shelf into my hands. I thought: "That sure looks like the Biltmore House in Asheville." If you've never been to America's largest private residence - the mansion of mansions - you are missing out! Words can not even begin to describe such opulence.

After I turned the book over and read the back cover, not only did I confirm my assumption, I was intrigued by the synopsis.

Recovering Iraqi War amputee, Chief Warr
Elizabeth A.
Apr 29, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Blackman's Coffin is the first book in a new series from Mark de Castrique, author of the outstanding 'Buryin' Barry' series. Blackman's Coffin introduces us to Sam Blackman, a former Chief Warrant Officer in the Army's Criminal Investigation Detachment who, having lost part of his left leg in Iraq, is currently rehabbing at a V.A. hospital in Asheville, N.C.

Shortly before he is set to be discharged, both from the hospital and the Army, he meets fellow vet and amputee Tikima Robertson during one
BLACKMAN’S COFFIN (Unl. Inv.-Sam Blackman-North Carolina/Georgia-1907/Cont) – Ex
De Castrique, Mark – 1st Sam Blackman book
Poisoned Pen Press, 2008, US Hardcover – ISBN: 9781590585177

First Sentence: I felt a hand on my shoulder , shaking me awake.

Sam Blackman was a Chief Warrant Officer in the Criminal Investigation Detachment. He is now in a VA Hospital in Ashville, NC after having lost part of his leg in Iraq. Tikima Robertson, an ex-Marine who lost part of her arm in Iraq, visits his room. She
Dec 17, 2016 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Good mystery.

Started out little slow but ending was good. Interesting characters and plot. Nakalya's sister is murdered after visiting Sam at the hospital. She made a great impression on Sam. After learning the history of this black family and finding the dairy, they have to solve this mystery. Biltmore estate, emeralds and gold around the estate. I will read more from this author
Lynette Hague
Jun 15, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Thoroughly enjoyed this murder mystery set in Asheville NC. I loved the story story line, Sam, Timika, Natalya, Harry, and the Captain. Having moved to North Carolina 11 years ago, I enjoyed reading about some of the history. I also enjoyed the connection to Gainesville, Georgia as my parents live there.
Apr 03, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Sam Blackman is in the VA hospital in Asheville, NC. He lost his leg in the current Iraq War and is having rehab when he meets Tikima Robertson, a fellow amputee who invites him to apply for a job at her security firm. Soon after, Sam phones the firm and learns Tikima has been found murdered. Tikima's sister, Nakayla, calls on Sam when her sister's apartment is broken into. The intruders overlooked a diary from 1919 bookmarked with Sam's name and number. The diary brings to life the story of a w ...more
This was one of the first purchases I made when I started using Bookbub, which has introduced me to all sorts of authors that I've never heard of before. I definitely liked Sam Blackman and his investigative prowess. He has lost much of a leg serving in Iraq, and we meet him while he is ending his rehabilitation in Asheville, North Carolina. I've been to Asheville several times and have extremely fond memories - of traversing onto and off the Blue Ridge Parkway, of visiting the Biltmore Estate, ...more
Chuck McGrady
Feb 02, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Having read several of the books in this series, I figured I ought to go back and read the first one although I knew the basic plot from the later books. As with the author's other books, Blackman's Coffin is fun because I know so many of the places and the history, and I didn't figure out the twists until the author revealed them. One little quibble: the protagonist (Blackman) interacts with a Forest Service ranger, and they reference "park land." No U.S. Forest Service employee would call the ...more
Jan 21, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I listened to this as an audiobook on some of my longer runs. It was a good story and the ending wasn't predictable. The narrator drove me crazy doing all the different voices and I feel like he had weird pauses, but the book itself was enjoyable.
Nov 03, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I got this book through one of my free ebook sites and am now hooked on the author's style. I am especially appreciative of the way the characters are built without the usual "his hair was this color with that color eyes." By the end of the first chapter we know a great deal about two of the characters without it feeling forced. All of the characters are likable and engaging, and I appreciate how some of the people we met in the first book continue to show up in the next one. There's a sense of ...more
I read a later book in this series that alluded to some of the details from the first book, but that didn't spoil this book. I like how the stories intertwine Asheville history with a plot firmly set in the present day.

My one critique comes with the narrator of the audiobooks. His Southern accent for Sam Blackman sounds very fake at the beginning of the book, then it fades in and out into what I assume is the narrator's natural speech pattern. In the third book, the narrator sticks with just his
Marilyn Pronovost
Jun 04, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A good mystery with added subplots of Asheville NC's history and Thomas
Wolfe. Also the main character is an Iraqi veteran living as an amputee. All of these factors are brought together to create a mystery based on a supposed historical event that was chronicled by T Wolfe and affects the life of a female veteran amputee eighty later. The characters were well developed and most of the story line plausible.
Melvin A. Green
Jan 24, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I couldn't put it down starting from page 1. A totally engrossing mystery story.

A very well written novel where the story line centers around the classical author Thomas Wolfe. Intriguing, very original plot.
Nov 06, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Very good suspense

This was a very quick enjoyable read. Yes, there are a lot of characters to get to know but they are all well developed. The story is intriguing and moves quickly and keeps the suspense right to the finish. Thank you Mr. de Castrique for a well written book!
May 03, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Charles G. Hiscock
A nice, entertaining read. I found it to be a little predictable, which is the reason for 4 instead of 5 stars, but it was enjoyable.
Sep 01, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
super good
Aug 02, 2017 rated it liked it
Recommended to Anna by: gift
reasons I read this book:
Iraqi War veterans - amputees
Asheville and the Biltmore Estate
Literary references - in this case, Thomas Wolfe

Sam Blackman is an amputee veteran who is compelled to solve a murder that has apparent links to 90-year-old events.
Dec 29, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Clever. A bit of historical fiction adds to intriguing plot.
Nov 05, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A fun story. I liked the characters.
charlotte a pals
Oct 23, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition

A true mystery, kept me guessing what was around the next page. Very well written. I'm sure Mr de Catrique did a lot of research for this novel.
Harold T. Smith
Oct 22, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Well written

This story is well worth reading! I look forward to more from this author! Best read in a long time!
Mar 24, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: kindle
A wounded Iraqi war vet gets caught up in a historical mystery concerning the Biltmore Estate.
Barbara Schultz
This audio was a pleasant surprise. The performer did a great job with all the voices. Although this was an audio I found the story a page-turner...not sure if page-turner is correct when it is an audio :) . The cover certainly got my attention. I understand the Biltmore House is THE mansion of mansions!
Dec 27, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I really enjoyed this murder mystery. The protagonist is a contemporary military vet, a bit of a loner dealing with the loss of one of his legs and adapting to the prosthetic. He gets involved in investigating the sudden murder of an African American woman who worked for a securities firm and had only met him once, but who had set aside a gift for him and had been trying to contact him before her demise. During the novel we learn so much along the way to the resolution of the drams, with its slo ...more
Mar 11, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2008-reads
SETTING: Asheville, North Carolina
SERIES: #1 of 1

Blackman’s Coffin is a departure from Mark de Castrique’s Buryin’ Barry series and introduces a compelling new protagonist, Sam Blackman, a somewhat embittered ex-Army investigator who lost his left leg in Iraq.

While recovering in a VA hospital in Asheville, North Carolina, he is visited by ex-marine Tikima Robertson, who is also an amputee, having lost her hand in battle. She’s a feisty woman who cuts to the c
Ria Pierce
Good book but for some reason I was thinking it would have ghosts or a haunted mansion. My fault
Miss Starling
This book has an easy going writing style that you can follow without having to pause and re-read paragraphs. That is a fun, lovely fact about this book. Blackman's Coffin is primarily about an army vet, Sam Blackman, who is recently made an amputee. He is visited by an arm amputee who gives him a seemingly uninteresting book, then is found floating in the river the next day. The plot unfolds as he digs up the past to find that she is connected to an earliar sequence of events. That was a little ...more
Jul 17, 2008 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
I found this title listed on my "to be read" shelf. I put in there about two years ago though I don't recall it or know where I found it. I was a little bit hesitant about it because the author was unknown to me.

What a surprise! I greatly enjoyed this book. I flew through it in a day. The story was nice, simple, interesting and believable. The only thing I found wanting was that I wish I knew more about Sam Blackman. Since this is the start of a series I'm assuming that the character will devel
Sam Blackman a patient at the Asheville VA hospital is visited by a young woman, Tikima, who like him has lost a limb in the Iraqi war. What begins as a harsh pep talk ends up as an intriguing job offer. Then days later later Tikima y is found dead in the French Broad River. The clues Blackman and Tikima's sister have to go on are scant; an old journal, file cards from Tikima's job as a security specialist. Before long it becomes apparent that Tikima's murder is some how tied to her great- great ...more
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Mark de Castrique is an author, playwright, public speaker, and television producer living in Charlotte.

Through his company MARK et al., he writes, shoots, and edits projects for a variety of clients.

His work has earned CLIO, TELLY, and EMMY awards.

Mark has scripted stories aired on PBS and commercial network affiliates, as well as created video presentations for major corporations.
More about Mark de Castrique...

Other Books in the Series

Sam Blackman (5 books)
  • Fitzgerald Ruse (Sam Blackman, #2)
  • The Sandburg Connection (Sam Blackman, #3)
  • A Murder in Passing (Sam Blackman, #4)
  • A Specter of Justice (Sam Blackman Mystery, #5)

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