A young African-American travels across the U.S. in the 1950s in search of his missing father.
Veteran and pulp-fiction aficionado Atticus Freeman travels from the Jim Crow South to his South Side of Chicago hometown in search of his missing father Montrose. After recruiting his uncle George and childhood friend Letitia to join him, the trio sets out for “Ardham,” MA, where they think Montrose may have gone looking for insight into Atticus’ late mother’s ancestry. As they journey across the Midwest, Tic, Leti, and George encounter dangers lurking at every turn, especially after sundown.
Hoping to mend her relationship with her sister Ruby, Leti turns a ramshackle Victorian on Chicago’s North Side into a boarding house – an endeavor that stokes neighborhood racism and awakens dormant spirits stuck in the house. Meanwhile, Atticus remains burdened by a guilty conscience as George’s wife Hippolyta presses him for the full story of what happened in Ardham.
After Christina mysteriously shows up at her doorstep, Leti confronts Atticus about his plan to surreptitiously return to Florida. Later, in search of missing pages to a crucial text, Leti, Tic, and Montrose head to Boston, with Hippolyta and Diana along for the ride. Back in Chicago, a handsome stranger nurses Ruby's disappointment over a squandered job opportunity.
Inexplicably recovered from their terrifying night, Leti and George luxuriate in their new surroundings, while Atticus grows suspicious of their Ardham Lodge hosts – Christina Braithwhite and her elusive father Samuel – who unveil cryptic plans for Atticus’ role in their upcoming “Sons of Adam” ceremony. Later, after Tic, Leti, and George stumble upon a clue that could lead them to Montrose, each takes an unwelcome walk down memory lane.
After making a devil's bargain with William, Ruby steps into the charmed shoes of a white woman, but her transformation only fortifies her resentment of the racial divide. A betrayal by Montrose unleashes Atticus' pent up rage, leaving Leti deeply disturbed and sending Montrose into the comforting arms of his secret lover.