V.I. Warshawski's wayward niece Petra draws her to an edgy club and the Body Artist, who uses her own flesh as a canvas and invites the audience to do the same. Dark and disturbing, her performance awakens demons in two spectators: a young woman who paints her inner trauma on the Body Artist's back, and a Gulf War vet who seems to be experience post-traumatic stress disorder. When the young woman is shot and dies in V.I.'s arms, the vet's family employ V.I. to find the truth and prove their son's innocence. V.I.'s investigation uncovers the untold misery and evil in a snakepit of corruption.