It is late October 1976, a week before Election Day. Richard Owen, a former New York City patrolman turned private detective, returns late one afternoon to find a package waiting for him in his lower Manhattan office. The box contains newspaper clippings detailing the event which precipitated Owen's having left the NYPD nearly five years before. The box also contains one other highly curious item -- a human bone. Owen's subsequent investigations carry him to the Show Place (an adult film and bookstore), the Marathon (a lower Manhattan nightspot), the Express (a "grindhouse" featuring skin and schlock), among other lurid locations. They also carry Owen into his past, reuniting him with his former partner and boss, as the detective relates a story marked by sex, violence, and political intrigue.