A chance meeting at a seedy south-side Chicago sports bar will lead sometime sleuth Dillon McDonaugh into a tight tale of intrigue, obsession and violence. When the under-aged daughter of a United States Senator enters McDonaugh's life, he sees her as the only means out of his current financial dilemma. Accepting a cash retainer, McDonaugh delves his into his client's checkered past and her obsession with a mysterious sex club called The New Roman Empire. The hunt for the club will take McDonaugh to an uptown brothel, a suburban sanitarium and finally to an abandoned steel mill, where he is nearly incinerated by an arsonist determined to throw him off the trail. When his client turns up dead, McDonaugh becomes the police's prime suspect and the target of the real murderer who is bent on keeping both his identity and the location of The New Roman Empire a dark secret.