The enigmatic performer known as the Body Artist takes the stage at Chicago's Club Gouge and allows her audience to use her naked body as a canvas for their impromptu illustrations. The evening takes a strange turn when one woman's sketch triggers a violent outburst from a man at a nearby table. Quickly subdued, the man, an Iraqi war vet, leaves the club. Days later, the woman is shot outside the club. She dies in V.I. Warshawski's arms, and the police move quickly to arrest the angry vet.