Hank Penstable and his wife Quenelle Langland are successful young writer-editors who live in Manhattan’s East Village and dabble in occult matters as novices – unaware of the bizarre demimonde that can lurk beneath such ideas. Before long, they and their teenage daughter Yvonne find themselves drawn deep into a maze of magic and murder that entangles their neighborhood one steamy summer. As it turns out, the season spells an end to innocence for all of them. The story begins harmlessly enough at a downtown Manhattan party, where an attractive Brazilian named Diane da Costa begs Hank to help her find Garrick Marston, a missing friend. Although at first Hank rebuffs her, both Penstables are soon swept up in the mystery as amateur detectives, much like Nick and Nora of Thin Man fame. How does a yellow star from the battered trunk of a Holocaust survivor figure in the puzzle? Is a shady man named Jake Leoni an ally, rival, or foe of Diane’s? Above all, what does any of this have to do with a legendary creature from another time, known as The Omniphore? In Hank’s frantic search for clues, he interviews Darryl Marston, twin brother of the missing man. Darryl believes his brother was murdered while wearing a zipper mask made of black leather. On a visit to Darryl’s apartment late one night, Hank is terrified to catch sight of such a mask lying crumpled in one corner of the room. As the summer deepens, East Village tensions lurch out of control. Goaded by an outbreak of hanta fever throughout the Lower East Side, two opposing paramilitary groups begin to patrol the neighborhood. Their inevitable collision erupts in a last-chapter showdown, leaving mayhem and bloodshed in their wake. In that apocalypse, the now-disenchanted Penstables must risk everything in an ultimate gamble for their own survival.