Ernest DeWalt has every right to feel reclusive. He can't drink, he can't make love, he has lost all faith in a world gone mad with violence and greed. Now that all his old coping mechanisms are denied him, DeWalt, a private investigator turned novelist, attempts to flee the corruption of both professions by accepting a sinecure at a small rural college in Pennsylvania. He wants only to live a quiet, unencumbered life from now on, and to be left alone to tend to his wounds. But the rhythms of DeWalt's past continue to throb.