Two days after graduate student Roger Froehlich fails his thesis exam and resigns from Berkeley, he finds himself dividing his worldly goods-including his young son-with his wife. Left with nothing but his shattered dreams, Roger escapes to his hometown and to the only person who means anything to him-his aunt Alicia. Terminally ill, Alicia's last wish is to reconcile with her estranged son, Fritz, a graduate student at Cornell who has suddenly disappeared. Despite his disdain for his cousin, Roger agrees to travel to Ithaca to look for him. After failing to find Fritz, Roger soon learns more than he ever wanted to know about the subject of his cousin's perverse thesis project-the sexual nature of men who contact women whose names are scrawled on bathroom walls-and how it has led to extortion, suicide, and murder. Suddenly in the midst of a driving desire to serve his aunt and his cousin's sinister secrets, Roger is forced to do things he never could have imagined. In this suspenseful tale driven by the unscrupulous intentions of a graduate student, Roger finally confronts evil under horrifying circumstances and soon discovers how quickly hate can transform into revenge.