It is 1977, the summer of a brutal blackout, the time of the Son of Sam murders, and a period of brutal fiscal disaster for New York. The slayer Nikki Wood fights against the forces of darkness and also tries to protect her son, Robin. Meanwhile Spike and Drusilla arrive in the city hoping to hunt down a slayer, not without the local vampire community soon discovering of their arrival.
One of the few Buffy the Vampire Slayer books in which Buffy herself does not play a significant role (she is in a framing sequence, but not the "main action" of the novel).
There actually was a blackout in New York on 13 July 1977, during which the city suffered riots, looting, and fires.
Looking for an appropriate style to the novel, the author watched the films: Shaft, Foxy Brown, Cleopatra Jones, Superfly, The Black Godfather, Hell Up in Harlem, Across 110th Street and Shaft's Big Score.