Elisa is a mute, isolated woman who works as a cleaning lady in a hidden, high-security government laboratory in 1962 Baltimore. Her only friends are those whom society also considers to be misfits. Her life changes forever when she discovers the lab’s classified secret — a mysterious, scaled creature from South America that lives in a water tank. As Elisa develops a unique bond with her new friend, she soon learns that its fate and very survival lies in the hands of a hostile government agent and a marine biologist.
Ríos takes us into the eerie existence of the painter Victor Mons, who has created a series of works titled Monstruary, a menagerie of personal demons summoned from the disturbing and often erotic images of his past. We follow Mons on nocturnal outings and infernal escapades, as he encounters fiendish figures, otherworldly phantasms, and the beautiful models and prostitutes who serve as his muses. And we meet a host of fascinating and haunting characters: the architect who attempts to deconstruct a real city by constructing imaginary ones; the anonymous patron who commissions his portrait to be painted on his mistress’s skin; Mons’s ethereal lover, who torments him by recounting her infidelities–which he then paints; the mysterious itinerant collector, who may be only an actress playing the role of a lifetime.