Christine Spar takes a new newspaper job on the Crimewatch beat after her newfound fame as a writer of a book on the original Grendel, Hunter Rose. Life is good.
She, her young son Anson, and her full-of-life friend Ginny Anastasi go to a kabuki theater and meet its magnetic star, Tujiro XIV. He creeps Christine out by licking her hand when he meets her. He also surreptitiously plucks a hair from Anson's head.
That night, Tujiro licks the hair and casts a spell over Anson, hypnotizing him into leaving the house, where he is picked up by one of Tujiro's flunkies. Christine, who has a nanny, doesn't realize he's gone until the next night. She looks all over, and calls her police contacts, but they can do nothing; he hasn't been gone long enough.
She puts her reporter skills to work and realizes that many of the recent disappearances of young boys have happened at the same times and places as the kabuki theater's tour. She realizes Tujiro must be involved.
No longer putting any trust in the police, she decides to take matters into her own hands, and creates a plan. The next time Ginny comes over, Christine pretends to be extremely drunk, to create an alibi for the night. Then she breaks into the public library, which has an exhibit of Hunter Rose's mask and fork. She steals them, goes home, and puts them on. She is the new Grendel.
Across town, Hunter Rose's old foe Argent, who has been an invalid for years, is suddenly awakened when he feels that the spirit of Grendel has come back.