The subculture Somoza has created here is fascinating, strange and somewhat fetishistic. The investigators are not police detectives, but administrators in charge of security for the artistic genius Bruno Van Tysch, whose human "paintings" have been targeted by a killer.
The story moves between the politics behind the investigation (not the police procedures but behind-the-scenes power struggles among different branches of Van Tysch's organization, and lots of talk about the money at stake if his priceless works are damaged or lost) and the experience of one human "canvas" as she is stretched, primed, sketched, and otherwise prepared to become a master work.
Much of the novel is taken up with that process, and with the controversies surrounding humans-as-art. The investigators cannot even agree as to whether the torture and murder of one of Van Tysch's paintings was "sadistic"-- was she, after all, human, or only a canvas?
Absorbing, complex, a great read.