Paloma Dove is a woman with three identities. Due to circumstances in her past, she lives a quiet, nefarious life in lower Manhattan. When the book opens, Paloma is at La Guardia airport fleeing from an assassin. In the previous twenty-four hours she had been shot at and her apartment firebombed. She considers surrender but the thought of her daughter, Maddie Abbott, a child she had to abandon, keeps Paloma's hope and desire to live paramount.
Retired FBI agent Max Laurent, a man who had known and loved a woman named Agnes Lopez, reads about a burned-out apartment in the New York Times and rushes to New York City. There he learns Agnes, now called Paloma, is running for her life. Feeling responsible for the twists Agnes's life has taken, he pursues her, ostensibly to help.
Paloma, homeless with no money or identification, reverts to several cons and flees for safety to Buffalo where she also must come to terms with her past. There, twenty-five years earlier, her life as Agnes Lopez had ended after she had testified in a police brutality case and was placed in the witness protection program subsequently becoming, Nancy Abbott. Before Paloma can discover who and why someone wants her dead, Max Laurent, a man she had loved, but learned to hate, reenters her life.
Joining forces, yet estranged from past emotional bruises, Max and Paloma gather clues and ask the critical question – which of three identities, Agnes Lopez (witness in a police brutality case), Nancy Abbott (Maddie's ‘deceased' mother), or Paloma Dove (world-class forgerer) is the assassin after?