Lieutenant Eve Dallas, experienced police woman, recipient of numerous awards in the line of duty, admired by friends and colleagues, is a homicide detective in New York City. She’s also a married woman who hasn’t finished preparing for the Christmas party she and her husband are giving in a few days. Intent on finishing her latest case and going home, she bumps into a frumpy middle aged woman. It’s Trudy Lombard! Eve’s former foster mother is in town for the holidays. She claims to be happy that her former charge is doing well.
Eve hasn’t seen Trudy since she ran away years ago. A foster mother who learned her trade from repeated viewings of Mommie Dearest, the woman Eve remembers was not a nurturing role model. She always took in the hard to place cases; the ones who had nowhere else to go. Trudy knew how to work the system. Child placement services considered her one of their best foster care givers. Trudy’s charges considered her cold hearted and self centered.
Eve had night terrors while she was in foster care. Trudy was too busy to coddle a hysterical child; so she locked the girl in her room and ignored her incoherent whimpers. No one noticed when Eve quit crying; but child services paid attention when she ran away. Shortly after escaping Trudy’s tender care, Eve worked her way into the police academy and the start of a brilliant career. Now that Eve has all she ever wanted, her foster mother drops in.
Trudy hasn’t changed. The only person she's interested in helping is herself.
Trudy realized Eve’s nightmares were really flashbacks to an incident that her former charge would rather forget. She’s willing to disappear if Eve will make it worth her while not to tell what she knows. Trudy doesn’t know that Eve discovered the truth about her nightmares long ago. She wants nothing to do with her former foster mother and tells her to go away. Trudy remembers a traumatized child. She never did understand Eve. When she was a little girl who had nowhere to go and no one to help her, she got herself out of a bad situation. Eve has made a career out of helping those who can’t help themselves. She went from victim to protector and she’s not going back. Now that she’s all grown up, Eve is not going to let her ex-foster mother take away everything she’s worked so hard to gain.
A few days later, Trudy Lombard is dead. Now Eve must find a killer. Along the way she’ll uncover Trudy’s habit of blackmailing former charges. It would seem Trudy pushed too hard and someone finally pushed back. But Eve knows looks can be deceiving.