The third Rizzoli/Isles novel begins with a prologue set in India with a man trying to document a crime scene for the Octagon corporation. While there he stumbles upon a woman without a face before the prologue ends, and the novel shifts to a crime scene at a monastery in Boston where two women have been found bludgeoned. One of them has barely survived, but is unconscious, while the young twenty year old nun (the only novice to join in fifteen years) is dead. Due to the prologue, the reader has a bit more knowledge than Detective Jane Rizzoli and Medical Examiner Maura Isles, and is left to wonder from early on how exactly the India vignette is going to tie into the case. It is a secluded cloister, which means that the nuns live a life of reflection and prayer with no contact to the outside. Despite this, the medical exam reveals that the young nun had just recently given birth to a child. Immediate suspects of course include the unknown father, and as the only man with access to the nuns, their priest, Daniel Brophy is an early suspect.
Maura finds herself attracted to the priest, who more than willingly gives up a DNA sample to the police. However, her ex-husband also arrives in town, trying to rekindle old flames. Rizzoli and Isles spend some commiserating about men since things have fizzled between FBI agent Gabriel Dean and Rizzoli, and Rizzoli is now pregnant. However, Dean shows up to investigate a seemingly unrelated case of a murder victim whose limbs have been removed, though the woman is soon suspected to be from India.
This novel veers from the format set in the other two novels since this one isn't about a serial killer, and goes more of the conspiracy theory route. There are no coincedences in this world, and everything ends up tying together. Rizzoli's pregnancy softens her up a bit, and I think it was also helpful to have more of the novel be from Maura's perspective. I didn't think the sex scenes were very well written, and it seems like Rizzoli and Isles are both focused on their status as single women. I understand that everyone has those moments, but for two such accomplished women, I wish there wasn't quite as much self-doubt due to those types of things. Overall, there were a few red herrings, and the novel was entertaining, though it wasn't quite as tense as the first two in the series.