Jane’s brother Frankie desperately wants to be a homicide detective, so when he's passed over yet again, his disappointment is bitter – especially because the woman who snags the new spot in homicide is Detective Riley Cooper, who flirted with both Frankie and Frost while she was working undercover. Now the tension is thick as both men give Riley the cold shoulder. But there's no time to nurse feuds, because a bizarre new homicide has just turned up. A statue of the Venus de Milo, seeping blood into a public fountain, contains a horrifying surprise: a dead woman with her arms lopped off. What kind of sick artist would encase his victim in plaster and display her in a public place?
In the morgue, Jane and Maura discover the dead woman was an older prostitute who gave birth at least once and whose body may have been kept in cold storage. An even bigger surprise is the man who shows up to see Maura. For months, Maura's been pining for Dennis Rockmand, the celebrity author with whom she spent a magical evening. Now he's back in town and wants to reconnect, and Maura is afraid to risk her heart again. But Dennis is so attractive and persistent, how can she resist him?
Meanwhile the Rizzoli family must deal with wacky, pregnant Lydia, who had affairs with both Jane's father and Jane's brother Tommy. Lydia is about to give birth and wants the baby raised by the Rizzolis. Should Angela take in the homewrecker’s child, a baby who might be Angela's own grandchild?
As Jane and Maura struggle with their personal lives, more dead woman are turning up encased in plaster. The killer is circling in, and he already has his murderous eye on his next “work of art” – a target that's closer than anyone realizes.