A good airplane read is a tricky feat to pull off: You need an engaging yet troubled protagonist, a nicely twisted murder, and enough MacGuffins to keep a reader intrigued for the length of, say, one layover, two warm beers, and an occasional glance up at ''Agent Cody Banks.'' Done, done, and done. Boston detective Jane Rizzoli (a Tess Gerritsen regular) teams up with chilly Maura Isles, a single, work-obsessed medical examiner who's one black Cleopatra-cut hair away from Patricia Cornwell's Kay Scarpetta.
The case: A young, disturbed nun is beaten to death in her cloistered chapel. The tangles involve corporate misdeeds, sexual abuse, hottie priests, and skin disease, story lines that Gerritsen mixes deftly with Rizzoli's and Isles' complicated personal lives. The Sinner is as busy and bumpy as a storm-filled sky, and a lot more satisfying than that bag of peanuts.