The second in librarian Barbara Fister's Anni Kosinken mystery series, Through the Cracks makes me sad. Sad because it's so good, that I think Barbara could ditch librarianship and be a full-time writer. She's a really good librarian, so it would be a serious loss to the profession.
This time around Anni has a gnarly rape case to investigate, way past the statute of limitations on prosecuting it. As with its predecessor In the Wind, Through the Cracks expresses criticism of government policies and police enforcement of such policies. She doesn't beat you over the head with it, but you know where she stands. She's not entirely above beating a bad guy over the head, though. Anni is a really great character--badass, but vulnerable; orphaned, but with a diverse chosen family (including a respectful portrayal of a brother with autism); smart and creative, but not so perfect that she gets on your nerves. The rape context is kind of gruesome but the survivors and their stories are handled with great sensitivity and demonstrate a spectrum of how sexual assault affects a person.
The story is totally compelling and is partially responsible for my leaving a social gathering early last night because I had twenty pages left to finish, and I kind of needed to know how it was going to end.