Wednesday, June 02, 2010

Through the Cracks by Barbara Fister

Somehow, I missed Barbara Fister's first Anni Koskinen mystery, In the Wind. After reading her latest one, Through the Cracks, I don't intend to miss any more.

Anni Koskinen was a Chicago cop for ten years, before she violated the brotherhood of the thin blue line, and testified against a fellow cop. When she was shot, and her partner died, she finally left the force and became a private investigator. Now, she is skilled at assisting North Shore families to find their troubled kids. But, politics and a missing young woman are raising tempers in Chicago. And, a sweep of neighborhoods, led by Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), doesn't help relations. Anni even wakes up to find ICE breaking into her house, looking for a man who moved out a year earlier.

Even with the troubles in Chicago, Anni is reluctant to drive to Iowa for a case. And, Jill McKenzie's request to open an investigation still finds her reluctant. Today, McKenzie is a respected professor, but twenty-three years earlier she was raped, beaten, and left for dead. Now, she wants Anni to look for her rapist, because Jill is convinced she identified the wrong man, a man who was just released after his conviction was overturned. Instead, McKenzie has used her academic skills to identify a pattern of a serial rapist, who may have been operating for years under the noses of the Chicago police.

Anni Koskinen makes no promises, but as she asks a few questions, she finds other victims ready to talk. At the same time, the police and a power-hungry state's attorney have no interest in opening a can of worms. And, Anni's case could do just that, jeopardizing a current front-page investigation. If feelings are hot in Chicago right now, wait until the results of Anni's investigation become known.

Barbara Fister gets the reader's adrenaline going on the first page, and she never lets go. She gives us tense situations, racial issues, politics, rape and murder, as well as that thin blue line. And, in advance of Arizona's S.B. 1070, she wrote of house invasions by ICE agents, the turmoil created by fear, and the unrest around illegal immigrants. How can one author fill a book with so much topical material, and keep the story riveting? Fister succeeds in a masterful story, Through the Cracks.

Barbara Fister's website is

Through the Cracks by Barbara Fister. St. Martin's Minotaur, ©2010. ISBN 9780312374914 (hardcover), 288p.

FTC Full Disclosure - The author sent me my ARC, hoping I would review the book.


Elizabeth Spann Craig/Riley Adams said...

Sounds heavy, but good!

Lesa said...

It is heavy, Elizabeth, but with the topical nature, and the riveting story, it was very, very good.

Janet said...

I've learned about many new authors on your blog. Thank you for the new reading (and for busting my budget.) But this author is one of my new favorites. I absolutely loved "In the Wind."

Lesa said...

So, you beat me to this author, Janet. I'm sorry about the budget. Nowadays, with all the library budget problems, I even hesitate to say ask for the books at your local library. That's just a shame that I can't do that anymore after 37 years working in public libraries. I'm glad I could introduce you to a number of new authors, though.

kathy d. said...

Barbara Fister is good. I read her first book and can't wait to read this one.

She has a Scandinavian book blog online which is terrific, for those who are reading this genre.

Lesa said...

I don't know how I missed her first one, Kathy, but I did. I won't miss future books!

Kay said...

I really like the sound of this one, Lesa. I'll hunt for it and also for the first in the series. Thanks for the highlight!

Lesa said...

You're welcome, Kay. I really liked this. And, Barbara is a fellow librarian!

(And, welcome back, Kay. Big hugs!)