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Through the Cracks

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Overview

When Chicago private investigator Anni Koskinen takes on a new client, she finds herself working on an impossible case. After spending twenty years in prison, a black man convicted in a notorious rape case has  had his sentence overturned. The victim wants to know who was really responsible for the crime that scarred her life.  But even if Anni can find out who committed the brutal crime decades ago, a conviction will be impossible---unless the rapist has struck again....

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Through the Cracks

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Overview

When Chicago private investigator Anni Koskinen takes on a new client, she finds herself working on an impossible case. After spending twenty years in prison, a black man convicted in a notorious rape case has  had his sentence overturned. The victim wants to know who was really responsible for the crime that scarred her life.  But even if Anni can find out who committed the brutal crime decades ago, a conviction will be impossible---unless the rapist has struck again.

The resourceful victim has uncovered evidence indicating that a serial rapist may still be at work, attacking women with ferocious anger. But as Anni digs deeper, the politically ambitious state’s attorney who prosecuted the original rape case insists that the conviction was solid. He believes there was no miscarriage of justice---other than that a violent felon has been released on a technicality.

As Anni’s cold case heats up, her friend Dugan, a CPD detective, is involved in a heater case of his own. An undocumented Mexican gang member has been arrested for the murder of a missing woman, and his uncertain fate has gripped the city and fueled anti-immigrant sentiment.

As both investigations unfold, the impact of racial prejudice radiates cracks through the criminal justice system, and it is through those cracks that Anni must try to glimpse the truth. 

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Editorial Reviews

Library Journal
In her second outing, after In the Wind, former Chicago cop-turned-PI Anni Koskinen is hired to find a rapist who, 20 years ago, brutally attacked a young woman. The victim identified the wrong young man, who spent two decades in prison. Anni investigates a number of current rape cases similar to the Lincoln Park Rapist, but the political ambitions of the prosecutor and the stubbornness of the police make her job an uphill battle. VERDICT Fister, a librarian and frequent LJ contributor (see p. 38), juggles a lot of plot lines that might lead to some confusion for the reader. But her book—a Chicago version of the infamous 1989 Central Park rape case—ultimately packs a real punch. It will appeal to Sara Paretsky fans and mystery readers who long for tough and savvy female investigators.
Kirkus Reviews
After helping to send the wrong man to jail, a rape victim wants justice. Chase Taylor, young and black, is erroneously identified as a rapist by the victim and goes away for a long time. It's a particularly vicious rape coupled with a brutal beating that nearly kills Jill McKenzie, who's no more than a girl at the time. Some 20 years later, Professor McKenzie sets her sights on reheating a very cold case. Sure she feels guilty over her tragic mistake in identifying the wrong man. But it's more than that, she tells Chicago private eye Anni Koskinen. Since Chase is innocent, she has to assume that a predatory psychopath still prowls, a terrifying danger to others, and she wants Anni to find him. Anni's less convinced that this is a good idea. So much time has passed, and she lacks the resources required to succeed where good cops and a professional investigation have failed. Reluctance yields to persistence, however, and Anni signs on. Soon enough, she discovers that the danger her client envisions is chillingly real. There's every reason to believe that the MOs match in at least seven subsequent rape/beating cases, and no reason to believe the psychopathology has run its course. Comparisons to that other Chicago p.i., Sara Paretsky's illustrious V.I. Warshawski, are probably inescapable. When Fister (In the Wind, 2008, etc.) toughens Anni up a bit, she'll justify them.
Publishers Weekly
Sociology professor Jill McKenzie hires PI Anni Koskinen to find the man who raped her in Chicago's Lincoln Park 23 years earlier in Fister's strong sequel to In the Wind (2008). Chase Taylor, a 16-year-old high on coke who was in the park near the time of the assault, was convicted of the crime, but later freed on appeal. McKenzie has assembled data that suggests her attacker is a serial rapist responsible for at least seven additional attacks over a 10-year period that overlaps with Taylor's jail time. Part social worker and part sleuth, Koskinen connects with an array of well-drawn supporting characters, including other rape victims, the lead investigator on the McKenzie case, and the attorney who helped overturn Taylor's conviction. Thoughtful attention to the complexities of police work and social justice lift this gritty mystery well above the norm. Koskinen's empathy with both cops and victims as well as her fierce, brittle independence make her easy to root for. (May)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780312374921
  • Publisher: St. Martin's Press
  • Publication date: 5/11/2010
  • Pages: 320
  • Product dimensions: 5.86 (w) x 8.62 (h) x 0.37 (d)

Meet the Author

Barbara Fister lives in rural Minnesota, where she works as a librarian at a small liberal arts college.  Please visit barbarafister.com.

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Customer Reviews

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Sort by: Showing all of 2 Customer Reviews
  • Posted March 2, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    gritty dark Chicago investigative tale

    Over two decades ago in Chicago's Lincoln Park, a man raped Jill McKenzie. Teenage coke user Chase Taylor was arrested, convicted, but freed on appeal.

    Now a sociology professor, Jill has put together a profile about her attacker that leads her to believe he is a serial rapist. She hires private investigator Anni Koskinen to find this predator. She believes he has sexually battered at least seven women in the past decade in between his prison time for other crimes. Although Anni considers her client has an ax to grind, her social work background enables Koskinen to gently talk with the other rape victims. She follows those harrowing nightmarish discussions with meeting with other involved parties from the McKenzie case as she increasingly believes her client is right about her assessment.

    Anni makes this gritty dark Chicago investigative tale work as readers will empathize with her, the victims, and the cops trying to remove psychopaths off the streets. Character driven, aptly titled Through the Cracks is a wonderful tale starring a strong yet vulnerable heroine who the audience will admire and want more tales with her as the star.

    Harriet Klausner

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 10, 2011

    No text was provided for this review.

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