In the Bleak Midwinter, Julia Spencer-Fleming

B & N link
This is the first in Spencer-Fleming's Clare Fergusson & Russ Van Alstyne murder mystery series set in rural New York state. Clare is an Episcopal priest with a background as an Army helicopter pilot. Russ is the local Chief of Police, also with a military background. What she's captured brilliantly is that both positions (minister and detective) are 'set apart': helping professions in which the real people can easily disappear behind the job title.

I was initially dubious. The first chapters felt sensational (abandoned baby, dead teenage girl, incest!) and forced - characters conveniently volunteer and inquire into each other's backstories - but I got sucked in halfway through, and absolutely hooked by about 2/3rd to 3/4. That's a long way to go before getting bitten by the bug, but it does make you reach right away for the next book in the series! I believe there are 8 books out currently.

Spencer-Fleming has a terrific eye for detail, sounds, and smells, that make the world of the book feel real, but I think her outstanding quality is the way she writes in scenes of non-physical intimacy that powerfully bind her characters together: cooking dinner, shared humor, trading stories and hobbies; just knowing there's someone you can be yourself around, who will come looking for you when you are lost.