|B & N link|
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.