Fans of crime fiction--especially Ian Rankin--must heck out Denise Mina. Her Garnethill trilogy is far more convincingly Scottish than any of the Rebus novels, and her understanding of battered women is remarkable. Mina formerly worked at a facility for the mentally ill and has written extensively about the medical treatment of "deviant women," and it's clear from her writing that she knows her stuff.
What's also clear--at least in the Garnethill books--is that she's an extremely empathic writer, capable of creating fully realized characters. Drunken abuse-victim turned detective/vigilante Maureen O'Donnell--of the Garnethill books--is the best case in point. Look for Maureen's fall-down drunk confrontation of a London gangster in Exile. It's a genre book, no doubt, but Mina demonstrates true literary skill in her depiction of Maureen's thougth processes.