Today I’m reviewing Cop Town by Karin Slaughter. Let’s start with a little information from the publisher:
About the book: Atlanta: 1974. As a brutal murder and a furious manhunt rock the city’s police department, Kate Murphy wonders if her first day on the job will also be her last. She’s determined to defy her privileged background by making her own way – wearing a badge and carrying a gun. But for a beautiful young woman, life will be anything by easy in the macho world of the Atlanta PD, where even the female cops have little mercy for rookies. It’s also the worst day possible to start, given a beloved cop has been gunned down, his brothers in blue are out for blood, and the city is on the edge of war.
Kate isn’t the only woman on the force who’s feeling the heat. Maggie Lawson followed her uncle and brother into the ranks to prove her worth in their cynical eyes. When she and Kate, her new partner, are pushed out of a citywide search for the cop killer, their fury, pain and pride finally reach the boiling point. With a killer poised to strike again, they will pursue their own line of investigation, risking everything as they venture into the city’s darkest heart.
My review: I’ve read most of Karin Slaughter’s books. She is a wonderful writer. I started with one of the books in what is now called The Grant County series and I was hooked. It was another of those experiences where you read one book and you have to read them all. So, the news that she had written a new book, a stand alone novel that takes place in Atlanta in the Seventies, was very intriguing.
Though it was a little slow going at the start, simply because Slaughter had to spend time establishing time and place as one must in any period novel, it was absolutely worth hanging in there. Once it took off for me, it really took off. This is such a good, good book. The story is riveting, the setting of urban Atlanta – in a time where women were not accepted on the police force, when homophobia was rampant, as was as mistrust of anyone who was not white – is the perfect choice. I was plunged back into a time that was not so long ago, and though I was never on the police force, I well remember that time as a young woman trying to make my way. I also remember the misogynistic attitudes that were part and parcel of everyday life. And the homophobia. And the racism. Seeing it again through the eyes of the two young women on the police force evoked powerful feelings.
Slaughter paints a vivid picture of that time and the detail she layers into every scene is intricate and telling. You are there. You see it all: The white old-school cops, riddled with fear and anger about the changes happening around them. The prostitutes and pimps and those who live on the edges, the outskirts, of polite society. What Slaughter does extremely well in all her novels is plot execution. She weaves together the threads of the story, building suspense on each page, so that by the time you are heading into the final quarter of the novel, you cannot put it down.
Written in the third person and moving back and forth between Maggie and Kate, we watch them both come to terms with who they are and who they must be in order to move forward in life. With a murderer on the loose and Maggie’s brother Jimmy in danger, time is of the essence and they must take matters into their own hands at great risk to themselves. I never reveal much in terms of plot because I don’t want to spoil it for anyone. But let me assure you, this plot will keep you guessing from start to finish. I love it when a twist in the plot causes me to gasp out loud and it happened in this book.
It’s gritty and graphic in some parts, though absolutely none of it is gratuitous. It’s integral to the plot. And, let’s face it, life on the police force in a major city is gritty. No sense pretending otherwise.
This is a great thriller. I’ve really liked all of Slaughter’s books, but I have to say this one is my favorite and I hope and pray that this is the start of a new series.
I have a feeling it is.
About the author: Karin Slaughter is The New York Times and #1 internationally bestselling author of Unseen, Criminal, Fallen, Broken, Undone, Fractured, Beyond Reach, Triptych, Faithless, Indelible, A Faint Cold Fear, Kisscut, and Blindsighted, as well as the e-book original novellas “Busted,” “Snatched,” and “Thorn in My Side:” she also contributed to and edited Like a Charm. To date, her books have been translated into more than thirty languages. She is a native of Atlanta, Georgia, where she currently lives and is working on her next novel.
Thank you to NetGalley and Random House for supplying the Advanced Reading Copy/ e-Galley of this book in return for my honest review.
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