In Cop Town by Karin Slaughter, Kate Murphy couldn’t have picked a worse day to start as a rookie cop for the Atlanta Police Department. The APD has been rocked by a serial killer that the force has dubbed The Shooter. Kate’s partner, Maggie Lawson isn’t about to make things any easier for the Buckhead princess. Maggie has her own problems: her cop brother was injured last night by The Shooter and her cop uncle has no qualms about beating her or reminding her that she belongs in the kitchen not on the force. As Kate and Maggie patrol the streets looking for the killer, the two come to believe that they could solve the case before the detectives do. Just two problems: This is Atlanta in 1974 and women aren’t detectives and aren’t welcomed on the force.
I have to admit that I am a huge fan of Slaughter’s. I have been reading her for years and each book gets better and better. Her descriptions of my hometown of Atlanta are so accurate that it feels like I am visiting. Cop Town is a much different book for Slaughter. It’s het first stand alone novel. It’s also historical in nature. Anyone who reads this book should know it’s nothing at all like her Grant County and Will Trent series.
Atlanta in 1974 is on the cusp of a radical culture change. Desegregation is beginning. Whites are fleeing to the suburbs ultimately creating the urban sprawl that the city is now notorious for. Most importantly, Atlanta has elected it’s first Black mayor, Maynard Jackson.
Slaughter uses all of this as a background for her story. She doesn’t flinch in telling the gritty truth of Atlanta and it’s police force then. Her characters have no shame in using racial, homophobic, and misogynistic slurs. Her research is so meticulous that she even references the lynching of Leo Frank, which as a native Atlantan/Georgian, I didn’t learn about until I was in college taking a Georgia History class.
One of the main reasons I love Slaughter so much is because of her female characters. They are strong women who aren’t afraid to take charge. Slaughter doesn’t disappoint with Maggie and Kate. She does stay true to the history of that time frame because even as cops, there were certain things the two women couldn’t do. Slaughter makes sure that the readers experience what it meant for Kate and Maggie to put on the uniform.
This book isn’t for the feint of heart. It is an amazing, heart pounding novel that will make you wish there was a series. If you haven’t read Slaughter before, read this book! You will wonder how you missed out on such a talented author.
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About the Book:
Title: Cop Town
Author: Karin Slaughter
Publisher: Delacorte Press
Release Date: June 24, 2014
Source: Borrowed from the Library
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 but 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 that 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 the citywide search for a 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.
Relentlessly paced, acutely observed, wickedly funny, and often heartbreaking, Cop Town is Karin Slaughter’s most powerful novel yet—a tour de force of storytelling from our foremost master of character, atmosphere, and suspense.