Friday, April 24, 2015
REVIEW: Cop Town by Karin Slaughter
Author: Karin Slaughter
Publisher: Delacorte Press
Publication Date: June, 2014
Buy The Book: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Audible
Description: 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.
My Thoughts: I found Cop Town to be a major departure from what Karin Slaughter usually writes. She’s a very good suspense writer but this book is so much more than that. This book crosses so many sensitive barrier lines and is done so well, I didn’t have time to be shocked at the events transpiring in the book, though some of it was very difficult to read. This story brings issues of prejudice, bigotry, sexism, corruption and ethics to the forefront. This story centers on Maggie Lawson, an officer of the Atlanta Police Department and her new rookie partner, Kate Murphy. From the onset, the reader is given a very strong impression that women are not wanted or respected on the force. The level of hostility and harassment these women experience is very disturbing. Add in a serial killer who is targeting police officers and you have a very intense story that kept me anxious to find out what happens next and dreading it at the same time. The line separating the good from the evil is very blurry in this book.
I thought Maggie and Kate were interesting characters and though they are definitely a part of the ‘good ole boy’ network of Atlanta PD, they are definitely not part of the inner circle that Maggie’s uncle Terry and brother Jimmy are in. Maggie and Kate both feel like they have something to prove, not just to themselves but to the people around them. What I found interesting is the hostility that Kate receives from the female officers as well as the male officers. Instead of presenting a united front, the animosity between the women is a living, breathing entity. It takes all of Kate’s strength of mind and character to come back after her first day. I found myself wondering many times if either of them would make it to the end of this book in one piece.
Maggie’s uncle, Terry is a despicable character. He is a product of his time. Adjectives of sexist, male chauvinist pig, tyrant, bully, bastard all come to mind. He’s not above raising his hand against a woman and has no problem inflicting verbal and physical abuse on Maggie. Domestic violence was not viewed back then the way it is today and women had few rights outside the home. I would not have shed any tears if he had been one of the shooter’s targets.
Maggie’s brother, Jimmy was more likable but I struggled with his attitude initially. He is a redeemable character and by the end of the book most of his behavior made sense. I struggled with the ethics and moral compass of many of the characters but it was true to the time period this book is set in.
The story begins with Jimmy’s partner being gunned down and Jimmy barely escaping with his life. The entire department is out for blood and the “shoot first, ask questions later” mentally is in full swing. Maggie and Kate find themselves conducting a side investigation when they both individually realize that Jimmy’s account of what happened doesn’t make logical sense. This puts them in closer proximity to the killer and the stakes are raised when we discover that Kate is being stalked. The story continues to heighten the anticipation and intensity throughout the book. I thought the identity of the shooter was fitting and believable, though I was surprised that I didn’t see it or catch on earlier.
My Final Verdict: Overall, this is a very good story filled with heart racing intensity that will appeal to fans of the suspense and thriller genre, once the initial shock of the behavior and attitudes of the time period wears off.
Disclaimer: I received a complimentary copy of Cop Town from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.
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