Atlanta, 1974: a police killer is loose on the streets of Atlanta - and three female officers have their own battles to fight...
This is a stand-alone novel from Slaughter set in the same geographical territory as her Sara Linton/Will Trent series but in a very different time. The flashback parts of Criminal showed us the battles fought by women in the 1960s to be taken seriously and this book makes that struggle central to the story.
It's now 1974 and this book is as much a social commentary as it is a gripping crime story. At its heart are Maggie who comes from a cop family, Kate who is the new girl, and Gail the raddled undercover officer. I liked the way this isn't an easy `female buddies' story: the tensions and divisions between these women add an air of authenticity to the story and make it far more interesting than it might have been in less skilful hands.
What is shocking is the institutionalised sexism, racism and homophobia that is socially acceptable: women routinely have their breasts and bodies fondled by their police colleagues as they walk through the workplace and know that there is no option but to put up and shut up. The quasi-apartheid which splits black and white officers crosses the gender divide so that the white female officers leave the locker room before the `coloured girls' take their place. That this is only 40 years ago is phenomenal, and Slaughter depicts it all with a cool and clinical eye which allows the facts of the story to speak for themselves.
So this is an engrossing crime story but what lifts it above the mass of crime out there is the intelligent depiction of a society on the brink of change. Slaughter has really matured as a writer - this is a fabulous read. Highly recommended.
(This review is from an ARC courtesy of the publisher)
on 20 July 2014
It's man's man's man's world. A white man's world, that is. Atlanta, 1974. A cop killer is on the loose in a city that is rife with racism, sexism, anti-Semitism and homophobia. "Cop Town" follows rookie Kate Murphy in her first week on the job. She is partnered with Maggie Lawson, who followed her uncle and brother to the force and keeps trying to prove her worth to them. When the women are sidelined in the search for Atlanta's cop killer, they decide to pursue their own line of investigation...
Karin Slaughter did a marvellous job of portraying the atmosphere and zeitgeist of 1970s Atlanta. The in-your-face racism and sexism are abhorrent but at the same time a testament to the authenticity with which Slaughter writes.
The book contains very strong language. It was a little too much for my liking to be honest but I thought it added to the story and it actually fits the characters. It might not be everyone's cup of tea though so please be warned.
It's not only the language that keeps shocking. There are some rather violent scenes and a few unexpected twists, one of which had me startled while reading.
"Cop Town" is definitely not for the fainthearted! It's raw, brutal and angry, very angry. But it's also a page-turner and I literally couldn't put it down. If you like fast-paced, thrilling books, pick up "Cop Town" and you won’t be disappointed.
I should also mention the cover as images simply don’t do it any justice. The cover is a fabulous shiny silver, which I just love!
on 3 October 2015
Oh dear, what a disappointment. I love Karin Slaughter books and have really enjoyed the Grant County, Georgia and Will Trent series, as well as some stand alone novels. However, this book is nasty, nasty, nasty. I can understand what she is trying to convey about the sexism of the 70s, especially in male dominated occupations - I was there, so I know a bit about it, including the domestic violence. However, the foul language, racist, sexist and enti-semitic language in this book was relentless and deeply unpleasant to read. I got no enjoyment from this book, and was glad when I reached the end. It left me feeling soiled, as do some films of this nature. Sadly, what was quite a good story got lost in all the brutality and unpleasantness. I shall be careful to check the synopsis of future Karin Slaughter books, rather than just buy them.
on 6 October 2014
Cop Town by Karin Slaughter, one of the best crime novelists in America, is a standalone police procedural set in 1974, which takes the reader into the world of the Atlanta Police Department during one of its worst periods when it was ravaged by cultural and gender dissension. It was a time when women were beginning to assert themselves and make their voices heard beyond the four walls of their homes.
The story focuses on two young female cops: Kate Murphy and Maggie Lawson. Kate is a young Jewish widow from a wealthy family. After her husband was killed in Vietnam, she joined the police force. Maggie comes from a family of cops. Both her brother Jimmy and uncle Terry served as cops but instead of welcoming her into their ranks, she is being scorned and taunted.
It is not an easy thing to be a female police officer. Kate and Maggie face all sorts of obstacles and challenges. Though they come from different family background, they have one thing in common - they are both tough. When Kate joined the force, she is assigned to partner with Maggie, whose brother Jimmy's partner was killed a few days earlier by a serial killer who targeted cops, taking the toll to five within the last few months. All the five police officers have been killed with bullet on their heads. The whole police force is jittery, and no one seems to be having any clue about the killer whom the police dubbed "The Shooter." But the killer calls himself "Foxy."
It is up to Kate and Maggie to get to the bottom of the mystery. And sometimes, it is not what it seems. There are too many loose ends. And things begin to heat up when Kate is stalked by the killer. Cop Town by Karin Slaughter is not just another ordinary mystery crime thriller. It is a deeply engrossing story, full of suspense and mystery that readers will remember for long even after the last page is turned.
on 16 August 2014
I love Karin Slaughter, I've read all her books and she's one of my favourite authors. So when Cop Town was due for release I preordered it without knowing what the book was about. With your favourite author, you don't care, right?
From the first couple of pages I was doubting whether this book would do it for me. It's set in Atalanta during the '70 where racism, inequality, human right abuse and intimidation were rife. The book focuses around rookie beat cop Kate Murphy who gets partnered with Maggie Lawson on her first day during one of the Atlanta Police Department's greatest manhunts for a cop killer known simply as "the Shooter". Together Maggie and Kate decide to search for the Shooter themselves after Maggie's brother and fellow officer disappears leaving a note claiming he was responsible for all the cop deaths. This is a very dark book with abuse littered throughout the pages. Maggie herself regularly finds herself at the receiving end of her a Uncle Terry's fists on an almost daily basis, despite him bring a detective and central figure in the Atlanta Police Force. Maggie's helplessness is almost palpable and I many times wished I could just reach into the pages and guide Maggie away from her abusive life. This is despite the fact that she's a tough beat cop but lacks the confidence to stand up to the bullies. Overall, it's a fantastic book with crudeness, gore and misery peppered throughout. My initial concerns were totally unfounded. Karin Slaughter is an amazing author irrespective of what she writes.
I've been a huge fan of Karin Slaughter's for absolutely years. I loved her Grant County books with Sara Linton and Jeffrey Tolliver. And Will Trent is one of my favourite all time characters. I adore the man. I thought the 1970s scenes in 'Criminal' were totally fascinating, and am so chuffed that Karin Slaughter decided to explore this further.
Cop Town is set in 1975 in Atlanta. We get two very different women, as leads; Kate Murphy, a widowed newbie police officer and Maggie Lawson, who comes from a family of cops. Kate is in her first week and Maggie has been on the job for years. This is an environment where sexism, racism and every sort of ism is prevalent and explicit. It is refreshing, in a weird sort of way and at the same time, brutal and cruel. Women are not really welcome, in the macho, patriarchal police force. Discrimination on account of race, gender and religion and class, are the norm. Kate is rather well-to-do, so there are class differences added to this complicated mix.
'The Shooter' is on the prowl in the city, targetting cops indiscriminately. The book starts with Jimmy Lawson carrying his shot and dying partner to Grant County hospital Accident and Emergency. Jimmy is Maggie's brother. She soon finds herself drawn into the murder investigation and doing a spot of detective work, along with Kate. Who is 'The Shooter' and will Kate be able to last the week in the harsh police environment?
WOW!!! This book totally and completely exceeded my expectations. I knew it would be fantastic and it was. Strong female leads plus a gritty and exciting plot. I loved both Kate and Maggie, and was willing Kate to find her feet and bond with her partner. I was drawn into the dark world of 1970s Atlanta and didn't want it to end. I wanted to go back in time and to be there. I wanted to slap the sexist police officers and stand up to the nasty bullying.
To anyone who hasn't read a Karin Slaughter, you really should. She NEVER disappoints. This is an excellent introduction, if you are a complete newbie to Karin and her books.
on 31 July 2014
After some trepidation over a change of era, a lack of my favourite characters and a slightly negative review I saw here i have to say its just as good as her writing always is. I am gripped and I was soon gritting my teeth in annoyance at one character at least (this is some of the joy of a slaughter novel), she manages to get shades in her characters meaning that instead of good guys and bad guys there are people who frustrate and anger you but also make you wish and hope for them.
New to Karin Slaughter? Don't worry this book is not part of the series so no need to hook back and start from the beginning you can start here.
There are bound to be uncomfortable moments and perspectives portrayed in this book, being the deep south in the 70's. In UK I have seen many TV series recently using this as an excuse to be 'non pc' not here, we have a real good look at what those times meant to the people (like me) who lived in them.
I wonder if it was Amanda and Evelyn's back story in a previous book that set Karin on this enterprise, or perhaps her seemingly intuitive understanding of when the time is right to switch things up, much as I miss the regulars I have been down the road with other authors where a cracking tale with regular characters suddenly becomes a seemingly interminable rehashing of character traits NOT KARIN. So while a few fans of Will (who couldn't be one?) are bound to feel disappointment at the departure I for one am happy to go on a new journey.
Any way I'm so hooked on this bunch I hope it's not a stand alone but the beginning of a new series. Please
on 28 July 2014
I am shamefully admitting that whilst crime is my most read genre, this is the first time I have read a book by the talented Karin Slaughter. I know, I know, there is no excuse and I see that I have been missing out after reading this outstanding and breathtaking novel. Never fear, I shall be reading every single book she has written after this one.
Cop Town is unlike ANY crime novel I have ever read before. It's an absolute stand out with it's plot, characters, message and depth. For me this was a six star read. It's so well written that it makes many other novels I have read in the past pale in comparison.
It's 1974, Atlanta, USA. The Atlanta police force has only recently been advertising for women to join the police force, so they are few and far between and they don't get it easy. Rampant sexism, racism, bullying, taunting and downright unethical behaviour is what the women in the Atlanta Police Department have to put up with. Tension runs high in the ranks between men and women, white and black police officers. This is not a place of equality or equal opportunity. You need to be tough, really tough to survive as a woman here.
Kate Murphy joins the ranks and is quickly faced with the hard initiations that every woman before her has faced. There is not many women, outnumbered on every corner and Kate has to prove herself to the women and men around her. Many won't even give her a chance.
Prejudice and fear is everywhere.
Kate's character is complex and surprising, just when you think you know what she is all about, she shows another element of her personality, there is more than meets the eye. She is thrown into some incredibly difficult and harrowing police situations from her first day on the job, many question if she will be back for more on day two. She's not a quitter though our Kate, oh no, she's certainly not that. You will like her a lot.
Then we have Maggie Lawson, who has been with the department for years longer than Kate. Maggie has followed in the very big footsteps of her brother and Uncle who are present also in the department. Again, Maggie is a character that is complex, surprising at times and so very well written. Heck, all the characters in this book are exceptional.
As white, female Police Officers these two women have a lot to prove. The men in the Atlanta Police Department in the 1970's did not always stick to procedure or protocol, in fact it seems just the opposite, it's as though there are unwritten rules everywhere.
The plot is tight, we get tastes of the private lives of Maggie and Kate as well as being on the job with them. Someone is killing Police Officers in Atlanta and Kate and Maggie figure that they have just as much chance of finding the killer as any of their male counterparts. They are jeered at for even thinking this way. This was an environment that set up harsh, impossible situations for them. They are risking a lot in teaming up and going after the killer that everyone wants to catch.
The prose is stunning, every single word is exceptional, I was literally transported back to the 1970's, it was painted with such clever descriptive paragraphs and emotion running through the sentences that you are just swept along. From the moment I started reading this novel I could not put it down, each word flowed so well and the plot got more and more interesting, at times it's dark, heck it's just so incredibly good.
There are some really clever, unexpected things thrown up along the way that I did not expect, some shocking, deep issues being tackled at the same time. This book does not hold back, it's gritty, in your face and challenging.
I can't rave enough, whether you are already a Karin Slaughter fan or not, read Cop Town and make up your own mind. It's a stunning work of fiction. Have I raved enough? I hope so. Happy reading.
I was surprised to realise that this was a stand-alone novel by Karin Slaughter. I was also quite excited at the synopsis as she has gone for the same geographical setting but in the 1970’s. It features Maggie Lawson and Kate Murphy as our two main characters. It took me a little longer than her usual books to settle in, but I wasn’t surprised as this wasn’t part of a series that I had become familiar with over time. As police officers in the Atlanta are in the seventies things are certainly not easy on them. Karin Slaughter has made the book authentic and believable from the outset. I certainly realised very quickly that working in this line of work back then, was tantamount to being a wanted criminal.
Out of the two characters Kate is introduced as the new girl to the police force. With Maggie having experience as well as having her brother and Uncle on the force, she is naturally the one Kate looks to for advice. Maggie seemed initially like the force to be reckoned with but Kate developed as a character and by the end of the book I found myself hoping that Karin may well continue this theme on featuring both these women.
The main storyline features the Atlanta police force launching a massive manhunt for a killer known simply as The Shooter. There are some absolutely awful characters featuring in this story but I guess for that era they were pretty much the norm! What this latest Slaughter novel does is highlight the serious issues that were around back then such as racism, sexism and homophobia. That aside the story is weaved with intellect and keeps the reader guessing until the later part of the book.
Although I wouldn’t say this was my favourite KS book, it kept me intrigued with its setting, characters, story and pace. As ever she has shown how versatile an author she is and has given her readers another set of characters that they will no doubt want to see more of (I can always hope). A great read which I think many fans will be pleasantly surprised by.
on 19 July 2014
I'll be honest and say it took me a while to get into this book, I think maybe because it is an era that I don't understand, I'm English so there is a cultural difference as well as a historical one and also there are a huge cast of characters early on and I'm rubbish with names.
This said, it is a fantastic read, a writer I know once told me he doesn't always like books by female authors as they spend too much time pushing how hard it is for women. It is something I've though of a lot when reading and whilst I might agree with him sometimes as the oh poor woman has it tough thing is pushed, this is a book set in a time when women really did have to be better just to get equality and any level of acceptance in the workplace. The book does not show these women as flawless in anyway. They are as screwed up as anyone but in justifiable ways that I think most people will relate to.
The story rolls out beautifully with a proper ending (to please those who don't like the Z for Zachariah type cliffhanger endings that could go anywhere). The moment of peril ending had me skipping bits as there is just a bit too much detail, me having worked out the whodunnit bit but it was a mighty good moment of peril nonetheless.
The main characters are enjoyable and I hope that this is the first of a series featuring the girls in blue. If so I look forward to the next installment with baited breath.