Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Review of "Cop Town" by Karin Slaughter

This stand alone by Karin Slaughter is set in 1974 Atlanta, where a serial cop killer is on the loose. As the search for the killer is going on Kate Murphy, a beautiful young widow from Buckhead (a wealthy Atlanta neighborhood) has completed her police training and starts on the job. She's soon partnered with working class Maggie Lawson, whose uncle Terry Lawson and brother Jimmy Lawson are both cops.

The job isn't easy for women however. The 1970s Atlanta Police Department is dominated by racist, homophobic, white men who have contempt for black cops and female cops. The white males feel free to disrespect and grope their female colleagues, who are generally relegated to traffic duty or undercover work where they pose as hookers. Kate is even more ostracized because of her good looks and posh accent.

Before long Jimmy is wounded by the cop killer and his partner Don is killed. The Atlanta PD goes into high gear to catch the murderer and Maggie - who thinks Jimmy's hiding something - wants to help. Uncle Terry is violently against this but Maggie uses personal sources to get information and she and Kate launch their own inquiry. As the women investigate Kate becomes re-acquainted with an old friend who's now a doctor, able to provide important information about Jimmy's injuries. The doc, though married, is attracted to Kate and proceeds to pursue her.

The book has a wide array of interesting characters including a tough lady officer who's willing to torture witnesses, a transgender pimp, a creepy child rapist, Kate's courtly family, and a whole bunch of cops. The plot is fast-paced and leads to a dramatic, believable, and satisfying climax. I enjoyed this mystery thriller and highly recommend it.

(A note: I'm glad to think the bigoted male cops in this story would be thrown off the job immediately in this day and age.)

Rating: 4 stars

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