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.
I've followed Karin Slaughter's Will Trent series and was excited to read her latest detective thriller, Cop Town. This standalone novel is set in Atlanta in the mid-1970s, just as women officers are new to the Atlanta PD.
It's a particularly bad summer for cops - five officers have been murdered and there is no clear suspect for the killings. So, Kate Murphy's first day at the Atlanta PD is particularly bad as it comes hours after another cop is killed. She's made to feel unwelcome by everyone that she meets - the men on the force who don't think that women should be on the force, by the women who don't expect her to last the week, by the African American cops who have it tough themselves.
Kate does have her own reasons for having signed up and it's fortunate that her wealthy parents support her decision. Living as they do in one of the most exclusive and expensive suburbs, their world is limited to their privileged worlds - her mother owns one of the best art galleries in Atlanta and her father has a solid private practice as a psychiatrist. But their wealth hasn't always sheltered them from the world and it's this empathy that makes them sympathetic to Kate and her goals.
Kate finds herself partnered with Maggie Lawson, a young officer from a family of police officers. While the brass want to keep Kate and Maggie away from the investigation, the women are determined to find their own leads and follow them no matter the danger. Their intelligence and perseverance bring the young officers to some of the most dangerous areas in Atlanta and against an unexpected enemy.
In Cop Town, Karin Slaughter introduces us to a very different world. The prejudices and hate can be difficult to get through but it is all part of the larger story. If you overcome the initial dislike of the characters' tough talk, then like Kate Murphy, you'll find yourself warming to them and caring. Karin Slaughter has the unique gift of giving us both an exciting complicated detective story and complex and vulnerable characters. I very much enjoyed Cop Town.
- ISBN-10: 0345547497 - Hardcover $27
- Publisher: Delacorte Press (June 24, 2014), 416 pages.
- Review copy courtesy of the publisher and NetGalley.
Karin Slaughter is a New York Times and #1 internationally bestselling author. She is a native of Georgia.