Monday, June 23, 2014

Cop Town ~ Karin Slaughter (earc) review [@randomhouse @SlaughterAuthor]

Cop Town
Delacorte Press
June 24, 2014
416 pages
add to Goodreads/buy from Book Depo/or Amazon

Karin Slaughter, author of the New York Times bestselling Will Trent novels, is widely acclaimed as “one of the best crime novelists in America” (The Washington Post). Now she delivers her first stand-alone novel: an epic story of a city in the midst of seismic upheaval, a serial killer targeting cops, and a divided police force tasked with bringing a madman to justice.

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.

I have wanted to read a Karin Slaughter novel for quite a while now, after hearing great things about them both in reviews and from those I know. I really don't need to start yet another series, though. So Cop Town was perfect. Not only was it a standalone novel, it was one with a great sounding plot.

Set in 1974 Atlanta, Cop Town takes full advantage of its setting, both geographical and temporal. In a city dealing with both racial and gender integration, the police department no longer gets to stand alone as a (white) boys' club.

Though they are both experiencing what it's like to be female officers in 1974's Atlanta PD, Kate and Maggie are two very different characters. Each has her own motivations for doing the job, her own inner struggles and something they hope to accomplish or prove to themselves. When they are partnered together, we see more each of them - as they slowly reveal more of themselves to readers and each other. Their differences become quite complimentary and their similarities are easier to spot.

Each has a story that makes for a compelling character and contributes to the unfolding of the story.

Cop Town has a great mystery. As we're finding out about the characters' personal lives and seeing how it affects their jobs, the mystery is slowly piecing itself together. While most of the story is told by Kate or Maggie, we're given some chapters from the view of the killer - without knowing who it is. Being able to see things from both sides, knowing how the killer is thinking, their past, even as the characters wonder those same things, adds to the suspense and the intrigue of the mystery.

The other characters of Cop Town, Maggie's alcoholic uncle and those of his ilk, particularly a core group of officers, are what really make the novel so good. They are probably some of the most un-PC characters but they wouldn't work any other way. They are products both of the era, their past and, really, just who they are. The same things making them terrible people, make them brilliant characters. It's through these characters, as well as how Maggie and Kate are treated by them and then react, that we get such a great idea of what the time was like and feel a part of it.

The mystery progresses and deepens as the novel progresses. Each of the characters play their part in it - some seen right away, some believed and some either hidden or questioned. A fantastic tale that develops the characters and their relationships as events move towards the ultimate conclusion, Copt Town is a great read.

Rating: 9/10

thank you to Random House for my egalley through NetGalley

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