Review: „Cop Town“ by Karin Slaughter

Traveler DC 120

Some years ago I was quite a big fan of her Grant County series, but after [SPOILER —] Jeffrey was killed I angrily chose to ignore her writings for a bit…

cop town, though, made me very glad that I stopped sulking and picked up a book by Karin Slaughter again! I immediately remembered why I used to love her books and I definitely agree whenever I read that she is claimed to be one of the best thriller writers around.

cop town is more than a mere thriller, though. The novel takes places in Georgia, Atlanta, in 1974; it is a story about the suffocating atmosphere in a town with extremely conservative views on women, people of color, jews, gays – minorities in general. The reader accompanies two women, Maggie and Kate, trying to make their way in a police department dominated middle-aged straight white males who have a hard time accepting women as their colleagues.

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As if it wasn’t enough that those male officers try to make their job as hard as possible, both protagonists have a lot to handle besides police work.

Maggie is the third police officer in her family. Both her uncle and her brother work at the same department as her and won’t even stop putting her down at home. Things get even more complicated when her brother seems to lie about some aspects of his meet-up with the cop killer the whole force is looking for.

Kate may come from an overall supportive family but they still make it quite clear that they would like her to have a less risky job. Additionally, she is still dealing with the death of her late husband; furthermore she is being stalked by a creepy stranger into whose mind the reader gets some glimpses.

The book is dripping with an atmosphere of violence and prejudice. While it does not hold the thriller-typical suspense I expected, I enjoyed it even more than I had thought I would. Maggie and Kate are real, believable and totally badass characters. It was an interesting experience to dive into this world, at times seeming as if from a violent and prejudiced past, but, of course, all the more real today.

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Traveler DC 120

Review: „There Is Nothing Strange“ by Susan Pepper Robbins

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„Hope is really, Laura says, an assertion of the self against the universe. She does not sound exactly like the self-help gurus on TV and radio, but not altogether different either. Great effort creates hope, the key ingredient to miracles. We can be happy, if, and only if, we kill ourselves trying. Laura’s got it figured.“

 

Title: There Is Nothing Strange
Author: Susan Pepper Robbins
Number of Pages: 180
Obligatory Star Rating: 4/5

 

What a trainwreck of a book, and I mean this in the best of all possible senses. Everything is really fucked up and really enjoyable to read.

The book starts with a wedding: Laura is marrying Jeremy. Their best friend, Henry, is in love with Laura, too. And he makes it casually and confidently clear that he merely considers Jeremy to be her first husband, while he himself will be the final and right one. With a beginning like this, can it get any worse? It obviously can and the reader can spend the rest of this short book seeing all kinds of things unravel and go wrong – and, maybe, ultimately go right, but in all the wrong ways.

While there is a consistently gloomy and slightly threatening undertone, the book was an immense joy to read. I was driven on by curiosity and the question “what the fuck could happen now?” and could hardly put the book down. The above mentioned triad of Jeremy/Laura/Henry is not the only unhealthy and weird relationship and one can’t look away when secrets of the past get revealed in a tone between poetry and resignation.

Beside providing shock effects and feelings of uneasiness, the book delights with a wonderful writing style. Susan Pepper Robbins can do both beautiful nature descriptions and surprising and absurd similes.

All in all, I highly recommend this book!

❤️, Rosa