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.
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.