Karin Slaughter’s COP TOWN–An Appreciation

Cover, Cop Town by Karin Slaughter

COP TOWN–A fantastic read!

Here at Kiss and Thrill, we don’t do reviews per se. What we do are better called, to my mind, appreciations.

These are the books that strike a chord, that make us wish we’d written them ourselves, that leave us turning the last page with a happy sigh. Karin Slaughter’s latest, COP TOWN, is certainly worthy of all the appreciation I can muster.

Better known for her Grant County and Will Trent series, COP TOWN is a bit of a departure for Slaughter, in that it’s a stand alone novel set in 1975 Atlanta.

When I read her 2012 book, CRIMINAL, which jumped back and forth between the early 1970s and the present, I was sad to see her close that 70s storyline, not because I didn’t want more Will Trent, but because I was equally as drawn to the women breaking barriers as cops in the Atlanta PD forty years ago.

Cover, Criminal by Karin Slaughter

CRIMINAL–70s + Will Trent=Awesome!

Fortunately for me, Karin Slaughter was also eager to revisit the turbulent70s and thank goodness she was. Because COP TOWN is easily the best mystery/thriller I’ve read this year. Following two female patrol cops–one a rookie and the other the sister and niece of cops–COP TOWN explores not only crime and punishment in the era, but also gives a very authentic portrait of life in post-war, post integration, post women’s movement Atlanta. And it’s not a pretty picture.

Kate Murphy, the rookie, is the widow of a Vietnam soldier, who, tired of spending her days weeping, decides to make a change, and that means joining the Atlanta PD. And, as luck would have it, she ends up partnered with Maggie Lawson, whose Uncle Terry and brother Jimmy are both cops too, making Maggie less than thrilled to show newbie Kate the ropes.

What follows is a fast paced, exhilarating, and–yes–sexy tale that kept me turning the pages well into the night. But what will stick with me is the characterization.

I especially appreciated the nuanced portrait of Kate, which was careful not to portray her as a saintly widow, and didn’t hold back when describing the ups and downs of her marriage. One of the things I appreciate most about Slaughter is that she shows love in all it’s messy, complicated, sometimes cruel facets. I also loved watching Kate develop from a scared baby cop into a seasoned veteran in the space of a week. Because her trial was by fire, and darned if she didn’t come through it alive and kicking.

Whether you’re looking for a police procedural with a complex and edge of your seat mystery, or a character driven story about two very strong female characters coming into their own, you can’t go wrong with COP TOWN. The PR materials say it’s a stand alone, but I’ve got my fingers crossed that Karin Slaughter will make this one an ongoing series. There’s a bit of a romance thread in this one and it’s one of the things that didn’t get tied up. But I’ve got my fingers crossed so here’s hoping!

Why not? She granted my wish the last time, right?

What have you read lately that knocked your socks off? I’ll give one lucky commenter an ARC (electronic or print, your choice) of my upcoming WHY LORDS LOSE THEIR HEARTS which Romantic Times just called, “chilling and sweet”!

Posted on June 17, 2014, in Uncategorized and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 14 Comments.

  1. Looking forward to reading Cop Town, Manda! Thanks for the recommendation.

  2. I had to skim your ‘appreciation’ because I’m at ‘worship’ with this author and don’t want to know anything about the book (have it TBR on vaca.)

    Whoever is going to ThrillerFest (and I know there are a few of you) I’d like you to pick straws to see who will march over and invite Karin to guest here. I’m sure she’ll attend, right? 😉

    I’d love to know why she killed off her hero in the Grant County series, what kind of fan flack she received (and for how long) and a percentage of readers who were too mad to pick up her newer books. (Not that she would divulge, but I wonder about fan backlash.) And given that I know what happens in that series, I never bought her GC backlist.

    I would, however, marry Will Trent in the blink of an eye. If only he wasn’t a figment of her imagination.

    Thanks for the post, Manda!

    • Good idea re: Thrillerfest, Sarah! I’d love to have her guest here, but I’m too chicken to ask.

      I’m pretty sure there was a lot of backlash when she killed off that main character in the Grant County series. But I’ve seen some folks on line say that they went back to her a few years later. It takes time to get over something like that. Like you, I knew about the incident, so I started reading KS with the Will Trent series. And I’m okay with that.

      You’re gonna LOVE Cop Town, Sarah. It’s great. Can’t wait for you to finish so we can talk about it!

  3. I have Cop Town on my TBR pile, Manda. Now I really can’t wait to read it!
    So what has knocked my socks of lately? Since I’ve been reading a ton of YA, I have to say Marie Lu’s Legend Trilogy and Kristen Simmons’ Article 5 Trilogy. Both were great adventures with wonderfully drawn out romances. And they are on Rachel’s summer MG/YA reading list. 🙂

    • I think you’re going to love it, Sharon! Fun recs! I’ve been hearing about the Marie Lu series for what feels like years now. Lots of fans for that one, for sure. I hadn’t heard of Kristen Simmons before Rachel’s summer reading list. Sounds cool though. I’ll have to check it out!

  4. I can’t wait to read Cop Town. It sounds very different from the books I’ve been reading.

  5. Thanks, Manda, for the tip about Cop Town. I like Karin Slaughter’s “chilling” stories. I’m glad this one has a touch of romance in it, however. Romantic suspense is actually a fave genre of mine. I just finished one that was excellently written and provided enough chills that I look over my shoulder at times in public places (Char Chaffin’s book, Unsafe Haven). Thanks for this post. jdh2690@gmail.com

    • Well, just a warning that I have no idea how the romance ends up because it’s not the point of the story. So if you’re looking for HEA look elsewhere–or wait to see if KS write more books set in this world. But even so, it’s a great book. Just don’t go in looking for romantic suspense, cause you’ll be disappointed!

  6. I fell for Karen Rose’s novels big time after you recommended them Manda, so I’m definitely going to try Karin Slaughter, especially as many of her books are available in audio …. and I have some credits to use!

    The most recent mind-blowing thriller that I’ve read is ‘Justice for Sara’ by Erica Spindler. I loved the way that she used flashbacks to gradually reveal the details of the murder, and of course the way that the killer remains concealed from the reader until the very end.

    The Kiss & Kill authors are also very good. Rachel Grant’s ‘Concrete Evidence’ is superb and likewise Cary Baldwin’s ‘Confession’. I think that the authors’ professional training may have helped in adding plausibility to their plots.

    I really must try all the other authors on this site ….. including you Manda!

    • There are plenty of books in KS’s backlist for you to try, Q. Though be forewarned about Grant County and the major character death. TRYPTICH is the first Will Trent one and you can’t go wrong there. And COP TOWN is stand alone, so it would work too.

      I enjoyed JUSTICE FOR SARA too. Spindler has been a favorite of mine for years. And in my opinion, you can’t do better than that my K&T colleagues! So you’ve got quite a lot of stories to choose from!

    • Thank you for that review, Quantum! I have that on my vacation TBR pile too! We hosted her (and this story) back in March because of her RITA nomination.

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