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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”!

Thanks so much!

Writing for this blog is a real pleasure.

Tuesday, it was even more of a thrill for me — and for a thriller writer, that’s saying a whole lot.  Along with 81 comments, between Tuesday and Wednesday we had 480 hits, a lot of fun, and we had people tune in from all over the world.

That included 16 hits from Hungary alone!  We also had people stop by from Canada (7), Saudi Arabia (3), Australia (3), Lebanon, Cambodia, Turkey, the UAE, Peru, Italy, Taiwan (4), Germany (6), Namibia, India, and Norway.  Of course, that wasn’t even our biggest post, but who can compete with a class action lawsuit against Joan Swan for keeping people up at night reading her books (638 hits over two days)?  Since we started less than five months ago, we have been visited by viewers from 76 different countries!

All I can say is WOW.

Coming up with content takes a lot of time and planing on the part of all of us here at Kiss and Thrill.  We have meetings to plan what kind of content we will offer, endless emails about who is doing what.  Our knees shake when we approach some of the heavy hitters in our industry — sometimes we’re just as star struck as the rest of the world, even when we know the people we interview.  We put together questions, hope for interesting answers, insert art and links, and then hope and pray that someone somewhere will tune in, read it, and like it.

We have no budget or advertisers; our only pay is the enjoyment of our readers.  Like all writers, we struggle with the fact that friends and family often take our efforts for granted and don’t always follow us as closely as we’d like.  Often, they have little comprehension of what it is we do, how hard we work at it, or even why we’d want to.  They do not understand why we get up in the middle of the night and give up sleep, or time with our families, or dinners with friends, to sit in a room by ourselves and type endlessly into a computer.  So, we really depend upon you to support our need to be heard, to tell us merely by stopping by, that what we have to say is important enough for someone to want to read.

(c)2011 Diana Belchase

We are much like actresses upon the stage, with our success measured in hits instead of ticket sales, and our self-worth tied to the comments you leave us — the only applause we writers will ever know.  And each time one of you decides to subscribe, it’s better than a standing ovation.

So thank you for all of that.  For tuning in and letting us know we’re not writing for the dark empty void, but for real flesh and blood people.  Thank you for being the greatest audience we could have hoped for this early in our blogging career.

To paraphrase Sally Fields: You like us.  You really like us.

I am humbled and grateful.


Diana Belchase


Now for our winner!

I’d like to thank James Grady again for joining us this week!

Now . . . drum roll please . . . the commenter who has won a copy of MAD DOGS  is . . . Debbie Pakaluk!  Congratulations!

James Grady

To redeem your free book – please email your snail mail address to (or go to contact page for details). Remember, we must hear from you within 10 days. And you mustprovide a US or Canadian address to qualify or another winner will be chosen.

Thank you all so much for commenting! We hope you will bookmark and visit often, or better yet, subscribe!

Next up on Tuesday, April 17th, Kiss and Thrill’s Gwen Hernandez welcomes best selling author, Laura Griffin, on the day she releases her new book, Twisted.

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