4 star rating
Cop Town
By Karin Slaughter
ISBN# 9780345547491
Author’s Website:

Brought to you by OBS reviewer Daniele


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.


Cop Town is Ms. Slaughter’s first stand alone novel, and it is a gritty, raw police procedural that takes place in Atlanta, Georgia, in 1974.  It is rife with sexism, classism, racism, homophobia, sadism, drug use, and prostitution.  It deals with the ramifications of World War II, Vietnam, women’s lib, racial integration, and the favoritism of the “bubba club”.  It is full of complicated, rather unlikable, characters, all with their own baggage and tragic experiences, about whom you cannot help but be compelled to read.  Duplicity is a widespread theme among all the characters, and it raises the question of “can a bad person do good or a good person really do bad”.  The reader quickly gets sucked into this crass, tough world and cannot help but root for the female officers as they struggle to find their place and the truth.

Maggie has been on the force for a few years, and comes from a family of cops, but her uncle and brother treat her like an outsider and unworthy of the job.  On her first day, Kate, a widowed, upper class rookie, is partnered with Maggie.  It is a heck of a first day since the department is turned upside down due to the brutal murder of Maggie’s brother’s partner.  The force is out for revenge, with little regard to the law, because Don’s death makes the fifth officer shot execution-style over the past couple of months.  All of the “boys” are out to find the Atlanta Shooter before he strikes again, but no “girls” need to get involved.  Things are surely not as they seem…everyone is hiding something, twisting facts, or flat out lying.  The story follows them as they unravel the mystery, and is full of a strong supporting cast of well-drawn characters.

Cop Town is not for the faint of heart or for someone looking for a gentle, easy going mystery.    You will not like all of her characters.  The world she creates will disgust you at times.  But, this is a book that will stay with you long after you finish the last page, and you will not regret reading it.  Ms. Slaughter is a talented writer and is a bestselling and esteemed author for a reason.