Cop Town by Karin Slaughter

Cop Town - Karin Slaughter

I’ve been reading Karin Slaughter for a couple of years now. I previously read a few of her books from the Will Trent series and have always appreciated her deft integration of character and plot. This, the first standalone from the author, was a pretty solid effort.


Like her other books, this one revolved around a police force in Atlanta, the difference is that this book was set in 1974. A serial killer who is specifically targeting cops is on the loose and the book centres on the manhunt to catch him.


The book focuses on Maggie and her partner Kate who both become involved in the case to catch the killer. Remembering that this book is set in 1974, Maggie and Kate suffer much prejudice and resistance when attempting to become involved, not least of all from Maggie’s bigoted uncle Terry, who is also a cop. In fact, Maggie’s brother, Jimmy, is also a cop and the focus of the book turns to him a bit later on.


The book succeeded well in highlighting issues such as the difficulty woman had then in the pursuit of equal rights in work. It also did well when integrating the idea of sexism with general bigotry, which becomes the focus of the plot.


The focus on inequality did mean that character and plot were sacrificed ever so slightly. Maggie was so stifled by her work and home life that it translated to her character and we didn’t get much of an idea of her personality outside of this.


Kate, Maggie’s partner, was a solid character whose growth as a police officer, from fresh-faced newbie to seasoned cop, was much appreciated. My favourite character would have to be Gail, a fellow Cop who was working undercover as a prostitute at the start of the book. Her addition added diversity to the narrative and her honesty added depth. She didn’t feature heavily but when she did appear she really lightened things up.


The plot was quite simple as the focus was really on inequality. I would have appreciated the plot being a bit more intricate, but it kept me interested and had just enough tension to keep me turning the pages.