Monday, June 23, 2014
COP TOWN by KARIN SLAUGHTER
I've been reading Karin Slaughter for years and enjoying her series characters. Now she's thrown a change-up pitch, a novel about cops in 1975 Atlanta. There is a cop killer on the loose and the male police officers have gone off half cocked chasing down every black man with a record they can lay hands on, and probably many without. The cops that have died were all white. Since this is 1975 when Atlanta was closer to a small southern city than the international business, transportation and media hub it is today, prejudice rules. The full story involves more than racism though.
Our main characters are two women who have chosen to brave the male bastion of the police force. They have lived with belittling sexist behavior since the first day of the police academy. Maggie is a cop because her brother and uncle are, even though her uncle is one of the leading abusers of alcohol and women. Kate joined to prove something to herself and her family after her husband was killed in Vietnam. Her first few days are nightmares, beginning with the absurd oversized uniform she was issued to humiliate her. Thanks to her huge hat and shoes, she runs smack into a concrete wall on her first day. The consensus is that she won't show up for her second day, but Kate finds strength she never knew she had.
The best characterizations are of two radically different people. The shooter, for instance. Slaughter puts us inside his head and we see why he has become so bent. The other is a long-time female cop who works undercover as a prostitute. She's tougher than tough and yet there's a heart under all those cheap clothes and hooker makeup.
Some of this book was difficult to read because it's a no-holds-barred look at some of the worst people in our world and the life of downtrodden people they prey on. Maggie and Kate grow on you as you get to know them, but the never ending prejudice against them is maddening. That's hard for a 2014 reader to take, but I think it's good for people to understand the truth. This is the way it was, ladies.
Source: Amazon Vine