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Cop Town: A Novel [Anglais] [Relié]

Karin Slaughter

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Descriptions du produit


November 1974


Dawn broke over Peachtree Street. The sun razored open the downtown corridor, slicing past the construction cranes waiting to dip into the earth and pull up skyscrapers, hotels, convention centers. Frost spiderwebbed across the parks. Fog drifted through the streets. Trees slowly straightened their spines. The wet, ripe meat of the city lurched toward the November light.

The only sound was footsteps.

Heavy slaps echoed between the buildings as Jimmy Lawson’s police-issue boots pounded the pavement. Sweat poured from his skin. His left knee wanted to give. His body was a symphony of pain. Every muscle was a plucked piano wire. His teeth gritted like a sand block. His heart was a snare drum.

The black granite Equitable Building cast a square shadow as he crossed Pryor Street. How many blocks had Jimmy gone? How many more did he have to go?

Don Wesley was thrown over his shoulder like a sack of flour. Fireman’s carry. Harder than it looked. Jimmy’s shoulder was ablaze. His spine drilled into his tailbone. His arm trembled from the effort of keeping Don’s legs clamped to his chest. The man could already be dead. He wasn’t moving. His head tapped into the small of Jimmy’s back as he barreled down Edgewood faster than he’d ever carried the ball down the field. He didn’t know if it was Don’s blood or his own sweat that was rolling down the back of his legs, pooling into his boots.

He wouldn’t survive this. There was no way a man could survive this.

The gun had snaked around the corner. Jimmy had watched it slither past the edge of a cinder-block wall. The sharp fangs of the front sights jutted up from the tip of the barrel. Raven MP-25. Six-round detachable box, blowback action, semiauto. The classic Saturday night special. Twenty-five bucks on any ghetto corner.

That’s what his partner’s life had come down to. Twenty-five bucks.

Jimmy faltered as he ran past First Atlanta Bank. His left knee almost touched the asphalt. Only adrenaline and fear saved him from falling. Quick bursts of recall kept setting off colorful fireworks in his head: Red shirtsleeve bunched up around a yellow-gold wristwatch. Black-gloved hand holding the white pearl grip. The rising sun had bathed the weapon’s dark steel in a bluish light. It didn’t seem right that something black could have a glint to it, but the gun had almost glowed.

And then the finger pulled back on the trigger.

Jimmy knew the workings of a gun. The 25’s slide was already racked, cartridge in the chamber. The trigger spring engaged the firing pin. The firing pin hit the primer. The primer ignited the gunpowder. The bullet flew from the chamber. The casing popped out of the ejection port.

Don’s head exploded.

Jimmy’s memory did no work to raise the image. The violence was etched into his corneas, backdropped every time he blinked. Jimmy was looking at Don, then he was looking at the gun, then he was looking at how the side of Don’s face had distorted into the color and texture of a rotten piece of fruit.


The gun had jammed. Otherwise, Jimmy wouldn’t be running down the street right now. He would be face down in an alley beside Don, condoms and cigarette butts and needles sticking to their skin.

Gilmer Street. Courtland. Piedmont. Three more blocks. His knee could hold out for three more blocks.

Jimmy had never been on the business end of a firing gun. The flash was an explosion of starlight—millions of pinpricked pieces of sun lighting up the dark alley. His eardrums rang with the sound. His eyes stung from the cordite. At the same time, he felt the splash against his skin, like hot water, only he knew—he knew—it was blood and bone and pieces of flesh hitting his chest, his neck, his face. He tasted it on his tongue. Crunched the bone between his teeth.

Don Wesley’s blood. Don Wesley’s bone.

He was blinded by it.

When Jimmy was a kid, his mother used to make him take his sister to the pool. She was so little back then. Her skinny, pale legs and arms poking out of her tiny suit reminded Jimmy of a baby praying mantis. In the water, he’d cup his hands together, tell her he’d caught a bug. She was a girl, but she loved looking at bugs. She’d paddle over to see, and Jimmy would squeeze his hands together so the water would squirt into her face. She would scream and scream. Sometimes she would cry, but he’d still do it again the next time they were in the pool. Jimmy told himself it was all right because she kept falling for it. The problem wasn’t that he was cruel. The problem was that she was stupid.

Where was she now? Safe in bed, he hoped. Fast asleep, he prayed. She was on the job, too. His little sister. It wasn’t safe. Jimmy could end up carrying her through the streets one day. He could be jostling her limp body, careening around the corner, his knee brushing the blacktop as the torn ligaments clashed like cymbals.

Jimmy saw a glowing sign up ahead: a white field with a red cross in the center.

Grady Hospital.

He wanted to weep. He wanted to fall to the ground. But his burden would not lighten. If anything, Don got heavier. The last twenty yards were the hardest of Jimmy’s life.

A group of black men were congregating under the sign. They were dressed in bright purples and greens. Their tight pants flared below the knee, showing a touch of white patent leather. Thick sideburns. Pencil mustaches. Gold rings on their fingers. Cadillacs parked a few feet away. The pimps were always in front of the hospital this time of morning. They smoked skinny cigars and watched the sun rise as they waited for their girls to get patched up for the morning rush hour.

None of them offered to help the two bloody cops making their way toward the doors. They gawked. Their cigarillos stopped midair.

Jimmy fell against the glass doors. Someone had forgotten to lock them. They butterflied open. His knee slued to the side. He fell face-first into the emergency waiting room. The jolt was like a bad tackle. Don’s hipbone knifed into his chest. Jimmy felt the flex of his own ribs kissing his heart.

He looked up. At least fifty pairs of eyes stared back. No one said a word. Somewhere in the bowels of the treatment area, a phone was ringing. The sound echoed through the barred doors.

The Gradys. Over a decade of civil rights hadn’t done shit. The waiting room was still divided: black on one side, white on the other. Like the pimps under the sign, they all stared at Jimmy. At Don Wesley. At the river of blood flowing beneath them.

Jimmy was still on top of Don. It was a lewd scene, one man on top of another. One cop on top of another. Still, Jimmy cradled his hand to Don’s face. Not the side that was blown open—the side that still looked like his partner.

“It’s okay,” Jimmy managed, though he knew it wasn’t okay. Would never be okay. “It’s all right.”

Don coughed.

Jimmy’s gut twisted at the sound. He’d been sure the man was dead. “Get help,” he told the crowd, but it was a whisper, a begging little girl’s voice that came out of his own mouth. “Somebody get help.”

Don groaned. He was trying to speak. The flesh of his cheek was gone. Jimmy could see his tongue lolling between shattered bone and teeth.

“It’s okay.” Jimmy’s voice was still a high whistle. He looked up again. No one would meet his gaze. There were no nurses. No doctors. No one was going to get help. No one was answering the damn telephone.

Don groaned again. His tongue slacked outside of his jaw.

“It’s okay,” Jimmy repeated. Tears streamed down his face. He felt sick and dizzy. “It’s gonna be okay.”

Don inhaled sharply, like he was surprised. He held the air in his lungs for a few seconds before finally letting out a low, baleful moan. Jimmy felt the sound vibrating in his chest. Don’s breath was sour—the smell of a soul leaving the body. The color of his flesh didn’t drain so much as fill like a pitcher of cold buttermilk. His lips turned an earthy, funereal blue. The fluorescent lights cut white stripes into the flat green of his irises.

Jimmy felt a darkness pass through him. It gripped his throat, then slowly reached its icy fingers into his chest. He opened his mouth for air, then forced it closed for fear that Don’s ghost would flow into him.

Somewhere, the phone was still ringing.

“She-it,” a raspy old woman grumbled. “Doctor ain’t never gone get to me now.”

Day One



Maggie Lawson was upstairs in her bedroom when she heard the phone ringing in the kitchen. She checked her watch. There was nothing good about a phone ringing this early in the morning. Sounds from the kitchen echoed up the back stairs: The click of the receiver being lifted from the cradle. The low murmur of her mother’s voice. The sharp snap of the phone cord slapping the floor as she walked back and forth across the kitchen.

The linoleum had been worn away in staggered gray lines from the countless times Delia Lawson had paced the kitchen listening to bad news.

The conversation didn’t last long. Delia hung up the phone. The loud click echoed up to the rafters. Maggie knew every sound the old house made. She had spent a lifetime studying its moods. Even from her room, she could follow her mother’s movements through the kitchen: The refrigerator door opening and closing. A cabinet banging shut. Eggs being cracked into a bowl. Thumb flicking her Bic to light a cigarette.

Maggie knew how this would go. Delia had been playing Bad-News Blackjack for as long as Maggie could remember. She would hold for a while, but then tonight, tomorrow, or maybe even a week from now, Delia would pick a fight with Maggie and the minute Maggie opened her mouth to respond, her mother would lay down her cards: the electric bill was past due, her shifts at the diner had been cut, the car needed a new transmission, and here Maggie was making things worse by talking back and for the love of God, couldn’t she give her mother a break?

Busted. Dealer wins.

Maggie screeched the ironing board closed. She stepped carefully around folded stacks of laundry. She’d been up since five that morning doing the family’s ironing. She was Sisyphus in a bathrobe. They all had uniforms of one kind or another. Lilly wore green-and-blue-checkered skirts and yellow button-down tops to school. Jimmy and Maggie had their dark blue pants and long-sleeved shirts from the Atlanta Police Department. Delia had her green polyester smocks from the diner. And then they all came home and changed into regular clothes, which meant that every day, Maggie was washing and ironing for eight people instead of four.

She only complained when no one could hear her.

There was a scratching sound from Lilly’s room as she dropped the needle on a record. Maggie gritted her teeth. Tapestry. Lilly played the album incessantly.

Not too long ago, Maggie helped Lilly get dressed for school every morning. At night, they would page through Brides magazine and clip out pictures for their dream weddings. That was all before Lilly turned thirteen years old and her life, much like Carole King’s, became an everlasting vision of the ever-changing hue.

She waited for Jimmy to bang on the wall and tell Lilly to turn that crap off, but then she remembered her brother had picked up a night shift. Maggie looked out the window. Jimmy’s car wasn’t in the driveway. Unusually, the neighbor’s work van was gone. She wondered if he was working the night shift, too. And then she chastened herself for wondering, because it was none of her business what her neighbor was doing.

Now seemed as good a time as any to go down for breakfast. Maggie pulled the foam rollers from her hair as she walked down the stairs. She stopped exactly in the middle. The acoustic sweet spot. Tapestry disappeared. There were no sounds from the kitchen. If Maggie timed it right, she could sometimes grab a full minute of silence standing on the stairs. There wouldn’t be another time during her day when she felt so completely alone.

She took a deep breath, then slowly let it out before continuing down.

The old Victorian had been grand at one point, though the house retained no evidence of its former glory. Pieces of siding were gone. Rotted wood hung like bats from the gables. The windows rattled with the slightest breeze. Rain shot a creek through the basement. There was no outlet in the house that didn’t have a black tattoo ghosted around it from bad fuses and shoddy workmanship.

Even though it was winter, the kitchen was humid. No matter the time of year, it always smelled of fried bacon and cigarette smoke. The source of both stood at the stove. Delia’s back was bent as she filled the percolator. When Maggie thought of her mother, she thought of this kitchen—the faded avocado-green appliances, the cracked yellow linoleum on the floor, the burned, black ridges on the laminate countertop where her father rested his cigarettes.

As usual, Delia had been up since before Maggie. No one knew what Delia did in the morning hours. Probably curse God that she’d woken up in the same house with the same problems. There was an unwritten rule that you didn’t go downstairs until you heard eggs being whisked in a bowl. Delia always cooked a big breakfast, a holdover from her Depression childhood, when breakfast might be the only meal of the day.

“Lilly up?” Delia hadn’t turned around, but she knew Maggie was there.

“For now.” Maggie made the same offer she did every morning. “Can I do anything?”

“No.” Delia jabbed the bacon with a fork. “Driveway’s empty next door.”

Maggie glanced out the window, pretending she didn’t already know Lee Grant’s van was not parked in its usual spot.

Delia said, “All we need is for girls to start going in and out of that house at all hours. Again.”

Maggie leaned against the counter. Delia looked exhausted. Even her stringy brown hair couldn’t be bothered to stay pinned on the top of her head. They’d all been picking up extra shifts to pay for Lilly to go to a private school. None of them wanted to see her bussed across town to the ghetto. They had four more years of tuition and textbooks and uniforms before Lilly graduated. Maggie wasn’t sure her mother would last that long.

Revue de presse

“Sly . . . compulsively readable . . . [one of] the summer’s best thrillers.”O: The Oprah Magazine
Cop Town proves Karin Slaughter is one of America’s best writers. . . . She pulls her readers into a twisted tale of mystery and keeps them fascinated from start to finish.”The Huffington Post

“Intense . . . engrossing . . . evocative . . . [Karin Slaughter’s] first stand-alone novel [has] a gritty, action-packed plot and strong, believable characters.”—Associated Press
“Slaughter graphically exposes the rampant racism, homophobia, and misogyny of cop culture in the 1970s. . . . Winning leads, the retro setting, and a riveting plot make this one of Slaughter’s best.”Booklist (starred review)
“Superb . . . explosive . . . [Cop Town] is sure to win over readers new to Slaughter’s work while reminding old fans of her enormous talent.”Library Journal (starred review)
“Evocative writing . . . amazing characters . . . with edge-of-your-seat suspense and a riveting plot . . . Slaughter’s first stand-alone book is a knockout.”RT Book Reviews
“Scintillating . . . Slaughter does her usual fine job of exploring intriguingly troubled characters.”Publishers Weekly

“Karin Slaughter is simply one of the best thriller writers working today, and Cop Town shows the author at the top of her game—relentless pacing, complex characters, and gritty realism, all set against the backdrop of a city on the edge. Slaughter’s eye for detail and truth is unmatched. . . . I’d follow her anywhere.”—Gillian Flynn
“Stunning . . . In Karin Slaughter’s first stand-alone novel, she breaks new ground with this riveting story of two young police officers trying to stop a serial killer targeting cops. Her characters, plot, and pacing are unrivaled among thriller writers and if you haven’t yet read her, this is the moment.”—Michael Connelly
“A masterpiece . . . Much more than a thriller . . . Karin Slaughter’s unforgettable female characters and stunning evocation of time and place make Cop Town one of the most powerful and moving reads of recent memory.”—Kathryn Stockett

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Commentaires client les plus utiles sur (beta) 4.1 étoiles sur 5  716 commentaires
83 internautes sur 95 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
4.0 étoiles sur 5 If you like Michael Connolly (author of "Harry Bosch" & "Lincoln Lawyer" series), then you should give this a read! 9 juin 2014
Par Pietro - Publié sur
Format:Relié|Commentaire client Vine pour produit gratuit (De quoi s'agit-il?)
I was not aware of Karin Slaughter until about a month ago, when Amazon presented the opportunity to read & review her new crime fiction novel, "Cop Town."
While I love to read detective/mystery stories, I am not one to typically review them...this is my first.
There is no point in my rehashing the plot or describing the characters, since Amazon's product description, and many other reviewers, have already done a fine job in that regard.
What I can say is: if you like any of Michael Connolly's work (eg, the Hieronymous Bosch & Mickey Haller series)...or Robert B.Parker's (eg, the Spenser, Jesse Stone, Sunny Randall series)...or Lee Child's (eg, the Jack Reacher series), then there is a very good chance that you will really enjoy this book.
Karin Slaughter has a terse/descriptive style, and develops her characters nicely, touching upon many interesting subjects and topics along the way, while telling a riveting story that had me wanting to not put the book down.
If I have to be asked more than once to come to dinner when I am reading a book (which did happen with this one), it's a winner.
I am happy to have made an acquaintance with Karin Slaughter's work, and expect I will be reading more of her books in the near future.
I find it difficult to rate a book using the 5-star system...for me it's either "a read" or not...but I would say that this is a very good read, so I'd rate it a 4.5 (perfection is something to strive for and rarely reached, I feel)...and definitely worth investigating!
20 internautes sur 22 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
4.0 étoiles sur 5 Karin Slaughter got herself a new fan in me. 24 juin 2014
Par Ryan J. Dejonghe - Publié sur
Format:Format Kindle
Karin Slaughter got herself a new fan in me. Oh sure, she starts with the pretty writing, describing the city in metaphors, but then--Pow! Guts dripping down the back; pieces of skull bone stuck in teeth; pimps waiting outside the hospital. And that's just the prologue.

COP TOWN is my first Slaughter novel; maybe you fans can help me out and let me know if all her writing is like this. She pulls and tugs, and slaps and bakes until the scene is vivid in front of you. The characters are commanding, especially the women, but all with their own culpabilities. That's what really impresses me here with COP TOWN, where the chicks are hardcore, tough, kickass, but also carry a burden of faults. Ain't nobody perfect; that's what makes a true diamond shine. I think it'll be impossible for you to read COP TOWN and not love especially Kate and Maggie as characters.

Speaking of characters...this takes place down south in the 70's, Atlanta to be specific. Slaughter catches this whole brutal flavor. This book shows the Good Ol' White Boys Club. They didn't like their new black Chief. They didn't like women playing the part of fellow cop. They didn't like gays. And they think CT (color town) is the place to investigate first. Slaughter shows how bad it was and the environment women police officers had to overcome to perform their duties and survive. This book is so much more than finding a cop killer, it's the whole package.

You know what this book reminded me of? The HBO show THE WIRE. It's like a flashback to yesteryear, when things seemed simpler, but had their own time-specific challenges. THE WIRE and COP TOWN show both sides of the coin, cops and robbers per se, but that didn't necessary always mean good or bad. Like that show, this book shows the real human nature of it all.

I'd imagine Slaughter already has a following, but if you're like me and haven't started, now is the time to dig in.

Thanks to Delacorte and Random House for providing an electronic version of this book for me to review.
35 internautes sur 44 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 Spine tingling suspense 19 mai 2014
Par michael a. draper - Publié sur
Format:Relié|Commentaire client Vine pour produit gratuit (De quoi s'agit-il?)
I loved this story and would be first in line if it was made into a movie.

The story is set in 1974 in Atlanta, Georgia. Kate Murphy has just joined the Atlanta P.D. She's a widow whose husband was killed in Vietnam. However she keeps this to herself as well as her Jewish background and family wealth.

Kate experiences the harassment of the male dominated police department from the start. Black cops and white cops stand apart at roll call and black women police officers must wait until the white women cops finish before they can use the locker rooms. There are no women detectives and the feeling is that the only good thing a women is suited for is typing reports.

The heated intensity of the department arises from a cop killer who has just claimed his fifth victim. It was Jimmy Lawson's partner who was shot. Jimmy carried his partner to the hospital but it was too late.

The department is used to doing things their own way and when a black drug dealer was arrested for murder, the cops staged the evidence to insure a conviction. Instead, the tainted evidence was discovered and the man set free. Now, the feeling is, if they find the cop killer, he won't make it to trial.

Kate is teamed up with Maggie Lawson, Jimmy's younger sister. Maggie tries to show Kate the ropes but feels that Kate is just too pretty and refined to have the guts to make it on the job.

The story is told through the eyes of Kate and Maggie and those of the killer. Maggie is from a blue collar family and accepts the harassment she receives. Her brother doesn't try to protect her but joins with his beer drinking fellow cops in taunting and with sexual innuendos. Much of the action takes place in the slums of Atlanta, dominated by minorities. Whores and pimps are questioned in attempt to learn about the killer. In trying to get these people to talk, cruelty to these people is commonplace.

Maggie and Kate get caught up in their attempts to find the killer, and we observe the killer making moves and beginning to stalk Kate.

The dialogue is intense and the pace burns with speed. Maggie tries to take command but her uncle, is the ring leader of the vigilante police who take the law into their own hands.

Karin Slaughter is a writer at the top of her form with "Cop Town." We feel sympathy for Kate and Maggie and dread that they might become victims of the cop killer or submit to the maniacal philosophy of many of the seasoned cops.
13 internautes sur 15 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
3.0 étoiles sur 5 COP TOWN by Karin Slaughter 3 juillet 2014
Par Nancy Goldberg Wilks - Publié sur
Kate Murphy is not quite the typical rookie one would expect at the Atlanta Police Department. She doesn’t fit, in many ways, especially in 1974, when the book takes place. Nonetheless, she is the star of Cop Town, a novel by Karin Slaughter.

At the beginning of the book, Jimmy Lawson’s partner, Don Wesley, is murdered, bringing the total of executed police officers to five in three months. The other murders, however, were executions, with the pair of officers each being shot once in the head while on his knees. According to the old guard at the police department, the issue is racial – it is time, they believe, for the white males to take back the power that is rightfully theirs.

It is into this environment that Kate Murphy begins her job as a police officer. She is an unlikely rookie, performing unlikely actions, and growing into the profession at an unlikely rate.

I did not particularly care for Cop Town. There are, roughly, three reasons for this.

First, in my opinion, the start is very slow. I had a difficult time getting into the book. Although the pace picks up, I almost did not stick with the book long enough to reach that point.

Second, I found the plot to be somewhat predictable. Although I did not correctly select “who-done-it”, I was in the right ballpark.

And, third, I found the book to be weak on character development. In my opinion, but for a few exceptions, the characters are flat – one dimensional. There is not one character with whom I connect, or for whom I feel particularly empathetic, and so many of the characters are simply stereotypes. Perhaps this is what Slaughter intends. But, I think her message would hit harder if she were more subtle. This complaint, however, might be a result of my own preferences. My interests lean more towards drama, not true mysteries or thrillers in which extensive character development is not as important.

Cop Town provides interesting descriptions of the many different areas of Atlanta. The novel does not feel realistic to me. It does not resonate with my own recollections of 1974; however, I am unfamiliar with 1974 Atlanta, Georgia.

If you like straightforward thrillers, you might enjoy Cop Town. It did not, however, appeal to me.

5 internautes sur 5 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
4.0 étoiles sur 5 Excellent crime thriller from a not-so excellent time in history 1 juillet 2014
Par Aurania - Publié sur
Format:Format Kindle
"The good-ol-boy system was great so long as you were one of the boys."

So, this book. How to start with this book? I've never read Karin Slaughter before, but I was in the mood for an adult stand-alone when I was perusing Netgalley. I almost skipped over it. I'm so used to YA, with their dazzling covers of trickery, looking all beautiful on the outside, but oftentimes being so empty inside. Then I came across this. With it's unassuming cover, all quiet, contemplative, calculating, almost bland by comparison to what I usually read, that I almost zoomed right past it. Then I read the blurb. And as I suspected, this unassuming little book turned out to be all kinds of awesome. I want to burn my bra, start protesting, and run around with sandwich boards screaming girl power. If you're a dude who hates pigs (no pun intended), you might want to buy a bra just so you can burn it with me.

You know how some women, like me, will watch or read something you know will make you cry just so you can have "a good cry?" This is like the anger version of that. This is the "good anger" book. One of my notes - on page 52 - was: "God, is everybody racist? Were the 70s just completely racist?" If I hadn't known how vile our Nation has been at times, I would have thought this was a parody. And the answer to the question is, Yes. The 70s were racist.

Make no mistake - many of the characters in this book are appalling in their prejudice. Even the characters you would think would be above it, being subjected to it themselves, aren't (namely the female officers). Somehow, though, as you continue to read, the constant slew of racial-epithets-I-shan't-repeat-here, become almost...normal. The racism and misogyny is so pervasive that basically got used to it after a while and it no longer shocked me. I found it oddly disconcerting because shouldn't I still feel angry reading these words and the way these characters treated each other? Shouldn't it piss me off still? Yet, I just came to accept that this is just how things are. Just like every character who had something to hide (their sexuality, femininity, or racial background) had come to accept the world. How is this ok?!

But you know what's great about it? Even some of of these characters, who you should find loathsome, aren't. Some of them appear on the surface to be these one-dimensional racists, but there's so much more there. They have many redeeming qualities. They are an unfortunate product of the society in which they live, yet some of them are pretty decent people. Like Gail. Gail can offend with the best, but hot damn if she's not the toughest chick on the block, with a soft side to her that's almost matronly. She supports her fellow women on the force, even when their own families don't. She does it in a bitchy, steely way sometimes, but she offers the encouragement and approval that many of these girls need. As Kate later observes, "How can they be so awful, yet they do these good things?" Why can evil be good and good be evil? "Because it's Tuesday.

The story is basically about two female officers, and a slew of secondary characters, mostly officers, working in Atlanta as they all work to identify and capture the Atlanta Shooter, who has been assassinating officers for several months. As you can imagine, the men outnumber the women by a large amount. Most women wash out the first week, which is hard enough as it is without being compounded by the abuse inflicted by your fellow officers. Aside from getting no support from the other women, and the constant sexual harassment from men, they also get trolled by the department, which purposely provides them with uniforms that don't fit. The women get no real responsibility, are there for show, and really are meant to stay out of the way. The story switches POV from Maggie and Kate to an Atlanta Shooter, known as Fox, throughout the book. It's written in third person, but even if it had been in first person, the voices are so distinct that there would be no difficulty following along. Maggie and Kate are two very different women, from different upbringings.

Maggie grew up in a cop family, but as the only female on the force, her family doesn't think she belongs. Even her own mother wants her to get off her ass and find a husband before she loses her looks. And her uncle (Terry) and brother (Jimmy), who are thought of as gods on the force? They don't give her (and no woman) any real responsibility. They just want her to stay out of harm's way and collect her paycheck, presumably to pay for Uncle Terry's drinking habit. Because Terry, wouldn't you know it, controls the family money. Because he's the man. Maggie gets no support from anyone, and she desperately seeks approval.

Terry, now he's a loathsome character. He might be the only one I never got used to, he's so vile. Aside from hating everyone not a white man, he also likes to beat women. But, that's ok, right? Since they are family? That's his right as a man. Now, go and fetch my coffee and a sandwich, woman. He is pretty one-dimensional, but not in the lazy writing kind of way. More like in the way that hyper-racists tend to be (no amount of debate will ever convince me that someone like that has depth IRL, so let's not even bother arguing the point). He is every bit as bad a cop as you would expect - framing people, planting evidence, giving not one shit about procedure of the actual law. Because "anything's legal if you can get away with it." Sure, he has gone through his trials, as many of the men have, and he is a Vietnam Vet, like many of them are, but none of that excuses his behavior. Ugh. I can't write much about him, he makes me so mad.

Jimmy is a bit of a conundrum for most of the book. A former football star whose career ended before it could begin, he's still an icon on the force. And he still brings with him the same prejudices that surround him daily. Like Maggie, he suffers from what I perceive as curable ignorance - the type of racism and prejudice that can actually be cured because they simply didn't know any better. Minor spoiler: I really enjoyed that by the end, both Jimmy and Maggie seemed to have let go of at least some of their hang-ups. They began to see other people as people and realize how their little classifications of others didn't matter. Maggie accepted Jimmy, she accepted Kate.

Kate, on the other hand, grew up very differently. She seems to harbor none of the prejudices of virtually everyone else around her. She did what most women at the time did - found herself a husband and was content to be happily married, maybe get a job as a secretary. Like all of her friends did. Except her husband was killed in Vietnam. And she sucks as a secretary. That she is now widowed and single is practically scandalous to the crowd she usually runs with.

Perhaps to empower herself, she signs up for the force. The book begins on her first day as an officer. The great thing about Kate is that she has several sides to her, all of which are acknowledged later on, and she can't easily be boxed at all. She's coming into herself, learning who she is without her husband, and learning how to be tough and take care of herself. Plus, she's getting on in age...she's in her mid- to late twenties (I snickered when I read this). Kate is a deft liar. She has to be to survive in this environment, but it also turns out to be a useful skill for numerous reasons I really shouldn't spoil. It surprised me, because she initially seems so feminine that she can't possibly be cut out for this job (see how this book makes you feel and believe the prejudice, even relate to it? It's scary).

The research in this book astounded me. The 70s dripped off the pages, even down to the decor. I felt what it was like to wear official officer gear (did you know that those utility belts and equipment weigh like 20 to 30 pounds? I didn't!). Slaughter really set a mood with this one and it was obvious to me that she spent time talking to people, researching Atlanta, and just getting a feel for the characters in this book. There is such attention to detail here, it's clear how carefully and seriously Slaughter takes her craft. Much 70s. So retro. Wow.

Books like this - with their vitriol, hatred, and all-encompassing prejudice, are important. I started reading it right around the time "The Normal Heart" premiered on HBO. After watching the movie, I went to Goodreads to check out reviews of the original play. I noted a few who felt the play was dated because our society has come so far in terms of how we perceive and treat homosexuals, and we are so much more educated about AIDS now that there is little to learn from the story. I disagree (particularly because as someone who began growing up in the 80s, I actually remember a lot of it - I especially remember Ryan White, the poor child who had to die for people to realize AIDS isn't a gay plague).

I think histories like that - like how we handled AIDS in the 80s, how we treated slaves in the 19th century (like in "Twelve Years a Slave"), and, indeed, how we treated women, gays, blacks, Asians, Jews, and anyone not a white man in the 70s - need to be remembered. It needs to be shoved in our faces from time to time. I see these young female celebrities today eschewing feminism, like it's completely unnecessary, antiquated, and doesn't affect their lives at all, and it makes my blood boil. How can you so easily forget what it took to get here? What women went through so you could have the choices you have? I grew up in the 80s and 90s, so by the time I really came of age, their work was nearly done. The groundwork had been laid, barriers broken, and I had loads of choices laid at my feet. To dishonor that by pretending feminism is a bad word, or that it somehow has ceased to be important, is just ignorant.

Karin Slaughter is a skilled writer. She has great command of language and uses it effectively - to set a tone, elicit an emotion, stage a scene. It is distinctly adult in tone, yet easy to digest and with a very nice flow. She is consistent, too. For example, she made rules for interacting with perps - like "ask, tell, make" - and she consistently applied them. I think there was only one moment when I felt like there had been a bit of thesaurus abuse. This isn't something I actually look for while reading, and I don't typically watch for things like verb tense agreement, so a flaw really has to be glaring for me to actually notice it. I don't recall the word, and I can't be bothered to look through my highlights because it's just too trivial, but I recall one moment when I had to look up the word and it wasn't one I'd ever heard in my entire life. It felt out of place.

The only other time I was slightly confused was when Slaughter explained how the draft worked. It left me with questions that I had to Google for clarification. That tiny section could have been explained better, but, again, totally trivial in the scheme of this book.

This was a great book. The mystery and capture of the shooter was good, although to be honest, I was so entranced by this world she was unmasking that it almost felt secondary to me at times.

Special Thank You to Netgalley and Delacorte Press for granting me access to this advance review copy. I loved it. All quotes are taken from an unproofed galley subject to change before publication.
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