Book Review: Coptown

July 26, 2014 Book Review, reviews 5

Book Review: CoptownCoptown by Karin Slaughter
Published by Delacorte Press on June 24th, 2014
Genres: Fiction, Thriller
Pages: 416
Source: purchased


Atlanta, Georgia, 1974.  Racial tensions are high.  Women are pushing the standard.  Anyone not white male is suspect and marginalized.  Enter Maggie, a female cop in a family of cops, but not one of the family.  Maggie is pushed, belittled, abused and in essence “encouraged” to find a man, have babies and let the men do the real jobs.  Maggie’s not giving in, not giving up.  Trained by Gail, a hardened chain-smoking undercover playing prostitute, Maggie has learned how to let most of the squad’s antics roll off of her back.  The antics of her bigoted self-righteous uncle and golden-boy brother not so much.

Coptown begins with Katy joining the force and Maggie stuck with the blonde, buxom Dutch from the ritzy side of town known to this day as Buckhead.  The day Katy enters the station for roll call is the first day after Maggie’s brother escaped “The Shooter” by carrying his injured partner ten blocks to Grady Hospital on a bum knee.  The station is in an uproar as this is the third pair of cops targeted by The Shooter.  The women on the force are expected to handle minor offenses while the ‘real men’ go after the bad guys.  That means all the male cops are rounding up anyone who moves or breathes on the street and not really doing any detecting.  Maggie’s not having that though – her brother was shot and, though they don’t speak, she’s got his back.  But Maggie is also stuck with a newbie.

The character development of Maggie and Kate weaves in and out like a beautiful tapestry.  The partners are completely different from one another yet their stories overlap to create this perfect symbiotic relationship.  The strength of both women awed me but it was their weaknesses that revealed the true strength of Kate and Maggie.

I’ve seen a couple of presentations by Karin Slaughter at the Decatur Book Festival and she is such an engaging speaker that immerses herself in research before writing her novels and, man, does it show.  Y’all know I’m from North Georgia so having Atlanta as the backdrop was especially great for me.  But Slaughter didn’t just make Atlanta a backdrop – she made Atlanta a living, breathing entity.  {from the author’s Acknowledgments: “Please keep in mind that Atlanta is not just one city — every experience is unique.}.  From Cabbage Town to Buckhead to Grady Hospital, Slaughter had me nodding my head and thankful she gets the city.  Of course she should as she’s from Atlanta!

Since finishing Coptown I’ve been asking those in the know about their experiences in the early 1970’s.  To see what these women went through in order to bust through the system and be on the police force it’s astonishing they survived!  Same with every other population not white male – the Jewish culture was still reeling from WWII AND prejudice on the home front not to mention what the blacks were going through.

Coptown is on my very short list of most favorite books for 2014.  Coptown has everything a good thriller should have and yet so much more – great characters, a plot that just does not slow down, evil bad guys and even evil good guys.  Don’t miss this one if you like a good thriller.  The only reason you’ll put it down is to take a deep breath between chapters {especially if you fit into any of the marginalized society populations – black, Jewish, female, Chinese, Japanese, purple dinosaur, etc}.

Do share – what sticks out in your memory of 1974?


5 Responses to “Book Review: Coptown”

  1. Diane@BibliophilebytheSea

    On my list – i do like this author and this sounds good and gritty.

  2. Laurel-Rain Snow

    This one is definitely on my list…I was young in the 70s and saw so much, so when I read a book or watch a movie set in those times, especially those set in the South, tears often flow.

    Thanks for sharing.
    Laurel-Rain Snow recently posted…AUTHOR’S HOME PAGEMy Profile

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