Cop Town is an excellent way to read social/cultural history. This is a look at the first (fictional) women to serve as police officers and how they were treated as subhumans. The story takes place in Atlanta in 1975 – a time and place thick with hatred and fear. Any human who wasn’t the perfect specimen of a white male was hated: blacks, homosexuals, handicapped persons and women – all those who didn’t know or stay down in the place they had been assigned.
For the police department – that bastion of white male superiority – to be forced to allow women into their ranks was the final straw. They’d already been forced to hire blacks, but now women? The men did not handle the admission of women well. To begin with, the women were given uniforms designed specifically not to fit. Everything, including the shoes, were way too big, even for a very large woman. They were fondled and groped by the male officers, verbally abused and sexually harassed. Any woman who survived had to be tough and very determined.
The story focuses on two specific women: Maggie, a young woman born into a family of cops, and Kate, a well-to-do young woman from the suburbs who’d lost her husband to the Vietnam war. They both had something to prove. In addition to being tough and determined, Maggie and Kate were intelligent and they sincerely wanted to help. They saw their chance to help by solving the mystery of a killer who has been targeting cops. The women notice that the killer seems to know an awful lot about them.
I thoroughly enjoyed this novel. It completely absorbed my thinking even when I wasn’t reading. I so identified with the plight of the woman and all the insults and obstacles they faced. The murder mystery was also challenging. It was hard to figure out the who, although I did figure out the why early in the story. This is my first Karin Slaughter book, but it won’t be my last.