Cop town - Karin SlaughterI’m going to come straight out and say it: my name is Linsey and I have never read any Karin Slaughter. Perhaps there are just too many great crime authors and not enough time; maybe it’s the action-thriller, blockbustery tone of voice in her marketing that didn’t appeal, but now I’ve paid a little more attention, Cop Town, her new stand-alone novel, looks like a great place for me to start.

It’s Atlanta, 1974 and Kate Murphy is a rookie cop in a man’s world. A fellow cop has been brutally murdered and a furious manhunt ensues. Could her first day on the force also be her last? Hostility and sexism from colleagues of both sexes conspire to make her feel like she really doesn’t belong. She’s partnered up with Maggie Lawson, but the two are sidelined in the search for the city’s most wanted killer. Will he strike again? Will Kate and Maggie have the courage to pursue their own line of investigation? And are they prepared to risk everything as they venture into the darkest heart of their city?

Those who’ve had a sneak preview of this novel praise it for its evocation of place and time and its social commentary: political, social and sexual tensions swim in a workplace so different from the one we know today. It’s a scenario lightly touched upon (mainly for comic effect) in retro crime TV series Life on Mars, but in Karin Slaughter’s hands the sexism, racism and homophobia is truly shocking. Women are casually groped and fondled by colleagues and there’s an informal apartheid that cuts across all sexes. How can these people function collectively to trap a killer?

I won’t talk about Karin’s multi-million dollar career here: I’ll just praise her for her support of public libraries, a cause very dear to my heart, and look forward to paying a visit to Cop Town.