A gritty procedural in which the streets of 1970s Atlanta are just as dangerous for cops as for criminals.
Being a woman in uniform is hard enough, but thriller-writer Slaughter (Unseen, 2013, etc.) drives the point home like a knife to the eye—she does that, too—with her taut stand-alone featuring two female cops in a city bubbling over with racial and political unrest. Maggie Lawson bleeds blue—older brother Jimmy is in uniform and uncle Terry is top brass—but she’s not welcome in the male-dominated police world. Besides the racial clashes erupting on the street and within the department, there’s a cop killer on the loose. Known as the Shooter, he ambushes officers and executes them. As a woman whose duties involve writing tickets and generally keeping out of the way—despite the fact she has five years’ experience under her heavy utility belt—Maggie can only stay peripherally involved in the manhunt, even when Jimmy’s partner is killed. Officially, that is. Joined by rookie Kate Murphy, a woman trying to leave everything, from her upper-class upbringing to her dead husband, behind, the pair conducts their own investigation. Slaughter excels at empathetically flawed characters who rise above the violence—her books are not for the squeamish—of their circumstances; Maggie and Kate are on par with series regulars Will Trent and Sara Linton.
There’s nothing pretty about this divided cop town, but in exposing its ugliness, Slaughter forces us to question whether times really have changed.