3.5 stars I wouldn't call this a southern gothic, but I actually quite enjoyed reading this. I'm bored or turned off by a lot of YA thrillers, but tho...more3.5 stars I wouldn't call this a southern gothic, but I actually quite enjoyed reading this. I'm bored or turned off by a lot of YA thrillers, but thought this was entertaining and readable, and the shifting multiple POVs were well done.
More positives, with some mild spoilers:
-- Eva doesn't play the "all other girls are evil" game. She stands up for herself and for other girls, even if they haven't been great to her. -- changing romances were handled believably -- the heroine gets involved with a guy who's slept around a lot (not sure why, although I think we're meant to believe it's from family troubles and not wanting to give into his feelings for his BFF), and not only does her mom gently suggest that he get tested, but Eva brings it up to him immediately. AND he offers to do it on a regular basis! -- the paranormal element and central mystery are interesting -- I don't normally love killer POVs, but this one kept my interest, especially in the first half of the book -- nice parental dynamics
-- Pacing felt a bit uneven in the second half, especially after you discover who the killer is -- I liked the characters, but a little more development would have made these guys more compelling -- Ditto on the paranormal bits.
I liked it, though. Maybe a bit more of a review to come. (less)
Started off fine, but got progressively more convoluted and ethically messed up as the story went on. Also SO annoying that a number of the characters...moreStarted off fine, but got progressively more convoluted and ethically messed up as the story went on. Also SO annoying that a number of the characters also had nicknames--and some of them had more than one! Sheesh. (less)
3.5 stars Not everything entirely worked for me, especially towards the end, but I quite liked this nonetheless. Especially appreciated the portrayal...more3.5 stars Not everything entirely worked for me, especially towards the end, but I quite liked this nonetheless. Especially appreciated the portrayal of non-middle class characters and the sense of being trapped in small town life on the brink of high school graduation.
A bit more of a review to come at some point.(less)
2.5 stars Karin Slaughter tops my list of favorite crime writers, and she's certainly the one who writes the most engrossing police procedurals, as we...more2.5 stars Karin Slaughter tops my list of favorite crime writers, and she's certainly the one who writes the most engrossing police procedurals, as well as the one who usually succeeds in leaving you gasping after she's punched you in the emotional gut. But while I was excited about the idea of a new book outside of the Georgia series, this one didn't quite work for me.
I appreciate the author's tackling a difficult time period in showing the rampant racism and sexism of the 1970s, but this book was so unrelentingly grim and violent that it was really difficult to read. I know Slaughter's been criticized for her portrayal of violence against women in the past, but I never thought that was fair--her Grant County and Will Trent series were unflinching about their gruesome crimes, sure, but that was tempered with gravity and humor and genuinely poignant relationships of all kinds.
In Cop Town, the moments of finer emotion are scarce, and it feels as though you're constantly on the verge of being backhanded across the face and called a filthy slit for daring to want more of that. ("Slit" is used many, many, many, many times, as are countless other appallingly derogatory terms for women and minorities. The point is hammered in pretty heavily.) The story is about the oppressed being further beaten down and follows Maggie and Kate, new partners who (eventually) take control of their lives, as they investigate a series of execution-style cop killings. But even the two main characters we're supposed to root for are often hard to relate to or care about. Kate's transformation from "fucking new girl" to hardened cop isn't as memorable as I'd hoped ( and her dumb personal choices often made me want to shake her), and Maggie goes through so much abuse that it overshadows everything else we know about her.
I did enjoy undercover officer Gail's batshit crazy story arc, and I'm perfectly fine with how things turned out for just about all the characters. It's not the most complex or engrossing of Slaughter's mysteries (the killer's motivations as well as his fixation on Kate are hastily explained in the end, which is disappointing after so much build-up, and I don't love an overabundance of killer POV chapters anyway), but her characters are so indelible that you hardly notice until it's all over. But given that there is so much violence in this story, and specifically so much violence against women, this was just extremely difficult to get through on a number of levels.
Cop Town is well-crafted, but was it an enjoyable read? Not really, at least for me. I'm feeling more tired and battered after finishing it than anything else. If you're curious about this author, I'd recommend her other series instead. The order in which they should be read is on my Blindsighted review.
I will still probably read the next book in this series out of curiosity since things are marginally getting better climate-wise in the end, and I also find it hard to resist any Slaughter novels. But in the meantime, I'm going to go wait quietly in the corner for the next Will and Sara book. (view spoiler)[I'm hoping Angie gets what's coming to her soon! Yeah, that'll never happen. (hide spoiler)]
An advance copy was provided by the publisher for this review.["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>(less)
If you had hoped for something more from the much-lauded Landline, look no further than Liane Moriarty. She writes well-plotted, engrossing, and incre...moreIf you had hoped for something more from the much-lauded Landline, look no further than Liane Moriarty. She writes well-plotted, engrossing, and incredibly funny stories with believable women that also happen to put marriage and friendship under a microscope. Every book I've read by this author has been terrific. (less)
3.5 stars I liked this, but it felt overly long, and could have used better pacing. It's also kind of weird to essentially rewrite what we know of his...more3.5 stars I liked this, but it felt overly long, and could have used better pacing. It's also kind of weird to essentially rewrite what we know of history to recast a murderer as a heroine. At first glance it seems like a Abe Lincoln, Vampire Slayer-type mash-up, but it's really closer to the idea of giving Jack the Ripper good reasons, albeit supernatural reasons, to commit his gruesome crimes. I also wish we'd spent more time on the actual Borden murders--everyone here seems to avoid talking about or even thinking about it too much.
Still, the old-timey horror style is interesting, as is the nature of the creature feature. Whether we saw enough of all that, and whether there's enough here to sustain a sequel, is another story. I'd read book two, though.(less)
3.5 stars I have such mixed feelings about this one. It started off great, and what Mo Hayder does extremely well is to build up tension and create me...more3.5 stars I have such mixed feelings about this one. It started off great, and what Mo Hayder does extremely well is to build up tension and create memorable characters. This story is also filled with a lot of twists and turns, some of which I thought were too convoluted and involving human behavior that wasn't entirely convincing, but others that were also really intriguing and offering genuine surprises. The payoff was good, (view spoiler)[in that that little witch gets what's coming to her (hide spoiler)] but I do wish it had felt a bit more emphatically satisfying. A little more time wrapping that up probably would have let us revel in the climax more.
As someone who revels in the previous books in this series, as well as in Karin Slaughter and Chelsea Cain and other thrillers, I'm no stranger to boundary-pushing extremes of human behavior and violence, but what's portrayed here felt mostly like shock-value material rather than stuff that really gets to you. It's terrible and violent and traumatic on paper, yes, but I didn't experience the kind of visceral reaction I normally would with descriptions and writing and character development that truly put me inside a character's head and made me care about them (or made me fascinated by them, in a killer's case).
I'm glad, however, that we finally, FINALLY get more of the overarching story arc involving Jack's brother that was so riveting in the first two books. It's been 13 long years since the second book The Treatment, the last time any significant developments have occurred--we've known about Ewan's fate for a long time (I still think about that haunting final scene), but Jack never did. But to have this major storyline relegated to a relatively minor role in this book, particularly in a book already stuffed full of perhaps too many details and characters, and with the additional "mystique" distraction of The Walking Man, felt unnecessarily cruel and did not allow for it to be infused with nearly as much poignancy and guilt and regret as it should have been. I know this will change him--I just hope that in the future Caffery books, it's in the kind of meaningful way that we saw in the first two brilliant books in this series.["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>(less)
I was so excited to hear Chelsea Cain had a new series out this year, but this one left me with pretty mixed feelings. I kinda wish this series had st...moreI was so excited to hear Chelsea Cain had a new series out this year, but this one left me with pretty mixed feelings. I kinda wish this series had started with book two, since I don't think the origins of Kick's traumas converging with the new life she's embarking upon were entirely convincing.
It's also kind of as if Susan, the lovably flawed but occasionally klutzy, always-finding-herself-kidnapped-and-tied-up character from the Gretchen Lowell series, was in the starring role in this book. And while I love Susan, that's a lot of Susan to take.
I was going to write a more in-depth review of this book, and have sold countless people on the Gretchen Lowell series, but I'm declining to write anything beyond this at this point.
An advance copy was provided by the publisher for this review.(less)