Archive for the ‘1970s’ Category

CopTownHaving never read anything by Karin Slaughter prior to Cop Town, I have to give her credit for one thing right off the bat: She certainly has the talent for creating despicable characters.

It is 1970s Atlanta and Maggie Lawson is one of a handful of female police officers. None of the male officers want women on the job, including her brother Jimmy and her uncle Terry. There has been a rash of cop shootings recently and Terry and Jimmy don’t have time to watch out for Maggie. Additionally, it is felt that the women can’t add anything valuable to the investigation.

Partnered with, Kate, an FNG, (Fucking New Girl) from a posh neighborhood, no less, Maggie still wants to be part of the investigation but everyone thinks Kate will wash out by week’s end. When Jimmy’s partner is shot, with Jimmy close by, the murders are brought even closer to home. Everyone in the Lawson household is telling Maggie to resign. Both Kate and Maggie have something to prove to themselves and everybody else.

As I said, Slaughter has created some despicable characters, especially in the police department. Many of the males are veterans of either WW II or the Vietnam War, depending on their ages. They are anti women, anti Black, anti gay, anti everything that isn’t exactly like they are. They are habitually drunk on the job and prefer their own justice to that of the legal system.

Maggie and Kate are interesting characters, stumbling through their jobs, trying to compete in a man’s world.

Slaughter does a nice job describing the various sections of Atlanta. She also does a great job describing the police department of the times; the segregation within it (the ‘colored girls’ dress after the white girls leave the locker room and have put a curtain across it, claiming their own territory), the sexism within the department (the groping as the women enter the building) and the ‘taking the law into their own hands’ mentality.

All in all, I really liked Cop Town and would certainly read another Karin Slaughter book.

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ChildrenOfTheRevolutionGavin Miller is found dead under the railroad trestle with 5,000 British pounds in his pocket. Sixty-ish, Miller had a checkered past. Several years earlier, he was relieved of his teaching position because of alleged sexual misconduct. Living an isolated existence, the interesting thing was that one of the last phone calls he made was to Lady Chalmers, someone clearly outside of his social circle.

DCI Banks is called on the case, bringing along his crew, Annie Cabbott and Winsome Jackman, along with a newbie, Gerry Masterson.

As with many a Peter Robinson mystery, there is a past and a present. The investigators spend time researching Miller’s whereabouts in the early 1970s, what they call the missing years, as well as the sexual misconduct charges and the present. How Robinson/Banks brings it all together can’t be beat.

What I like about Peter Robinson’s Alan Banks is that he’s a person. We know what music he likes to listen to, what he likes to drink, where he takes his meals. As the books progress, we also learn more about Cabbott and Jackman. You can’t always say that about detectives. Being around the same age as Banks, I like his music references to the Grateful Dead, Pink Floyd, King Crimson. Brings back lots of memories for me.

What I like about Robinson’s books is that they’re more cerebral. Don’t get me wrong, a surprise ending may pop up in one of his books as well as other mystery writers, but he’s got you thinking all along the way. I certainly didn’t see this ending until it was revealed.

I’ve even taken to watching DCI Banks on public television and while the actor isn’t how I pictured Banks originally, now that’s the way I see him in the books as well.

Suffice it to say, DCI Banks has become one of my favorite mysteries. Children of the Revolution will not disappoint readers and may even score as one of your favorite series.




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