Slaughter’s tale racks up tension

'Cop Town', by Karin Slaughter
'Cop Town', by Karin Slaughter

Karin Slaughter has established her name with a series of bestsellers based on strong characters such as Will Trent and Faith Mitchell, selling 30 million books in 32 languages around the world.

With Kate Murphy she has again come up with another winner with a compelling story to tell in the crime thriller ‘Cop Town’.

Kate Murphy’s first day as an Atlanta police officer couldn’t get off to a worse start. She’s despised by the women, lusted after by the men and disregarded by the public she has sworn to protect. Against the backdrop of 1970s Atlanta, where lines are drawn along racial as well as gender divides, Murphy has joined a police force ravaged by in-fighting and on the hunt for a serial cop-killer.

She faces racism, sexism, cronyism and anti-Semitism on a daily basis but despite the odds, Murphy quickly proves an asset to a force. Whether Murphy and her new-found friends can end the serial killer’s spree doesn’t become clear until the final pages as Slaughter ratchets up the tension to the very end.

‘Cop Town’ by Karin Slaughter, £18.99 hardback, published by Century.

Lisa Jewell has come a long way since her earlier books, including ‘Ralph’s Party’, made her a shining light of women’s fiction, writing about tangled relationships in a style which was light, often humorous and always poignant. Her later books have been slightly darker and ‘The Third Wife’ is no exception. It’s the tale of genial, good-looking, middle-aged Adrian Wolfe, who left his two previous wives – and a total of five children – for his latest one, Maya. When Maya steps out in front of a bus after an evening of heavy drinking on her own, the question raised is: was it a genuine accident or did she commit suicide? And, through a series of flashbacks interspersed with real-time events, it slowly emerges that behind the facade of happiness and love shared between all three wives and Adrian’s clutch of children, he has left a trail of emotional devastation in his wake. The secrets, lies and the lives broken when a partner leaves his family are painstakingly explored in this well-crafted drama – but don’t expect many laughs.

‘The Third Wife’ by Lisa Jewell, £12.99 hardback, published by Century.