Darktown

A Novel

Darktown

(Book #1 of The Darktown Series)
“One incendiary image ignites the next in this highly combustible procedural…written with a ferocious passion that’ll knock the wind out of you.” —The New York Times Book Review

“Fine Southern storytelling meets hard-boiled crime in a tale that connects an overlooked chapter of history to our own continuing struggles with race today.” —Charles Frazier, bestselling author of Cold Mountain

“This page-turner reads like the best of James Ellroy.” —Publishers Weekly, starred review

“In the way the story is told coupled with its heightened racial context, Darktown reminded me of Walter Mosley or a George Pelecanos novel.” —Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

“High-quality…crime fiction with a nimble sense of history…quick on its feet and vividly drawn.” —Dallas Morning News

“Some books educate, some books entertain, Thomas Mullen’s Darktown is the rare book that does both.” —Huffington Post

Award-winning author Thomas Mullen is a “wonderful architect of intersecting plotlines and unexpected answers”(The Washington Post) in this timely and provocative mystery and brilliant exploration of race, law enforcement, and justice in 1940s Atlanta.

Responding to orders from on high, the Atlanta Police Department is forced to hire its first black officers, including war veterans Lucius Boggs and Tommy Smith. The newly minted policemen are met with deep hostility by their white peers; they aren’t allowed to arrest white suspects, drive squad cars, or set foot in the police headquarters.

When a woman who was last seen in a car driven by a white man turns up dead, Boggs and Smith suspect white cops are behind it. Their investigation sets them up against a brutal cop, Dunlow, who has long run the neighborhood as his own, and his partner, Rakestraw, a young progressive who may or may not be willing to make allies across color lines. Among shady moonshiners, duplicitous madams, crooked lawmen, and the constant restrictions of Jim Crow, Boggs and Smith will risk their new jobs, and their lives, while navigating a dangerous world—a world on the cusp of great change.

A vivid, smart, intricately plotted crime saga that explores the timely issues of race, law enforcement, and the uneven scales of justice.
  • Atria / 37 INK | 
  • 384 pages | 
  • ISBN 9781501133879 | 
  • June 2017
List Price $22.00

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Reading Group Guide

This reading group guide for Darktown includes an introduction, discussion questions, and ideas for enhancing your book club. The suggested questions are intended to help your reading group find new and interesting angles and topics for your discussion. We hope that these ideas will enrich your conversation and increase your enjoyment of the book.

Introduction

The award-winning author of The Last Town on Earth delivers a riveting and elegant police procedural set in 1948 Atlanta, exploring a murder, corrupt police, and strained race relations that feels ripped from today's headlines.

Responding to orders from on high, the Atlanta Police Department is forced to hire its first black officers, including war veterans Lucius Boggs and Tommy Smith. The newly minted policemen are met with deep hostility by their white peers; they aren’t allowed to arrest white suspects, drive squad cars, or set foot in the police headquarters.

When a black woman who was last seen in a car driven by a white man turns up dead, Boggs and Smith suspect white cops are behind it. Their investigation sets them up against a brutal cop, Dunlow, who has long run the neighborhood as his own, and his partner, Rakestraw, a young progressive who may or may not be willing to make allies across color lines. Among shady moonshiners, duplicitous madams, crooked lawmen, and the constant restrictions of Jim Crow, Boggs and Smith will risk their n see more

More Books from this Author

Darktown
Atria Mystery Sampler 2016

About the Author

Thomas Mullen
Photograph by Jeff Roffman

Thomas Mullen

Thomas Mullen is the author of Darktown, an NPR Best Book of the Year, which has been shortlisted for the Los Angeles Times Book Prize, the Southern Book Prize, the Indies Choice Book Award, has been nominated for two Crime Writers Assocation Dagger Awards, and is being developed for television by Sony Pictures with executive producer Jamie Foxx; The Last Town on Earth, which was named Best Debut Novel of 2006 by USA TODAY and was awarded the James Fenimore Cooper Prize for excellence in historical fiction; The Many Deaths of the Firefly Brothers; and The Revisionists. He lives in Atlanta with his wife and sons.

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