go to link Dec 29, Erin rated it it was amazing Shelves: favorites. Darktown is remarkable, brilliant, infuriating and suspenseful. Darktown a fictionalized account of Atlanta's first black police officers in the late 's. As you can expect they were treated like garbage. They couldn't arrest white people, carry guns, drive police cars, wear their uniforms when off duty, and they were headquartered out of the YMCA. This book was difficult to read at times, it made me incredibly angry and made question how much race relations have changed in 70 years. I recomm Darktown is remarkable, brilliant, infuriating and suspenseful.
I recommend this book to everyone but be warned the word Nigger gets thrown around very liberally.
Also I just found out that Darktown is being turned into a tv show to be produced by Jamie Foxx. View 1 comment. Historical fiction piece set in Atlanta post WWII dealing with the integration of black cops into a world dominated by whites. The struggles of those new officers in dealing with the established cops, the expectations of the black community and the seemingly endless resentment from all sides.
But not everybody is against them. Sep 14, Char rated it it was amazing Shelves: historical-fiction , dark-fiction , atria , crime , wickedly-disturbing , racism , black-history , net-galley , american-history. Despite wearing the same uniforms as the white police force, the first black police officers in Atlanta, GA shared none of the other benefits afforded to white officers at the time. Forced to work out of the basement of the YMCA, provided with no patrol cars, not allowed to investigate anything and not even allowed to step foot in the white police station, one has to wonder why Atlanta made them police officers at all.
Darktown delved into that mystery and many more. Boggs and Smith, 4. Boggs and Smith, both black officers, one freshly back from WWII and the other the son of a preacher, commanded absolutely no respect from anyone. Not from other officers and not even from the black community, which they were tasked with protecting.
It seems that the entire world resented them for one reason or another. One night, a vehicle took down a light pole right in front of them. Upon discovering the white driver was drunk, and had a bruised young, black woman in the car, Boggs and Smith called the white police. Since they were not allowed to arrest the man themselves, they had no other choice. But while waiting for the white cops to arrive, the man just drove off, and there was nothing the black officers could do about it.
A few days later, the young black woman turns up dead and the black officers just can't let that go. Leaving off the plot so as not to spoil anything, I'll focus now on how this book made me feel. I'm aware of the shameful behavior that went on in my country, but this book went into specifics, and they were very difficult to read. The treatment of blacks in that area, during that time period, , was deplorable. There's no other word for it. Every single aspect of their life was controlled by whites. They couldn't look a white person in the eye. They couldn't defend themselves, verbally or physically, when wrongfully accused of something.
They had to ride in the back of the bus-often while the white people in the front openly disparaged them. Some of the incidents recounted here turned my stomach. Thomas Mullen took an unflinching look at the relationship between blacks and whites. As difficult as it was to read, I imagine it must have been even more difficult to write.
To avoid making the same mistakes in the future, we have to be familiar with the mistakes we've made in the past, and this book shoves those mistakes right under our noses. Do you have the strength and stamina to look them right in the face? If you do, I highly recommend Darktown. Jan 19, Andy Weston rated it it was amazing. Set in Georgia, the Deep South, in the years of racial segregation just after the Second War this is the story of Atlanta's first black police offices.
The eight of them co-habit in a dark and dingy space below the YMCA and are treated dreadfully by the majority of the white public and other white police officers. But their very positions make this such an important time in US history. The setting for Mullen's novel therefore is quite compelling and without surprise it contended for several majo Set in Georgia, the Deep South, in the years of racial segregation just after the Second War this is the story of Atlanta's first black police offices. The setting for Mullen's novel therefore is quite compelling and without surprise it contended for several major awards in The story also is compelling.
It centres around two of the officers, Boggs and Smith, as they pursue the murder of a young black woman. It is quite refreshing to read something new and innovative in the genre of crime fiction. Mullen manages to create some wonderful characters also in the entourage around the story, though several of them are from from likeable.
It's the sort of book that as you read it, you can easily see it's transition to the screen. The problem is that if that happens, it is so rarely well done. But again credit to the author, for making the story come alive in the mind of the reader. View 2 comments. Worth all the hype and more. A gritty cop procedural, in which the streets of , the sweltering heat and humidity of an Atlanta, GA summer- a city just as dangerous for black cops, as for criminals.
An induction- However, unfortunately, here in the South, these officers were not respected, or treated equally as the whites. Second class citizens, only moving a little from the back of the bus, and now in, even greater danger. From different backgrounds, their office was in the basement of the Negro YMCA, a makeshift precinct. Things were as good as they could be for a Southern Negro in Atlanta, or were they settling?.
Were they any different in Alabama or North Carolina? How long would it take to walk to Chicago where so many people had ventured for in the search for a better life? Were there choices? The novel chronicles the case of a black woman who turns up fatally beaten after last seen in a car driven by a white man, which deepens the divide in the police department. Atlanta police officers were ordered to abide by a strict moral code—no drinking, even at home, and no womanizing—but that had not entirely sunk in with Tommy Smith.
The Negro officers dutifully avoided alcohol, as they knew all too well that a witness could report them and get them suspended, but for Smith, the idea of suddenly becoming a chaste man was altogether too much. Boggs had always felt marked for something bigger, a curse of being raised by a reverend. The white officers were the worst! One day they would most likely run over them and insist it was an accident. They had been officers for just under three months, walking the beats around Auburn Avenue the neighborhood where both had lived all their lives save the war years , and the West Side, on the other side of downtown.
They were not detectives, only beat cops. They had no squad cars and were forbidden from entering the white headquarters. They could not conduct investigations. By the time they walked to a call box to call in a report, and the whites came, they did nothing but laugh in their faces.
White people were not often found in Sweet Auburn, the wealthiest Negro neighborhood in Atlanta—Possibly in the country. Adventurous whites looking for gambling, or whores in the darker parts of town would normally troll along Decatur Street by railroad tracks, a half-mile to the south. The end of the war had brought a population to the city with farmers fleeing sharecropping to find something only slightly less horrible. Families packed into one room apartments with poor living conditions, no garbage collection or enforcement of housing codes.
The novel revolves around an investigation.
A woman, light-skinned and young, in her early twenties, in a canary-yellow sundress, was with a white man in a car driving reckless. Colored officers only patrolled the colored parts of town, where whites were infrequent visitors. This man said Boggs did not have the power to arrest him when they stopped him.
They were worried about the girl. The Buick took off almost running them over. Neither city or country but some odd combination, a once sleepy railroad crossing that had exploded due to the wartime need for material and the necessities of shipping it. The South was very good a providing cheap, non-unionized labor. So the town continued to grow. Rake had seen Dunlow beat at least a dozen men usually blacks rather than arresting them, and instructed those on what to say to stand witness at a trial.
From bribes from bootleggers and numbers runners, and madams. Dunlow never arrested white men. Only blacks. Boggs was smart and the white officers made fun of his prolific writing skills when writing reports. Dunlow falsified reports, beaten people, re-typed their reports, eliminating critical information, murder, racial injustice, corruption. They were not even allowed to identify bodies in the morgue.
A detective had to be present. How could they bring him down? Rake had survived against steep odds for years in Europe—from threats collaborators and spies. Back home in Atlanta, however, he was finding the moral territory more difficult to chart than he expected. He was smart. Could he be trusted? He grew up respecting everyone, no matter their color. No white cops had ever had Auburn Ave.
Now they seem interested. The woman they had seen earlier in the yellow sundress with the white man turns up dead. In a garbage dump surrounding by decaying food, hardly recognizable. A six- year old boy Horace saw the pretty lady in the yellow dress running. The white man had stopped to find her. Smith and Boggs had seen her in that car with the white man who hit her and they were not able to help.
A desperate search for answers for this girl and her unknown family. They were obsessed trying to find out more about the mysterious Black Jane Doe. A yellow dress, a heart-shaped locked, and a birthmark on her right shoulder was all they had to go on. What was the connection between Underhill and Dunlow? From murder, corruption, and conspiracy. The dark underbelly of Atlanta. Black cops were denied overtime and made far less than white cops, and when they had been needed in a courtroom, the judge even refused to let them enter in uniform.
They had to carry their uniforms and change in a custodial closet. Everything they had to encounter was dangerous. Worn down, fighting against every turn, Boggs and Smith have no other choice than to break a few rules, even risk being fired to get to the bottom of this cruel murder. Will they have some help? To provide a good example for colored kids. Smith opened his eyes. Men of courage, willing to fight and risk their lives for justice. From hatred to hope. From women, blacks to whites. A divided town. Look where we are today in ?
Darktown is a novel by Thomas Mullen, who also wrote the books Lightning Men, The Revisionists, and The Last Town on Earth. Darktown book. Read reviews from the world's largest community for readers . Responding from pressure on high, the Atlanta police department is forced.
Almost 70 years later. We are still dealing with similar racial issues. But in exposing its ugliness, Slaughter forces us to question whether times really have changed. They had survived into adulthood by proceeding warily, yet now they were expected to walk with a heavy step and newfound power through their neighborhoods.
In some parts, they were expected to vanish. It is no surprise the highly anticipated DARKTOWN is more than just a fictional crime thriller- infused with historical details and timely controversial subjects. It has been picked up by Hollywood! So Excited. Interview with Mullen: Indeed, Mullen accomplished his goal in a bold way, and hoping we hear more from these unforgettable courageous characters.
Entertaining and Insightful. His best yet! Having spent my entire career in Atlanta, in the media industry, I love revisiting the vibrant city, from past to present, watching these areas come alive again today.
In some ways, we have come a long way, and others- we are back living in the darkness. Highly recommend. Check out Lightning Men Darktown 2 , coming Sept 12, Jun 17, Rhonda Ruff rated it really liked it. This book was very hard to read at times. It was also something i was glad i did read! So sad that people treat others this way! And even sadder it still goes on today. What an unexpected treat!!! This moody noir tale was all about history and atmosphere. As America grapples with police brutality and race, this book imagines what almost certainly was the painful process of integrating the police force in Atlanta, late s.
I would imagine this was steeped in part in historical fact and some flights of fancy. Not many think about the conditions on the first line of protection in civil society. What must it have been like to be the first black police officers? Not allowed in the police station, were managed by white officers, everyone expecting and indeed setting them up for failure.
As Negroes they had to be morally upstanding, twice as clean as the other cops and had to endure innumerable slights and insults. This was a well done mystery with two Negro cops trying to solve a murder. This one gets thorny for a variety of reasons but mostly because it's a Negro woman that gets killed after being seen in a car with a white ex-cop.
In addition to the racism and Jim Crow indignities the Negro cops also have to confront the loyalties associated with blue line. It is with the help of some progressive characters including one young cop and some conflicted Negro characters conditions do not benefit the Negros to help out Negro cops.
White cops can make things very bad for Negroes in that era that they are able to solve the case. Aside from a few rather episodic cliffhangers and incredibly coincidental events, this was a very rich and rewarding read. I want to read the next in the series because I want to know how Smith and Boggs and Rakestraw are doing.
Thanks H!! Highly recommended!! This appears to be the only book he has narrated so far, though he is a successful actor. I think his novice nature shows here. There is a ton of potential, but he doesn't distinguish enough between the character voices. His voice however is quite easy to listen to for hours. He kept my attention. Aug 20, Bark rated it really liked it Shelves: dark-fiction , mystery.
I won this book in a Goodreads Giveaway a very long time ago. Dark Town is a mystery and an unflinching look at race relations in the not so long ago past. Even worse, much of it is depressingly still very relevant today. There is so much prejudice and hatefulness in this story that it will make you angry and sad. A murder occurs and the author delves deep into everyone involved in the situation.
What is uncovered is a whole lot of cover ups, corruption, and other assorted ugliness. Sep 28, The Shayne-Train rated it really liked it. This book was great, and painful. Great in the way great books can be great, when they're well-written with lots of character development and a sense of time and scenery that really puts you there.
But it's painful, too. The goddamned HATE in this book. There's good-natured, don't-know-no-better hate. There's vicious-hateful-to-the-fucking-core hate. And everywhere in between. Hate and degradation and hate and injustice and hate. And prejudice. And hate. This is the story of the first and only This book was great, and painful. This is the story of the first and only 8 colored police officers in the City of Atlanta in the 's. Disallowed to have squad cars, arrest white suspects, conduct any investigations, and even approach the police headquarters.
This is the exciting, moving, and heartbreaking story of Atlanta's Negro Officers, and their attempt to bring to justice the murderer of a pretty, young, colored girl. And it is such a good story. Like at Jameson's funeral, he felt the wrathful eye of his neighbors on him, judging him a failure, unworthy. There was nothing Boggs could do about the Jameson case. But the Jane Doe case was different. Boggs vowed that, when Mr. Ellsworth showed up at the station, he would be there to meet him It's set in a time before civil rights in the deep south.
The officers report to an all black YMCA as their headquarters. This gives you a feel for what these men are about to face. When they witness a black woman being assaulted by a white man, nobody seems to really care, except Boggs and Smith. Their conscience bothers them more when they find her dead.
Since this is a white man that formerly worked for the A. On the other side of this store are white officers Denny Rakestraw and Lionel Dunlow. Dunlow isn't above beating a black man for no good reason, accept that he has the power to do so. While Rakestraw doesn't participate, he does nothing to stop it either. It's a good story line and probably a pretty good representation of a time when people acted like this. While probably relevant to the characters involved, it certainly didn't make me like these guys. These kinds of stories always make me sad.
This book really drives these facts home. Boggs and Smith do their best to wade through to find out who this woman was and to see justice served. Of course there are many roadblocks for them to get to that point. While the story goes at a steady pace there are some jaw dropping unexpected twists towards the end that not only pulled the whole thing together in a interesting way but also surprised me.
Get your free Darktown download here: The Date by Darktown Ireland The line-up is Declan Drohan on lead vocals and guitar; Donal Adams on keyboards, vocals, and guitar and beats; and John Daly on guitar, effects and atmospheres and drum programming.. Subscribe to Musibiz. Not just the lack of room for a fully evolved brain, but, you know, your basic hard-headedness and all. Dunlow made a fist again. Rake heard a tendon pop.
After the white man had driven away, Boggs and Smith had walked to the nearest call box, requesting a squad car to make an arrest. Dispatch had mercifully refrained from commentary as he relayed the information over the wires, and a white squad car, D, had immediately called in to say it was coming. D must have been mighty bored that night. Five minutes later, they were walking a few blocks south of Auburn, approaching the National Pencil Factory and its ever-present smell of wood shavings, when they saw the Buick again.
It was actually stopped at the end of the next block, obeying a stop sign. It lingered there. Which of course would get him fired, or worse. No colored officer had yet discharged a firearm in the line of duty. He hurried toward it, not quite running but moving fast enough that his injured knee was very displeased. He and Boggs were only ten feet away when they saw the white man hit the girl. The whole car seemed to jump. Then the Buick drove on again.
The Buick was moving south, and in two blocks they would be near another call box. They ran. After another block they reached the intersection with Decatur Street, just north of the train tracks. Again the Buick obeyed a stop sign. Then its passenger door opened. The woman darted out, her yellow sundress a tiny flame in the dark night until she vanished into an alley.
The Buick stayed where it was, the door hanging open like an unanswered question. Then the white man leaned over, his pale hand appearing outside the car and grasping drunkenly for the handle.
He closed the door and drove on. They could have split up. Smith could have pursued the woman and Boggs could have continued his chase of the Buick. But Sergeant McInnis had warned them many times against separating themselves from each other. Apparently, the Department felt that a lone Negro officer was not terribly trustworthy, and that a second Negro officer somehow had a restraining influence on the first. Or something.
Boggs sprinted east on Decatur. A half mile ahead of him, the downtown towers were dark. Nearby he could hear freight cars being hitched and unhitched, other behemoths wearily making their way through the night. Smith kept after the Buick, which was headed south now, driving into the short tunnel that cut beneath the tracks. He was losing it.
Smith was just about to give up when he heard the familiar horn of a squad car. He ran through the tunnel and into a scene strobed by blue lights: the tracks curving away to his left, garbage loose on the street and sidewalk, and a squad car pulled sideways to block the path of the Buick, which had finally pulled over.
Not that there was an actual list. And not that there were many white cops who did not rank high. Otherwise, white cops had avoided the colored neighborhoods. Dunlow, however, seemed to feel rather at home here, though the residents did not feel nearly so warmly toward him.
He was the more diplomatic of the two, a notion Smith did not like to acknowledge. Even if he knew it to be true. Dunlow seemed to look at the driver longer than necessary before speaking. Perhaps he thought this was intimidating. The days when his bulk had been mostly muscle were gone, but he was still a man accustomed to cutting quite a wake. Now he had to work with them. He walked up beside Rakestraw and leaned into his ear.
If Rakestraw was offended at the proximity, he did not show it. He likely would prove to be as much of a bastard as Dunlow once they got to know him. She fled on foot, at the corner of Hilliard and Pittman. It just happened a minute ago. Dunlow glared at Boggs. He extended the paperwork to Rakestraw, who walked back to their car to call in the information.
Smith was dying to say something, Boggs could tell, but was holding himself back. The victim was gone, sure, but a crime is a crime. Boggs opened his mouth. He tried to choose his words carefully. We Have No Bananas! Boggs held the look for a moment, hoping that he was passing on silent messages but knowing, despite all his effort and anger, that those messages would not be received. The song was getting louder. Boggs and Smith walked away. The flashing blues painted the top of an eastbound freight train on the crossing.
Boggs spat on the ground. A cockroach half as long as his shoe scuttled across the sidewalk. Boggs would not take that bet. A six-year-old boy named Horace was three blocks from his house when he saw the lady in the yellow dress running. Then why did he think she was pretty? He would wonder that, later, when thinking back to this moment. He was walking alone late at night because his mother had woken him up and commanded him to. She was very sick and needed the doctor.
He had to hurry, for her sake and because if he took too long, he might forget the directions. Horace watched her as he passed, and she must have heard him because she turned and looked at him. He walked on. She stopped knocking. At the next corner, he looked both ways to cross the street. Then he decided to turn around and see what that lady was up to. He looked both ways to cross again. This time a car was coming, so he waited. The car pulled up to the curb, right where Horace was standing. A thin white man walked up to him, a white man in a light gray suit.
What are you doing out at this hour? Horace mumbled something about his mother. His eyes were very blue. His hat matched his suit.
Now he felt mostly scared. Like he was very interested in Horace. Now, I have another question for you, son. Have you seen a colored lady out here tonight, with long hair? In a yellow dress? The man smiled. His teeth were like the drawing in a magazine. What were they talking about?