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Darktown: A Novel by Thomas Mullen
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Darktown: A Novel (original 2016; edition 2016)

by Thomas Mullen (Author)

Series: Darktown (1)

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3373149,322 (4)106
Member:alluvia
Title:Darktown: A Novel
Authors:Thomas Mullen (Author)
Info:Atria / 37 INK (2016), 384 pages
Collections:Read 2015
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Darktown by Thomas Mullen (2016)

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Showing 1-5 of 31 (next | show all)
This is such a great powerful read. On one hand you feel like going into the book and start punching every bigot you see since they’re such awful hateful people. Yet on the other hand, you feel for Boggs and Smith. They’re trying so hard to elevate themselves and make everything a better place for the community and pretty much for their race. Yet they’re non stop met with opposition from both sides and it’s disheartening to see yet the most awful thing about all of this is, this all happened in the last century. It’s mind blowing and horrible how humans are but it’s a reality we all must know and be aware of.

The plot itself was very interesting and the pace is steady. There’s plenty of characters to read about and the supporting characters gives the story plenty of substance. The emotions and tensions are dutifully felt in the book and you can only read on with the feeling of hopelessness as Boggs and Smith attempt to try and do their jobs as best as they can but they’re thwarted at every turn. It’s amazing they stick with the job, and admirable because of the amazing amount of strength and grit they display to go through all the obstacles they face while trying to do their investigation.

The plot was also good at showing both sides of the story. Besides Boggs and Smith you also have Rakestraw who seems more moderate thinking than the rest of the characters, his behavior is certainly different and he tries to be understanding - however still maintaining his superiority mentality. It’s a start I suppose to eradicate this kind of behavior in a character but you can’t help but feel frustrated as this type of hatred and belief that is so deeply ingrained in everything; in society, thinking, in life. It’s horrible to see and to think this type of behavior still persists in other forms and methods.

Definitely recommend this read despite the awful things some characters do in the book. It’s eye opening and gripping read. It will elicit powerful emotions but it’s accurate and detailed. No sugar coating here but the truth. Worth the read. ( )
  sensitivemuse | May 16, 2019 |
It's 1948 and the City of Atlanta has just sworn in its first black police officers. Their operations are strictly controlled and restricted: they are there to police the black population of Atlanta only and have no jurisdiction at all over any any white people. With outright hostility from the white officers on the force, they are not even allowed to set foot in the Police Headquarters but are sidelined to the damp basement of the YMCA. Any requests for information or reports must be channelled through their white sergeant.

Lucius Boggs and Tommy Smith are patrolling their beat at midnight when they come across a car which had driven into, and knocked over, a lamp-post. They have no jurisdiction against the drunken driver, who is white, so they phone for a squad car to make an arrest when the driver flees the scene. A black girl in the passenger seat of the car had seemed distressed, but had disappeared by the time that the squad car had caught up with the driver, only to reappear again, very much dead and clearly murdered, some days later. But why did the officers in squad car driven by Dunlow, one of those most opposed to the introduction of the black officers, not even give the car driver a ticket. And why is Boggs's sergeant McInnis rewriting his reports to remove all mention of the driver, identified as an ex-policeman called Underhill. The police department certainly isn't interested in discovering who really killed the young woman, so Boggs and Smith start to do a little detective work on their own...

What drew me into this book was its historical setting and the depiction of the huge difficulties faced by Boggs and Smith just trying to do their job. I'm assuming that there is a reasonable degree of historical accuracy (someone more knowledgeable please correct me if there isn't), and of course I knew that the American South was segregated, but even so I found the level of segregation and racism really shocking... ( )
  SandDune | Mar 10, 2019 |
It turned out to be very different from what I normally read. Personally, it bothered me because I grew up in the 60's when racial issues were constant. However, the writing is great, and I applaud the author for what I felt was very candid information from that time frame. ( )
  ohgranny | Mar 3, 2019 |
After WWII, officials in Atlanta deigned to allow eight black men to become policemen (beat cops) on the force, a first for the city. Well, under certain conditions that is: they were only allowed to serve in the black areas of the city, they needed to report to a crudely set up station in the Y and were never to set foot in the actual police station which was limited to whites only, and they couldn’t actually investigate any crimes. It is under these conditions that we meet rookie policemen Lucius Boggs and Thomas White when the narrative begins.

It quickly becomes apparent that there is a monumental amount of graft, corruption and outright murder going on among Atlanta’s finest and the upstanding black rookies are disturbed enough by the death of a young black woman to ignore the edicts of those in charge and look into the crime in front of them even though that poses an enormous risk to them personally.

I listened to this on audio and the reader, Andre Holland, a black actor, was pitch perfect and lent a dramatic authenticity to the narrative that made it all the more enjoyable. But he had fabulous material to work with. This was an elegant police procedural that highlighted the inherent racism in the city. On the one hand I was outraged and on the other found the story itself immensely compelling and satisfying. I’m looking forward to the next book in the series. Highly recommended. ( )
  brenzi | Jan 3, 2019 |
Loved it - made me angry and sad ( )
  decaturmamaof2 | Nov 28, 2018 |
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"I must tell you, it was not easy for me to raise my right hand and say, 'I, Willard Strickland, a Negro, do solemnly swear to perform the duties of a Negro policeman.'"

--Officer Willard Strickland, Atlanta Police Department, Retired, in a 1977 speech recalling his 1948 induction as one of the city's first eight African American officers.
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For Jenny
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It was nearing midnight when one of the new lampposts on Auburn Avenue achieved the unfortunate fate of being the first to be hit by a car.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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"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"--Amazon.com.… (more)

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