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Responding to pressure from on high, the Atlanta Police Department is forced to hire its first black officers. It's a victory of sorts, though the newly minted policemen are met with deep hostility by their white peers, and their authority is limited: They can't arrest a suspect unless a white officer is present; they can't drive squad cars; they can't even enter the station through the front door.
When a black woman who was last seen in a car driven by a white man with connections to the APD turns up fatally beaten, no one seems to care except for Lucius and Boggs, two black cops from vastly different backgrounds, who risk their jobs, the trust the community has put in them, and even their own safety to investigate her death. When their efforts stall, they have to work alongside fellow officers who include the old-school cop Dunlow and his partner, Rakestraw, a young progressive who may or may not be willing to make allies across color lines.
Set in the postwar, pre-civil rights South, and evoking the socially resonant and morally complex crime novels of Dennis Lehane, George Pelecanos, and Walter Mosley, Darktown is a vivid, smart, intricately plotted crime saga that explores the issues of race, law enforcement, and the uneven scales of justice.
Customer ReviewsMost Helpful
By shelley on 12-13-17
EXCELLENT Historical Police Procedural
I purchased this book on sale and am so glad I did! I had recently found it and put it in my wishlist. This book was certainly worth the sale price but would have been worth the credit.
I won't do a recap of the book because I think there are enough reviews and the synopsis for that. After listening to this book I was inspired to compare facts vs fiction and did some reading of articles I found from that era. I won't say that I was surprised at the accuracy. I think if anything more saddened for what these 8 black officers (there really were eight experimental officers) went through. And with the KKK alive and well and active within the police department and the Jim Crowe laws enforcing segregation these men went out in uniforms of the police but they may as well have had toy guns with all the restrictions placed on them.
I thought this was an excellent historical police procedural and HIGHLY RECOMMEND this book. There is a second book in this series (Lightening Men) which I will definitely be listening to next.
Narration by Andre Holland was excellent.
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12 of 13 people found this review helpful
By L. O. Pardue on 10-05-16
1948 Atlanta Police Department
This is a book I highly recommend -- with reservations. It is not an easy listen. This is 1948 Atlanta Police Department where there is an "experiment" to utilize 8 black policemen that can only work in certain areas of Atlanta known as Darktown. The black policemen cannot have patrol cars, cannot arrest white people and must call out white officers whenever suspects are rounded up. As bad as that is, it gets worse with the extreme racism woven throughout the story. Jim Crowe is in full effect and civil rights are in the earliest stage. I don't doubt any of the specifics, and it is so painful and infuriating to know this is our history. What kept me going was the strong plot and writing of Thomas Mullen. The narrator, Andre Holland, was the perfect voice for this story. Holland brought a calming voice when extreme violence and situation were proceeding.
"Darktown" is a clever story that provides powerful history and a good mystery and police procedural. This is a book I would love to see as a movie.
11 of 13 people found this review helpful