Rated 5 of 5 stars
Darktown by Thomas Mullen put me into a dizzying head spin and a full blown emotional rollercoaster ride. The first 20 pages had me so seething mad that I had to realize that it was a story of fiction and I should probably calm down. I wasn’t going to find an “Officer Dunlow” in my town…well, not by that name anyway. The story gripped me from the very beginning and never let me go. I was emotionally on the edge of my seat for hours and felt real, palpable tension while reading this book.
So let’s get on with the synopsis. In Atlanta, the first black police officers are given badges, guns, training and a bunch of obstacles to overcome, racism being one of the tallest hurdles. The book is set in the 40’s and it shows the state of race relations to full scale with racial slurs, discrimination and the constant brow beating of black and brown people in a southern state. As a reader, this will boil you. You will hate what is happening and the general climate of the time….which is a good thing. If you don’t feel sickened, then you probably have racism, bigotry or just a general problem with having sympathy or empathy.
Anyway, two of the eight officers are walking their beat in Darktown (the slang term for the all black neighborhood) when they see a white man crash into a light pole, drunken at the wheel. After stopping him, they find a young black girl in the passenger side, clearly beaten but not asking for help. The man drives off when he realizes he was pulled over by cops that had no real power to arrest him. Later, they find the young girl dead. This spawns so many storylines in this book, you’ll be wondering who did what and why for most of the story. Excellent tension, suspense and overall unfolding of a mystery.
In the end, the story is gratifying. It may not be ideal but it definitely wraps up all the storylines and gives credibility to things that happened earlier in the story. I enjoyed every second of this story as a reader and hated/loathed/despised many of the characters (which is a sign of a powerful writer). This story will stay with me for a very long time. Raging Book Reviews Highly Recommended!
*Book was purchased with my own money. Grab a $7 copy of your own with free shipping on Book Depository using my affiliate link HERE. (I get a couple cents for sending you, so thanks for keeping the blog running….)