Atlanta, 1948. In this city, all crime is black and white. On one side of the tracks are the rich, white neighbourhoods; on the other, Darktown, the African-American area guarded by the city's first black police force of only eight men. These cops are kept near-powerless by the authorities: they can't arrest white suspects; they can't drive a squad car; they must operate out of a dingy basement. When a poor black woman is killed in Darktown having been last seen in a car with a rich white man, no one seems to care except for Boggs and Smith, two black cops from vastly different backgrounds. Pressured from all sides, they will risk their jobs, the trust of their community and even their own lives to investigate her death. Their efforts bring them up against a brutal old-school cop, Dunlow, who has long run Darktown as his own turf - but Dunlow's idealistic young partner, Rakestraw, is a young progressive who may be willing to make allies across colour lines ...Soon to be a major TV series from Jamie Foxx and Sony Pictures Television.
Long-listed for CWA Gold Dagger for Fiction 2017 and CWA Endeavour Historical Dagger 2017.
Mullen blends the classic ingredients of det-fic noir with a well-researched and searing portrayal of pre-civil rights racial division. Magnificent and shocking Sunday Times One incendiary image ignites the next in this highly combustible procedural, set in the city's rigidly segregated black neighborhoods during the pre-civil-rights era and written with a ferocious passion that'll knock the wind out of you. New York Times A terrific story that raises issues that have not vanished. -- Marcel Berlins The Times From the very first page of Darktown, I was stunned, mesmerized, and instantly a huge fan of Tom Mullen. Beyond the history and the thrilling mystery, the book's soul lies in the burgeoning partnership (and dare I say friendship) at the center of the book. It's a reminder of the ties that cut across race in America. There is nothing I love more in a book than hope. Attica Locke, author of Black Water Rising A fine, unflinching example of the increasingly widespread use of crime fiction to explore social issues; its plot is gripping -- AD Miller The Economist 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, author of Cold Mountain I LOVED Darktown. It just grabbed and dragged me into such a brutal and little-known past. An ambitious and original tale of murder where the heat and brutality rise off the page in a cruel and divided city Dreda Say Mitchell Mullen is a wonderful architect of intersecting plotlines and unexpected answers ... Compelling works of fiction such as Mullen's walk a fine line between art that reminds us of horrors past and art that trades on them with pieces too unfinished to play with Washington Post A novel that couldn't be timelier. O Magazine Extremely evocative in bringing the pre-civil rights South to life Booklist This page-turner reads like the best of James Ellroy Publishers Weekly Mullen is skilled at bringing the past to life, both socially and visually ... fans of well-written literary thrillers will want this expert example Library Journal Gripping ... melds an intense plot with fully realised characters. Associated Press A hard-boiled masterpiece . . brutal, harrowing, full of anger yet atmospheric, compelling and layered with hope. A hard as nails gem. Weekend Sport A gritty, beautifully written police procedural doubling as a searing indictment of the racial tensions that then and now bedevil American society Irish Independent Darktown is also immensely successful as both a thriller and a historical novel Morning Star This socially resonant and morally complex literary thriller is a vivid, smart, intricately plotted saga exploring race, law enforcement, and the uneven scales of justice. It is a book to make you think. Crime Review
Thomas Mullen is the author of the crime novel Darktown. His book The Last Town on Earth was named Best Debut Novel of 2006 by USA TODAY. He was also awarded the James Fenimore Cooper Prize for excellence in historical fiction for The Many Deaths of the Firefly Brothers and The Revisionists. His works have been named to Year's Best lists by The Chicago Tribune and USA TODAY, among others. His stories and essays have been published in Grantland, Paste, and the Huffington Post, and his Atlanta Magazine true crime story about a novelist/con man won the City and Regional Magazine Award for Best Feature. He lives in Atlanta with his wife and sons.