Evoking the socially resonant crime series of Dennis Lehane and George Pelecanos, and the crusading cops of Olen Steinhauer and Martin Cruz Smith, DARKTOWN is « The Wire » meets « In the Heat of the Night »
by Thomas Mullen
37 INK (Atria Books), TBA
Agent: Writers House
In 1948, the city of Atlanta began hiring black police officers for the first time. However, operating out of the basement of a local YMCA, these eight officers were not able to arrest white people, not able to drive squad cars, not able to sit at the front of a bus, and not allowed to wear uniforms when testifying at trial. At the same time, they were hamstrung by the overwhelmingly white police department, half of whom were estimated to be members of the Ku Klux Klan.
Set in the pre-MLK Deep South, DARKTOWN is a riveting police procedural in which a team of two black cops—Boggs and Smith—investigate the brutal murder of a black woman. Boggs is the son of a reverend who grew up on well-to-do Auburn Avenue, while his partner, Smith, is an army vet from more rough-and-tumble beginnings.
As they pursue their case, evidence points toward an untouchable racist cop, Dunlow, whose partner, Rakestraw, is a young progressive who may or may not be willing to make allies across color lines. Among shady moonshiners and madams, race-driven beatings, and crooked lawmen, DARKTOWN is a smart, intricately plotted crime saga that interrogates issues of race-relations, friendship, and power. It’s a vivid depiction of a world on the cusp of great change—one that strongly resonates with today’s social issues.