Darktown is an appropriately named novel of historical fiction. Darktown was the name given to the African-American part of Atlanta where all the “dark” people were forced to live, and it was the part of town that had no street lights until the late 1940’s.
This meticulously researched and realistically written story is set in Atlanta, GA, during the same 1940’s time period when Atlanta hired the first small contingent of “Negro Police Officers.” Two of the main characters are among that small group who were allowed to patrol only the Darktown area, were not allowed to carry firearms, and had no power to arrest anyone. All they were empowered to do was call for a white officer, if needed. All the “Negro Officers” were subjected to the mocking and ridicule of their fellow (white) officers and were not even allowed to investigate crimes that were perpetrated in their own patrol area. The slogan “The city too busy to hate” was coined much later.
It is against this backdrop that the story of Boggs and Smith, who were Negro officer partners, is played out in a suspenseful, gritty and literary fashion. Darktown is a masterful tale with a history-based plot and excellent character development. Fans of Tom Mullen’s previous historically-based novels The Last Town on Earth and The Many Deaths of the Firefly Brothers will be very pleased.