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Lightning Men

(Darktown #2)

by
4.11  ·  Rating details ·  1,079 ratings  ·  210 reviews
From the acclaimed author of The Last Town on Earth comes the gripping follow-up to Darktown, a “combustible procedural that will knock the wind out of you” (The New York Times).

Officer Denny Rakestraw, “Negro Officers” Lucius Boggs and Tommy Smith, and Sergeant McInnis have their hands full in an overcrowded and rapidly changing Atlanta. It’s 1950 and color lines are shif
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Hardcover, 384 pages
Published September 12th 2017 by Atria / 37 INK
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Peter Only if you want the historical context in which Lightning Men is set. The book is stand alone. However having said that, the historical context is…moreOnly if you want the historical context in which Lightning Men is set. The book is stand alone. However having said that, the historical context is extremely interesting and I am glad that I read Darktown first.(less)

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4.11  · 
Rating details
 ·  1,079 ratings  ·  210 reviews


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Chelsea Humphrey
Jul 15, 2017 rated it really liked it
Could there be a more timely fictional story than this? I really don't think so, and it was a bit surreal to be in the midst of 1950's racist America while the Charlottesville news coverage was ticking away in the background. Up front, I'd like to state that I abhor racism in all it's forms; if it bothers you that I value all life as equal I encourage you to unfollow this account. Books with content addressing racism are tricky; on the one hand the issue needs to be discussed in depth to push pr ...more
James Thane
Jun 09, 2018 rated it really liked it
This is an excellent sequel to Darktown, which was one of my favorite books from 2016. Set in 1950, it continues to follow the experiences of the first African-American police officers who were allowed to join the Atlanta, Georgia, P. D. Ten in number, they are assigned the daunting responsibility of patrolling all of the black areas of the city. They continue to be taunted by white officers, who refuse to accept them as "real" policemen, and are caught between white citizens who do not respect ...more
Liz
Oct 18, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition

I thought Darktown was one of the best books written in 2016, so I was excited to read the second book in the series. Once again, Mullen has done a superb job of painting a picture of 1950s Atlanta and its casual racism on all levels - legal, political and social. People actually thought segregation was “the natural order of things”. What's sad is how there now appear to be so many parallels with the present situation, right down to the fascist groups spreading their hate. In fact, the title ref
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Diane S ☔
Oct 04, 2017 rated it really liked it
Atlanta, 1950,s a few years after Mullens book, Darktown, and all the characters are back in force. Smith and Boggs are still only a few black officers on the force, with little power and little support. Color lines are beginning to blur a bit, and of course with the white population, this does not sit well. Embedded prejudices, the KKK, and Nazi supporters are out in force, the KKK more underground since an FBI investigation,but still working behind the scenes. Drugs and moonshine alcohol are c ...more
Carol
Nov 13, 2017 added it
Shelves: fiction, crime, series
The Hook - I could not wait to read the second installment of Thomas Mullen’s Darktown, a crime procedural featuring the first “colored” police force in Atlanta in the 50’s.

The Line - ” He tried to walk a moral path, yet it was littered with the bodies of his good deeds—and too many other bodies.“

The Sinker - When we were first married my husband often accused me of being a rather “black and white” person when it came to my views on issues. If I read Lightning Men and did not consider the grays
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Erin
Lightning Men is the second book in the fantastic and amazing Darktown series, which focuses on lives of Lucius Boggs and Tommy Smith two of Atlanta's first black police officers. The Darktown series perfectly marries the research of historical information with the absorbing plotlines of a crime thriller. Lightning Men gives us a up close and personal look at racism dressed up as the white middle classes concern over a changing nation(sound familiar?). The circumstances faced by black people in ...more
Char (Tacky Genre Buff)
Atlanta in 1950 was a crowded place. The war was over and housing was scarce. Racial tensions were brewing, neighborhood lines were being redrawn, and not everyone was happy about that. Even the fact that black policemen now served in the Negro areas of Atlanta didn't mean these officers had the respect of white officers nor that of the residents. When a white man gets beaten down by the Klan and then a Negro beaten down a few days later, tensions threaten to erupt. What happens next? You'll hav ...more
Trish
Thomas Mullen’s Darktown series, about the first black policemen in Atlanta’s police force, is about race but it is also about the institution of policing. We are seeing how corruption and discrimination can take hold, and we ask ourselves what is the best way to combat the ever-widening spiral of deceit. We interrogate our own moral grounding and question whether we would be able to withstand the social and economic pressure put to bear to get us to go along on controversial arrests or worse.

I
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Tucker
Sep 24, 2017 rated it really liked it
“Lightning Men “ is an exceptional combination of a character driven police procedural with a very realistic and disturbing view of policing in the black community in the 1950’s. Although the story is fiction, the events described ring with truth, and decades later that racism, discrimination, and violence remain all too present. Yes, we’ve had a black president, but innocent black men and women are still being brutalized and gunned down by police officers. The suspense and remarkable writing wi ...more
Josh
May 22, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The follow-up to Darktown continues to explore the themes prevalent in its predecessor with racism and an unjust criminal system at the forefront of a broad socio-economic 1950's period piece.

This time round, the crime element comes secondary to the troubles the 'black' police officers have to endure in a primarily 'white' Atlanta police force in the 1950's. Author Thomas Mullen once again goes to great lengths to recreate that feeling of oppression and suppression embedded in his crime fiction
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Brandon
Nov 16, 2017 rated it really liked it
LIGHTNING MEN picks up two years after the events of DARKTOWN as those left standing continue with their lives in 1950s Atlanta.

Officer Denny “Rake” Rakestraw’s neighborhood – an implied “whites only” neighborhood – is beginning to see the arrival of several black families. A group of residents, including Denny’s wife Cassie, pool their money together in an effort to buy out these new homeowners, however, a separate group has adopted a different approach – post hateful signs showing the SS Nazi
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Judy Collins
The 30 Best Books of 2017

5 Stars + From the acclaimed author, Thomas Mullen who introduced readers to the hit, Darktown landing on my Top Books of 2016 —racial integration of Atlanta’s police department in 1948 — with an explosive multi-layered complex follow up: LIGHTNING MEN.

Racial violence and corruption continue in 1950’s Atlanta, with African-American police officers, Boggs and Smith.

As they say in the South, these two find themselves in a "heap of trouble.” (Among others).

“Hot At
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HBalikov
Feb 05, 2019 rated it liked it
Lucius Boggs and Tommy Smith are Atlanta Police Officers and have been since 1948. Well, that’s not completely true. Boggs and Smith are “Negro Officers,” as special group of ten who have been recruited to police “Darktown.”

Thomas Rakestraw is a white Atlanta cop who, in Darktown (book #1), was partnered with a deeply prejudiced and corrupt cop. His encounters with Boggs and Smith are generally well-meaning but awkward, though the fact that they all served in World War II gives them respect for
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Phillip III
Sep 21, 2017 rated it it was amazing
LIGHTNING MEN picks up where DARKTOWN left off, and author Thomas Mullen doesn't miss a beat! The story unfolds in Atlanta, Georgia, pre-civil rights, Jim Crow Laws in effect. The Democrats are still bitter, and vengeful over slaves being freed. However, some progress has been made. A recent change had been made, and eight (8) black men were graduated onto the Atlanta Police Force. The new officers wear badges, carry guns . . . but their reach is very limited.

The black officers are not allowed i
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Laurie • The Baking Bookworm
Disclaimer: My sincere thanks to Atria Books for providing me with a complimentary copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.

4.5 stars -- Lightning Men picks up two years after Darktown, the first book in the series, left off. Once again, Mullen brings his readers into the gritty streets of post-WWII Atlanta with its social and political issues, racial intolerance, corruption and outright brutality that continues to be the status quo for so many. Mullen doesn't shy away from these emoti
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Tonstant Weader
Jul 31, 2017 rated it really liked it
Lightning Men is the second in Thomas Mullen’s Darktown historical mystery series imagining what it may have been like for Atlanta’s first Black police officers. Lucius Boggs and Tommy Smith are partners policing Darktown, a difficult task when corrupt White police officers are partnering with drug traffickers. Hated by their fellow officers, many of whom are members of the Klan, they walk a very careful line to protect their community.

Denny Rakestraw is a White officer who refuses to join the K
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Skip
Jan 18, 2018 rated it really liked it
Like its predecessor Darktown, this book is a very good period piece, capturing raw racial relations in Atlanta in the 1950's. The few black officers in APD are trying to enforce standards in the black communities, with little to no support from their white brethren. Officers Boggs and Smith are trying to eliminate illegal alcohol and drugs, facing a myriad of powerful foes, such as than they’d expected. Meanwhile, black families are beginning to move into all white neighborhoods with increasing ...more
Annie ~ The Misstery
A year ago, I read and enjoyed Darktown by Thomas Mullen. It was a great book dealing with a delicate topic and I thought it was handled very well. When I learnt that there was a sequel coming soon, I immediately decided I wanted to read it. For those who haven’t read Darktown, this can be perfectly read as a standalone. I didn’t remember a lot of details, but it wasn’t necessary. And I liked Lightning Men even better.

This novel, like Darktown, tells the story of two young men who are amongst th
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Roman Clodia
Darktown was a 5 star book for me, this sequel 3 stars. Mullen again manages to articulate scenarios of segregation and racialised hatred which incense, but overall this is more community soap opera than the tauter first book.

Mingling a love triangle for Boggs, with a KKK/Neo-Nazi plot, drug gangs and territory wars, plus shifting demographics as an all-white neighbourhood is forced to allow in a few black families means there is no overriding narrative drive. The story ambles between stories, c
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Bill Lynas
Mar 18, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Thomas Mullen's latest novel, set in 1950 Atlanta, follows on from his previous novel Darktown. However, you don't have to know Darktown to enjoy this excellent tale of Atlanta's first black police officers. This is not just a crime story; it is far more a drama played out with great characters, & every single chapter has something to keep the reader engrossed.
There are so many good things that I can't begin to describe them. Mullen mixes fact & fiction & I found the story made me ha
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Sam (Clues and Reviews)
Sep 24, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Last year, I read Thomas Mullen’s “buzzed about” publication, Darktown, and I was absolutely blown away. So, I was extremely excited to read its follow up, Lightning Men. This book took me forever to get through. It had nothing to do with the writing (it is phenomenal) or the plot (it is completely captivating). Instead, I found myself struggling due to the completely pertinent nature of the text. It made me completely sick to my stomach to think that a plot, highlighting racial in-equality and ...more
Tom Mathews
Thomas Mullen’s second foray into the world of Atlanta’s first negro police officers is as good as the first. When I read Darktown, (see my review here). I was very impressed by the seriousness with which Mullen addressed the difficulties that these brave men faced.

Lightning Men takes place a few years later, in the early 1950s, as the Korean War is getting under way. Moonshiners, their business damaged by the end of prohibition, have taken to supplementing their income with marijuana which has
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debra
Jan 11, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Really enjoyed this one. Char,Diane S, Carol, Chelsea, Liz will explain why in their reviews. ; ))
Maxine
Feb 10, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Smith and Boggs, two of the first black police officers in post-war 1950 racially charged Atlanta are trying to keep the peace in the over-crowded, poverty-stricken, and crime-riddled black quarters called Darktown by the white officers. But, in the white neighbourhood of Hanford park, tensions have been inflamed by the purchase of homes by three black families, one of them Smith’s sister and her husband. Although they have no jurisdiction, they find themselves more and more involved since it is ...more
Stacia
Jan 20, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2018, north-america
Mullen weaves a complex tale of many overlapping & intersecting storylines. I like it very much for that because instead of one linear case, there are many things going on. Interestingly, while the Lightning Men are called out in the title (remnants of Nazism who think the Ku Klux Klan are too soft), the Lightning Men are sort-of the least part of the tale. I did get a little bit bogged down in the story about halfway through & ended up putting the book down for quite a few days before p ...more
Lori L (She Treads Softly)
Sep 17, 2017 rated it really liked it
Lightning Men by Thomas Mullen is a highly recommended sequel to Darktown. This historical fiction crime novel is set during the racial tensions of the 1950's South. In an overcrowded and rapidly changing Atlanta, the segregated city is patrolled by a segregated police force. It is two years since Officer Denny Rakestraw and "Negro Officers" Lucius Boggs and Tommy Smith were first introduced inLightning Men. The three officers are trying to keep the peace amidst volatile situations.

Officer Denny
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Sandi
Jan 12, 2018 rated it really liked it
Another excellent historical crime novel from the author of Darktown. Great atmosphere, plotting, and characters.
James
Aug 08, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: crime, fiction
Clever historical crime drama. The crime story is well done but the real story are the black policeman breaking racial barriers in 1950s Atlanta. The author is unsparing in his depiction of racial injustices big and small that make for engrossing and uncomfortable reading.
Barbara
Dec 09, 2017 rated it really liked it
“Lightning Men” is the follow up novel to Thomas Mullen’s “Darktown”. As with “Darktown”, this is both a mystery and historical fiction novel set in 1950’s Atlanta when the Ku Klux Klan was rampant and discrimination was assumed.

Main characters Lucius Boggs, Tommy Smith, Sergeant McInnis, and Denny Rakestraw are back. Boggs and Smith are African-American police officers working the beat of Darktown, the segregated part of Atlanta for Blacks. Their Sergeant, McInnis is white and fights the injust
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Bibliophile
Oct 25, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Loved Darktown and was thrilled to be reunited with Boggs, Smith and Rake. They all go through some major changes and I'm very curious to see what they'll get up to in the next book (there has to be a next book). Excellent writing, believeable character development, tension you could cut with a knife. Recommended for anyone who enjoys quality crime fiction.
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Thomas Mullen is the author of Darktown, an NPR Best Book of the Year, which has been shortlisted for the Los Angeles Times Book Prize, the Southern Book Prize, the Indies Choice Book Award, has been nominated for two Crime Writers Assocation Dagger Awards, and is being developed for television by Sony Pictures with executive producer Jamie Foxx; The Last Town on Earth, which was named Best Debut ...more

Other books in the series

Darktown (2 books)
  • Darktown (Darktown, #1)
“He even assembled coops for poultry, not unaware of the irony that he was a prisoner building a prison for lesser creatures.” 3 likes
“The Kluxers are about more than the color of skin. We are the moral authority.” 0 likes
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