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Lightning Men (Darktown, #2)
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Group Read - Lightning Men > Group Read - Lightning Men chaps 1-10 Spoilers welcome

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message 1: by Ann (new) - rated it 4 stars

Ann (annrumsey) | 14606 comments Chapters 1-10 plus the prologue - Spoilers welcome.
If the first to post, please briefly summarize to guide the discussion.


message 2: by Ann (new) - rated it 4 stars

Ann (annrumsey) | 14606 comments Prologue Georgia State Prison
Jeremiah was just released with 75 cents, papers and directions to the Reidsville Train station. Through pure good luck and chance a fire in town distracted the police officers who would have rearrested him for vagrancy before he made it on the train; then a second officer suffers a heart attack before his next opportunity for rearrest. Reverend Odell (a good Samaritan) gives him $5 for a bus and $5 insurance against another vagrancy charge in Atlanta. Actually getting out of town after release from prison is not likely for a black man in this era.


message 3: by Ann (new) - rated it 4 stars

Ann (annrumsey) | 14606 comments Chapter one
Officer Lucius Boggs and Tommy Smith, Negro police officers in Atlanta with little power and almost no support attempt to arrest moonshiner and marijuana dealers in Darktown one late night. Shots are fired and one suspect is killed by another suspect.
We are reintroduced to the restrictions on the ten Black officers who are part of an experiment in policing.


Sandi (sandin954) | 1215 comments Chapter 2
Officer Denny Rakestraw and his new and somewhat improved partner Parker are called to the train station where a man from the North refuses to wait for his train in the colored waiting room. Rake talks him down and avoids a riot but when his partner comments on how this seem to be happening more often Rake does not want to engage.

Chapter 3
Rake's brother in law Dale along with a few other friends and fellow Klan types are driving to the country to teach a man a lesson. Dale was asked by a stranger who knew the secret handshake to give them a hand. Dale had agreed because he thought then the other group would help with the problem of the blacks moving into white neighborhoods in Atlanta. A couple of the guys bail though when they find out it is a white man and the whole operation goes pear shaped when a bar maid starts shooting at them. Dale loses his hood while escaping and they leave the victim badly beaten and one of the Klan types behind dead.

Chapter 4
Smith and Boggs hear screaming while on patrol and find the man who gave them the tip about the drug/shine drop shot to death.

Chapter 5
Dale visits Rake and tells him he is in trouble and relates the whole sorry tale. Rake is angry but agrees to help Dale for his sister's sake.

Chapter 6
Boggs and Julia make a big announcement at his family's house but news of their impending nuptials does not go over very well. After walking Julia home, Boggs runs into a strange character, a black man who swears he is white, who lets him know that he saw Thunder Malley leaving the scene of the murder of the informant.

Chapter 7
Rake tries to get some information on the incident Dale was involved in but the county sheriff is tight lipped. Rake drives to hospital and meets the victim, a banker who is also a member of the Klan to "keep up appearances" and has no idea why he was targeted. Back home Rake finds a "Zoned as a White Community" flyer taped under a stop sign.

Chapter 8
Boggs and Smith get some information on Thunder Malley from a local boxer and find out there is a turf war between Malley and a newcomer named Quentin Neale, known as Q. Malley has protection from white cops but Q is trying to muscle in and with blacks moving to white neighborhoods everything is in a state of flux.

Chapter 9
Rake and Parker are working the night shift and Rake asks Parker, who is a member of the Atlanta Klan, if he knows anything about the beating of the banker. Parker says no and that he is not about to spy on the Klan.

Chapter 10
Smith visits his sister/cousin at her new home in a formerly white neighborhood. A brick has been thrown through the window. Smith asks her husband, who works at a club, about drug use and if Thunder is extorting the club for protection.


Sandi (sandin954) | 1215 comments A good beginning. I thought the author did a good job reintroducing the characters while getting the plot for this book established. Was glad to read that Boggs and Julia are still together and am pretty caught up in both story lines though I think Rake is being a bit stupid trying to help Dale.


message 6: by Ann (new) - rated it 4 stars

Ann (annrumsey) | 14606 comments Sandi: Thank you so much for picking up the chapter summaries. I have had almost zero print reading time and hated that I couldn't get back to reading yet. I am still just starting chapter two and am eager to get back to it.


Sandi (sandin954) | 1215 comments Ann wrote: "Sandi: Thank you so much for picking up the chapter summaries. I have had almost zero print reading time and hated that I couldn't get back to reading yet. I am still just starting chapter two and ..."

No problem. I am actually reading the print version so thought I would lend a hand. Hopefully you have some more time to read soon.


Russ | 330 comments Ann wrote: "Prologue Georgia State Prison
Jeremiah was just released with 75 cents, papers and directions to the Reidsville Train station. Through pure good luck and chance a fire in town distracted the police..."


I didn't care for the purple prose of the first few pages. But the rest of the prologue was better/informative as to post-incarceration discrimination.


Russ | 330 comments Sandi wrote: "A good beginning. I thought the author did a good job reintroducing the characters while getting the plot for this book established. Was glad to read that Boggs and Julia are still together and am ..."

I agree about the good beginning, Sandi, and thanks for the summaries.

For some reason the neighborhood housing segregation storyline isn't all that thrilling to me. But I'm enjoying the moonshining story, the updates on the black police officers and on Rakestraw (who seems somewhat friendlier than in book 1?), and the Klan assault on the white banker.


message 10: by Ann (new) - rated it 4 stars

Ann (annrumsey) | 14606 comments I just finished chapter ten tonight; and am glad to get back to the book again.
I agree Sandi, the reintroduction of the characters has been well done. I had recalled I liked Rake’s more sympathetic attitude from the last book and was interested to get the backstory about his German mother’s influence on his more tolerant general manner towards people of color and his dislike of discrimination stemming from her experience and the teaching of both his parents.
The moral conflicts between those who join with a Klan group “just to get along” and think of it more like a lodge group than a vigilante group and the hard core members is suggested; but the idea that one third of the Atlanta police force are Klan members is still chilling.


message 11: by Ann (new) - rated it 4 stars

Ann (annrumsey) | 14606 comments Russ: I thought something similar about the different cases the black police officers are investigating in this book compared to the last when the mystery of a homicide and missing woman was immediately compelling and this book where the build-up to a case(s) for investigation is more subtle.
It is appropriate in my mind that I am reading of this earlier time of great struggle again decades later around MLK Day as we remember Martin Luther King Jr and his legacy and how far some things have changed while others have not changed enough.


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