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On sale

13th September 2016

Price: £8.99

CWA daggers: Endeavour Historical Dagger, 2017

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Selected: ebook / ISBN-13: 9780349142081

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‘A brilliant blending of crime, mystery, and American history. Terrific entertainment’
Stephen King

Darktown is a relentlessly gripping, highly intelligent crime novel set in Atlanta in 1948, following the city’s first black police force investigating a brutal murder against all the odds.

‘Crime fiction that melds an intense plot with fully realized characters’
Daily Mail

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.


Sunday Times
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
Publishers Weekly
This page-turner reads like the best of James Ellroy
Crime Review
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.
Weekend Sport
A hard-boiled masterpiece . . brutal, harrowing, full of anger yet atmospheric, compelling and layered with hope. A hard as nails gem.
With a masterly sense of place, it shines a light on an uncomfortable period of American race relations which mirrors the struggles it still faces today, making it both shocking and deeply relevant
Daily Mail
A complicated crime fiction that melds an intense plot with fully realized characters
Irish Independent
A gritty, beautifully written police procedural doubling as a searing indictment of the racial tensions that then and now bedevil American society
Ken Follett
Library Journal
Mullen is skilled at bringing the past to life, both socially and visually . . . fans of well-written literary thrillers will want this expert example
Morning Star
Darktown is also immensely successful as both a thriller and a historical novel
Stephen King
A brilliant blending of crime, mystery, and American history. Terrific entertainment.
Marcel Berlins, The Times
A terrific story that raises issues that have not vanished.
Washington Post
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
Fascinating, grim and unsettling, this is a story of violent and ingrained racism, political corruption, conspiracy and almost unbearable psychological pressure
AD Miller, The Economist
A fine, unflinching example of the increasingly widespread use of crime fiction to explore social issues; its plot is gripping
North and South Magazine
Sudden violence and a seeping sense of unease are leavened with glimpses of light; Darktown feels like a state of mind as much as a place, fighting for better times to come.
Associated Press
Gripping . . . melds an intense plot with fully realised characters.
Charles Frazier, author of Cold Mountain
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
Dreda Say Mitchell
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
New York 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.
Extremely evocative in bringing the pre-civil rights South to life
Attica Locke, author of Black Water Rising
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.
O Magazine
A novel that couldn't be timelier.