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.
I was given an ARC by Netgalley in exchange for a fair and honest review.
This story, straight from the start is written in such a rich way that it just draws you right in. The characters are well rounded and believable (even the nasty ones).
The accuracy of the way people of colour were treated in this time period is well portrayed. Although I know it is only a work of fiction, this part of the book does leave me with a rather bad taste in my mouth.
The story is well constructed and keeps you guessing. The ebb and flow between Rakestraw and Bogg’s sides of the story worked really well and the plot certainly kept me entertained.
A five out of five star read.
I am profoundly grateful to Netgalley and Little Brown Book Group UK for my copy.