This week’s guest, Thomas Mullen, is the author of Darktown. Set in Atlanta in 1948, this mystery and historical novel tells the story of the city’s first African-American police officers. NPR named Darktown its Book of the Year.
Now Officers Boggs, Smith, and Rakestraw are back in the sequel, Lightning Men. In Lightning Men, two years have passed, but life hasn’t gotten much easier for the men of the APD. They are dealing with rival groups of white supremacists, the Ku Klux Klan and the Columbians. Further blurring the lines are their family members of these officers who have opposing interests in black families moving into Atlanta neighborhoods that were previously occupied by whites only.
Sony Pictures has optioned the rights to Darktown. Jamie Foxx has signed on to executive-produce the TV show version. Thomas gives us an update on that process and shares the best piece of advice he received about the roller coaster ride of being a writer.
In this 2016 article, Thomas Mullen writes about the true story that inspired him to write Darktown. He also explores what his moving to the South means for him as a writer. “Black in Blue: Atlanta’s First African American Police Officers Were Vanguards of the Civil Rights Movement,” Atlanta magazine.
Books Mentioned in This Episode