Regular price: $22.67

Membership details Membership details
  • A 30-day trial plus your first audiobook, free.
  • 1 credit/month after trial – good for any book, any price.
  • Easy exchanges – swap any book you don’t love.
  • Keep your audiobooks, even if you cancel.
  • After your trial, Audible is just $14.95/month.
OR
In Cart

Publisher's Summary

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 shifting and racial tensions are simmering. Black families - including Smith's sister and brother-in-law - are moving into Rake's formerly all-white neighborhood, leading some residents to raise money to buy them out while others advocate a more violent solution. Rake's brother-in-law, Dale, a proud Klansman, launches a scheme to rally his fellow Kluxers to save their neighborhood. When those efforts spiral out of control and leave a man dead, Rake is forced to choose between loyalty to family and the law.

He isn't the only one with family troubles. Boggs has outraged his preacher father by courting a domestic, and now her ex-boyfriend has been released from prison. As Boggs, Smith, and their all-black precinct contend with violent drug dealers fighting for turf in new territory, their personal dramas draw them closer to the fires that threaten to consume Atlanta once again.

With echoes of James Ellroy and Denis Lehane, Mullen demonstrates in Lightning Men why he's celebrated for writing crime fiction "with a nimble sense of history...quick on its feet and vividly drawn" (Dallas Morning News).

©2017 Thomas Mullen (P)2017 Simon & Schuster Audio

More from the same

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

Overall

  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    31
  • 4 Stars
    23
  • 3 Stars
    1
  • 2 Stars
    0
  • 1 Stars
    0

Performance

  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    27
  • 4 Stars
    17
  • 3 Stars
    7
  • 2 Stars
    1
  • 1 Stars
    0

Story

  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    32
  • 4 Stars
    19
  • 3 Stars
    1
  • 2 Stars
    0
  • 1 Stars
    0
Sort by:
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars

A Little Too Much

Thomas Mullen certainly gives his readers the service they want with Lightning Men. Building off the previous novel, Darktown, Mullen goes deeper into the plight of Boggs and Smith and their careers as Atlanta’s first African-American police officers. He builds on the story of Officer Denny Rakestraw, a white officer who is not totally opposed to the idea of black officers, but finds himself living in a transition town – white suburbia now threatened to become another Darktown. Mullen’s plot twists and turns with real estate deals, moonshine and marijuana, and tensions between the always-incompetent KKK and their threatening successors, the Colombians. All and this more is breached cover-to-cover in one of the very few times that the old adage once made famous by Sir Mick about too much never being enough is unfortunately not true as Lightning Men suffers from that dreaded curse of sequelitis.

You know, that stigmata is not entirely fair. Lightning Men is a compelling, well-written, and highly entertaining read. Mullen fleshes out 1950s Atlanta and presents the attitude of the city and the blatant bigotry throughout. Mullen digs deeper with his plot, tying various, complicated threads to key characters and letting the reader watch it all unfold. Yet, some of this plot is too obtuse. The map presented sprawls and rambles as long and as wide as Peachtree Street. Maybe Mullen binge watches Game of Thrones and as such, gives too much importance to the B-, C-, and D-story arcs, thus taking away the importance – and the very relevance – of the A-story. Crime novel readers don’t want a ramble down a shady lane in the sun. They want a punch to the gut. Hard punches. With a blow to the nose and a killer uppercut to knock you out. Lightning Men doesn’t have enough punches, but plenty of weaving and feints.

Lightning Men is a worthy follow-up and is successful in structuring, then embellishing, the characters’ arcs. However, too many new characters are introduced and with that comes a level of convenience in working the plot around these new characters and as a result, the story suffers.

Just a little. And just too much.

But not enough to keep me away from my next visit to Darktown.

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Excellent follow-up to Darktown

This is a complex and interesting novel/mystery The context is fascinating: the first African-American policemen in Atlanta in the 1940s and 1950s. The characters include black and white Atlantans from a variety of backgrounds. White neo-nazis (the lightning men), KKK-ers, black vets of WWII, white people trying to do the right thing; good policemen, and corrupt policemen. The women characters are complex as well. Thurgood Marshall has a cameo here! I wonder if he'll show up in the next one.

The narrator, Yahya Adul-Mateen, has a lovely, deep voice but unfortunately doesn't make any effort to distinguish one character from another. Sometimes I wasn't sure who was speaking. Maybe I've been spoiled by some of the great narrators I've heard here: the brilliant Gerard Doyle being my favorite but also Simon Vance, Davina Porter, and more.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Involved and entertaining!

Another quality entry in the series. Really like this series and the way Mullen delves into the social complexities of the time and how it affects the protagonist s both black and white. Mullen is adept at explaining Jim Crow practices in a succinct but clear way without the story lulling. Waiting patiently for the next entry!

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Great book!

You cannot beat when a book combines a great fictional story with a history lesson about the city you live in. Mullen creates engaging realistic characters. I hope there is more!!

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars

Darktown part 2.

Enjoy the development of characters and the history included ,which is revelant to the gentrification today. Boggs and Smith are in it again and this one has some intrigue. Just follow the story it will all come together for those who need less

0 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Even better than Darktown

Great story and historically eye opening. Narrators voice is mellifluous. As a northern white person I found a much greater understanding of 1950s Atlanta than any textbook could give me. I hope there are more books to come!

0 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars

Another Interesting Read

I just discovered this author and I really like his writing style. This is a really strong read.

0 of 1 people found this review helpful