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review 2017-09-18 22:16
Lightning Men
Lightning Men: A Novel - Thomas Mullen

Darktown #2

By:  Thomas Mullen 

ISBN: 9781501138799

Publisher: Atria 

Publication Date: 9/12/2017

Format: Hardcover 

My Rating: 5 Stars + 

 

From the acclaimed author, Thomas Mullen who introduced readers to the hit, Darktown landing on my Top Books of 2016 —racial integration of Atlanta’s police department in 1948 — with an explosive multi-layered complex follow-up: LIGHTNING MEN. 

Racial violence and corruption continue in 1950’s Atlanta, with African-American police officers, Boggs and Smith. 

As they say in the South, these two find themselves in a "heap of trouble.” (Among others). 

“Hot Atlanta” is not just sizzling. It is blistering. Fiery. Tensions and emotions run high. Loyalties are tested between family and law. Color lines are threatened. Moral lines are blurred. 

The second in the Darktown series, Mullen uses his hard-boiled crime, cop procedural, to explore post-WWII racism in the South. 

The highly anticipated character-driven LIGHTNING MEN is much more than just a crime-fictional thriller. It is infused with critical historical details and timely controversial subjects we face today.

“Any candid observer of American racial history must acknowledge that racism is highly adaptable.” – Michelle Alexander, The New Jim Crow 

Highly-charged, Mullen turns up the intensity with characters facing moral, family, social issues and compromises. 

Tensions rise. From racial prejudice, moonshining, drugs, greed, conspiracy, Klansmen, fascist Columbians, white supremacist, corruption, bigotry, violence, Jim Crow laws, preachers, shootouts, paybacks, fear, power, and segregated neighborhoods.

In Darktown, we met rookies: Officer Lucius Boggs and his partner, Tommy Smith. 

From different backgrounds, their office was housed in the basement of the Negro YMCA, a makeshift precinct. They were not even allowed to arrest white men, nor allowed to drive a squad car. They could not patrol outside of the Negro neighborhoods that constituted their beat. No respect and little support. 

Only ten black officers patrolled those thousands of souls. A third of Atlanta were black, yet they were crowded into only a fifth of the land. 

Boggs and Smith had not taken bribes; however, with two years on the force, it appeared half of the white officers took bribes, so how long would the Negro officers resist? 

They were tiring of their powerlessness. The son of a preacher, Boggs was all too familiar with the fallibility of men, even men with power. 

Denny Rakestraw (white) is distrusted by his fellow officers for his suspected role in the disappearance of his former partner, Lionel Dunlow. 

Rakestraw is not a racist but finds it difficult to fit in with his fellow white cops and work with the ten black cops. Neither side, fully trusts him. 

Denny’s problems increase when his Klansman brother-in-law, Dale Simpkins, gets involved in a plot to stop the influx of African-Americans into his neighborhood, Hanford Park. 

Some cops are part of the Klan. Will they accuse one of the richest men in Atlanta of selling moonshine and marijuana?

Boggs had come to respect McInnis over the last two years. He had stuck up for his charges during a few disputes with white officers. How far can he go to protect them? 

Boggs (preacher’s son) is dating Julie with a young son, Sage. Soon to be married. His family opposes the relationship since she is not of their social status. She has a secret past. She is intimidated by their prestigious family. 

When a black man, Jeremiah is released from prison after five years, things get personal. Boggs life gets complicated when he learns the connection. 

Two years earlier, Boggs came close to resigning his position and had second thoughts after a near-death experience. Now, he is unsure again.

Too many mistakes that weighed heavily on his soul. He is sure there would be more guilt and an awkward relationship with his partner. Can he remain as a cop? 

Events will lead each character to major soul-searching. Smith had crossed another line as well. He was afraid. 


. . . The Armor. The façade victims’ families typically wore when they needed to protect themselves or the memory of their loved ones. Folks who wore The Armor sometimes had secrets to hide. 

The Armor was firmly in place as they parried the officer’s attempts to learn more about the deceased. They wore The Armor to keep the cops from learning things. The secrets. . . 

The Armor was worn by the innocent, who had nothing to hide but their dignity, and they were so deeply offended to be questioned by these employees of the corrupt City of Atlanta, these paid enforcers of Jim Crow, that they refused to play along. They may be innocent, hurt, or protective. 

. . . “And lines are only ideas people dream up, to govern what should be possible, to keep you from moving toward the forbidden.”


Three policemen struggle. Each has an agenda and react in different ways to protect. Loyalties are tested. Family versus law. 

Can they continue to work with one hand tied behind their packs without the proper support to do their jobs? Will the latest emotional events, their actions, and tensions make them second guess their current careers? Will they continue to serve and make Atlanta a better city, or is it a useless effort? 

After violence and a shootout, will Hanford Park be transformed? Will the lines between white and black be blurred after the postwar crowding, pushing blacks into areas formerly considered whites-only (without violence)? 

From racial politics and struggles of history, Mullen does not miss a beat! 

The complex emotions of each character are portrayed in depth, making the characters jump off the page. Others threaten lives. Others protect. Struggles both interior and exterior. 

Complications. Affairs interrupted. Old scores settled. Blood feuds magnified. Pride. Costs were high. Greed. 

Hard-boiled. Explosive. Riveting. Timely! 

Love this enthralling series and looking forward to seeing what is in store next for Smith and Boggs. 

When reading of Boggs at his dad’s house for dinner with Julie, reminds me strongly of Greenleaf (a favorite show) and their preacher/family dinners. Heaven forbid, their children do not follow their well-laid controlled plans. 

Movie-worthy! For those who enjoy good crime fiction, and historical fiction as Mullen meticulously traces the civil rights movement through his well-written crime stories and cop procedurals, that involve "real" characters you come to care about. 

Fans of TV mini-series: Underground, Greenleaf and Queen Sugar will enjoy this intense series as well as Michael Connley’s Harry Bosch and Greg Iles' Penn Cage series. 

In addition to the early digital reading copy (thank you) provided by NetGalley and Atria, I also purchased the audiobook, narrated by Yahya Abdul-Mateen II – for an award-winning performance. Just finished. 

Move this series to the top of your list. If you reside in the South, this is a “must read.” Especially for those of us who found (find) Atlanta our home for many years. Another Southern winner! 

JDCMustReadBooks

****
Due to post-Irma, residing in South Florida with water damages, power outage, cell towers, and loss of internet for nine consecutive days; no gas, grocery, or mail service – late posting my review on pub day. Let's hope Maria does not pay us a visit. 

Yay! Today we have internet restored, power, cell towers, and mail service! Back in business. Ordered the hardcover copies of both DARKTOWN and LIGHTNING MEN for my personal library. So excited, they are out for delivery today, from Amazon! (Love the covers) Looking forward to receiving my copies. (Now, I have to figure out how to get the author to autograph) my copies. 

Busy catching up with posting reviews and my blog. Thanks everyone for your patience.
 
 
 

City on the verge of a race riot in ‘Darktown’ sequel


Thomas Mullen’s new novel examines brotherly hate  

By Tray Butler - For the AJC

 
 
 
 
Source: www.judithdcollinsconsulting.com/single-post/2017/04/19/Lightning-Men
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review 2017-09-05 01:52
eARC: Defending Hearts
Defending Hearts (An Atlanta Skyline Novel) - Rebecca Crowley

Oz is a Swedish, of Turkish ancestry, soccer star playing for a US professional team. He was able to both play and attend college at Harvard. He also happens to be Muslim and because of that was harassed and got threats. Which lead to his introduction to Kate. Kate was in the Army for 8 years and then spent time in Saudi Arabia is a security contractor. Now she is back home in Atlanta working for a private security company.
I really liked this one. Enough so, that I went and bought the first book in this series. Both Oz and Kate are likable, vulnerable, and each had their insecurities. I liked the start, both were indifferent to each other before it, slowly, developed into more. They had their share of differences to work through and compromise on. I also really loved Oz and his decision to wait on sex. The role reversal was a pleasant surprise and one that I enjoyed. Kate is more of an Alpha to Oz's Beta and that worked. 
I liked the addition of religion and hate crimes in this book too. Considering who is sitting in the Oval Office, this was relevant to our current environment.

eARC courtesy of Kensington Lyrical Shine and NetGalley
Release Date: Sept 19th

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review 2017-05-09 21:48
Soul & Diana
Soul and Diana: An Atlanta Love Story - Jade Jones
Title:  Soul & Diana
Author:  Jade Jones
Publication:  Jade Publication
Reviewed By:  Arlena Dean
Rating:  Five
Review:
 
"Soul and Diana:  An Atlanta Love Story" by Jade Jones
 
My Thoughts....
 
This was another good read from this author...'Soul and Diana' that will keep you on the edge of your seat turning the pages to see who or what will be coming next.  I really felt so sorry for Diana..all she wanted was love, happiness and a family.  But with Soul...would that ever happen? It was really interesting to see how that Soul wasn't able to take a dose of his own medicine and I can't blame Diana for doing what she did either.  Again, will Soul open up his eyes before it's too late?
 
I found the secondary characters [Trigga, Ian, Ced, Yohanna and Nyri] to name a few were were captivating in this read. As you are thinking  the situation  is going  one way then it goes another way presenting so many twist and turns. This was quite a interesting story of just what some people will do to get what they think they deserve.  Definitely leaving one to wonder where is there loyalty in all of this?  Can anyone trust anybody?  In the end  the reader is left with a cliffhanger....wondering is this the end for?   I guess we will have to wait and see in part 2.  I guess the saying keep your friends close and your enemies even closer will definitely come into play as they read through this novel of "Soul and Diana."

 

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review 2017-04-16 00:25
Quick Read
Moon Over Atlanta (A Magnolias and Moons... Moon Over Atlanta (A Magnolias and Moonshine Novella Book 6) - Kymber Morgan,Magnolias and Moonshine,Jae Ashley

 

 
Moon Over Atlanta is my first book by author Kymber Morgan. This is a fairly quick read, a perfect choice for paranormal lovers with limited time for reading. I thought this book was well-written. I especially loved Ms Morgan's characters. Ryan and Sara's story is filled with humor, suspense, action and spice. I enjoyed Moon Over Atlanta and would be happy to read more from Kymber Morgan in the future. Moon Over Atlanta is book 6 of the Magnolias and Moonshine Series but can be read as a standalone. This is a complete book, not a cliff-hanger.

I voluntarily reviewed an Advance Reader Copy of this book.
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review 2016-09-18 22:10
The Kept Woman
The Kept Woman: A Novel - Karin Slaughter

By: Karin Slaughter

Will Trent #8

ISBN: 9780062430212

Publisher: HarperCollins

Publication Date: 9/20/2016 

Format: Other

My Rating: 5 Stars 

 

A very special "thank you" to Edelweiss, William Morrow-HarperCollins for an ARC in exchange for an honest review. 

One of the top female crime writers in the world, Karin Slaughter returns following her stellar performance Pretty Girls, landing on My Top 10 Books of 2015 and Cop Townlanding on My Top 30 Books for 2014 with her continuation of the highly anticipated, #8 Will Trent Series THE KEPT WOMAN. Man, "Slaughter can describe evil to the very core."

Set in HOT Atlanta, avid fans of Will Trent, Sara, and Angie (triangle)--you are going to devour The Kept Woman, and at the same time, get to catch up with Amanda, Faith, Tess and familiar characters. Worthy of all the hype. Please, someone make this into a movie/TV series. What is the holdup?

Angie is a woman we all love to hate. Please let her DIE!

Will is a flawed man you want to root for. Sara is a woman you want a happy ending with the man she longs to build a normal life with. Angie is always an ongoing source of pain, drama, and conflict. One nasty Bitch.

When will the nightmare be over?

Does Angie have a heart? Will she ever let Will go and be free from her clutches? Damaged, beyond comprehension, Angie a former cop, private eye, and a pro at running scams, running girls, running pills. How has her past caught up with her present?

The novel opens when the body of an Atlanta ex-cop, Dale Harding is found in a warehouse dead. There is evidence of another victim from the blood.

Special Agent Will Trent knows the warehouse, a club belonging to athlete, famous basketball star-Marcus Rippy, having just walked on a rape charge. He had repeatedly brutally assaulted his victim. A woman. Keisha Miscavage, her accuser. Now he is hiding behind lawyers.

Dr. Sara Linton is on the case as well as her lover, Will Trent with the Georgia Bureau of Investigation. All things point to involvement with the nasty ex-wife Angie Polaski, Will has been trying to divorce for years. She is in and out of his life like a bad revolving door.

Of course Amanda and Faith are thinking maybe Angie is dead. (we/Sara can only dream). She is too evil to die.

From flashbacks of events prior to the murder, the missing woman—a violent struggle. Blood. The Glock is registered to none other than Angie Polaski. Will’s ex-wife, and the woman he met as a girl. Dark hair, smart mouth, killer body.

Angie had been in and out of Will’s life like a mosquito since he was eleven years old at the Atlanta’s Children’s Home—both surviving abuse, neglect, abandonment, torture.

Wounded. Dangerous. Desperate.

Now Sara wonders what Will has been up to. Has he been honest? Seeing Angie behind her back?Angie was a cop for ten years and she knows the ropes. Will did not love her and according to him, he had been searching for her for a year to file divorce papers. Their marriage was a scam, something they had literally done on a dare.

Will had promised Sara he was doing everything possible to end it. She had never questioned him until now. There had to be more to the story. A break in, notes left on the car.

Someone murdered a cop who was on Kip Kilpatrick’s payroll in the service of Marcus Rippy. Also Angie had been stalking Sara, Will’s girlfriend. Sara is beyond upset picturing Angie at Will’s house touching her things. Angie always dictated the terms of their relationship. A twisted lover. One minute Angie loved him and the next she hated him. Disappearing months or years at a time. She was a constant in his life for nearly three decades. Everyone has a past.

Will’s scars were both emotional and physical. He did not trust easily and it had taken years to break the hold Angie had over him. Was it broken?

Now, what had Angie gotten herself involved in now? Where was Angie and how was she mixed up in this mess? The new intense crime (Will/Sara/Angie) will bring them all together once again. Rest assured, you will be anxiously awaiting the next Will Trent thriller!

“Damage. Some people had holes inside of them that they spent their lives trying to fill. With hate. With pills. With scheming. With jealousy. With a child’s love. With a man’s fist. Badness doesn’t come all at once. The dominoes fall over time. You hurt someone by mistake and they let you get away with it. Then you try hurting them on purpose and they still stick around. And then you realize that the more you hurt them, the better you feel.

So you keep hurting them and they keep hanging on, and the years roll by, and you convince yourself that the fact that they still stand by you, means that the pain you cause is okay. But you hate them for it. For what you do to them. For what they do to you.”


My favorite part: “Anybody know a doctor?.” Sara said, “I’m NOT touching her.” (go girl)!

On a serious note, once again Slaughter uses violence as a powerful tool in her crime writing. A means to talk about greater issues affecting society, and women; with domestic abuse, child abuse and rape.

She is a pro at portraying women who have suffered horrendous abuse and demonstrates how they put their life back together. From the social aspects to the horrific tragic acts of the past, emotional and psychological damage and how they interact within relationships and careers.

An EW online interview with the author:
“The Kept Woman,
like many of my novels, explores how the events of the present can rip a tunnel into a long-gone past,” Slaughter tells EW.

“But more so than anything I’ve written, this book comments specifically and strongly on domestic abuse. Violence against women is an epidemic, transcending geography and social status, and in The Kept Woma I aim to shine a light on this heartbreaking truth.”

HINT! I want to see Karin Slaughter featured on Younger(one of my favorite shows), an American comedy-drama television series, from the creator of Sex and the City , based on the Pamela Redmond Satran’s novel of the same name-- created and produced by Darren Star.

With the frequent mentions of rival HarperCollins, would love to see Slaughter featured in a guest appearance scene with Maggie, played by Debi Mazar (Maggie is a 40-something lesbian artist, who is Liza's roommate and closest friend).

Please, let it be a more prominent scene than the short clip with author, Jennifer Weiner. If you blinked your eyes, you would have missed it. If you are a book lover, you will love the name dropping of top authors and publishers. Between sharp tongue, witty, Maggie- and Diana Trout, played by Miriam Shor (temperamental head of marketing) at the publishing house where Liza just got a job by pretending to be 26 years old—Slaughter’s appearance would be a total riot and ratings would soar! Also make sure to reference, Will Trent, Angie, and Sara to maximize the drama. Cannot wait for Season 3!

NO one can write like the "Queen" of crime thrillers, Karin Slaughter!

Have read them all—highly recommend. For new readers, Slaughter does a good job with a backstory of the characters from previous books. As always, plenty of action, crime, violence, and corruption.

The Will Trent series
• Triptych (2006)
• Fractured (2008)
• Undone (2009), Genesis (UK/Australia title)
• Broken (2010)
• Fallen (2011)
• Snatched (2012, ebook novella)
• Criminal (2012)
• Busted (2013)
• Unseen (2013)
• The Kept Woman (2016)

JDCMustReadBooks

 

 

Source: www.judithdcollinsconsulting.com/single-post/2016/04/03/The-Kept-Woman
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