When the novel “Darktown” was published two years ago, author Thomas Mullen introduced readers to a historical subject that ought to be widely known, namely the racial integration of Atlanta’s police department in 1948.
The characters of Officer Lucius Boggs and Officer Tommy Smith put a face to struggles with injustice that real-life men of color faced daily while working within institutionalized racism. Those characters are back in Mullen’s new novel, “Lightning Men," with carries the story of the Boggs and Smith into the 1950s.
Mullen says that though he may not have intended it, the book contains a lot of parallels to present-day Atlanta.
"It is about the racial integration of some neighborhoods in Atlanta and a lot of the issues that came up as a result," he says, "and some of the villains in the book include members of the Ku Klux Klan and neo-Nazis. And when I started [this book] about three years ago, I did not think that we were going to have things like what happened at Charlottesville, I didn't think that neo-Nazis and Klansmen were going to come out of the shadows. You really never know what's going to happen by the time your book is out there."
Thomas Mullen appears at Wrecking Bar Brewpub Tuesday, Sept. 12 for a reading, discussion and Q&A at 7:15 p.m.