Anne Bonny #BookReview Out Of The Ashes by Vicky Newham 5* #NewRelease #CrimeFiction #DiverseReads @HQstories #MayaRahman #Series

Out Of The Ashes by Vicky Newham ~ DI Maya Rahman #2
Review Copy

Synopsis ~

A tragic accident – or a ruthless killer?
When a flash mob on Brick Lane is interrupted by a sudden explosion, DI Maya Rahman dashes to the scene. A fire is raging through one of the city’s most infamous streets, the site of Maya’s childhood home. And the discovery of two charred bodies in the burnt-out building transforms an arson attack into a murder case.

With witnesses too caught up in the crowd to have seen anything useful, Maya is facing a complex investigation without a single lead. And, when reports of a second, even more horrifying crime land on Maya’s desk, it’s obvious there’s more at stake than she could ever have imagined. She must find the answers – before all of East London goes up in flames.

My Review ~

Out Of The Ashes is the second title in the DI Maya Rahman series. With this novel taking place in the diverse area of London known as Brick Lane. I was really looking forward to digging further into Maya’s personality and past as a character and I was not disappointed at all.

The novel opens with Rosa Feldman a Jewish business owner on Brick Lane. She is swept up with a local flash mob appears, narrowly just missing an explosion on the Lane. DI Maya Rahman and DS Dan Maguire are called to the scene. With two dead victims their investigation, just became potentially a double murder case…
Is this an accident? tragic arson? a terrorist attack? or a hate crime?

Through the story we are introduced to a wealth of interesting and diverse characters. This is clearly a theme that the author is passionate about and it reflects brilliantly on the page. A modern new crime series, with a modern protagonist and for a new era of young modern readers. I think Newham’s creation of Maya, is the perfect character to bring the younger readers to the genre.

Back to the story ~ Although Maya and Dan appear to have only a minor few leads. They lead to much more intriguing mysteries. Such as: a flash mob protest with a anti-gentrification mission. We learn of the various diverse communities. The racism they’ve faced historically and in the current climate.
There is much more depth to Brick Lane, than first assumed.

‘Working class areas of London are becoming the domain of the privileged’ 

The victims lives adds more confusion and complexity into the case. A man found dead, in the arms of a lover, but not his pregnant partner…
We are given some insight into Maya’s past with some interesting breadcrumb clues of her backstory. Why did Maya’s father go missing? And Why is Rosa Feldman convinced that he did not simply disappear?

I raced through the title in just one afternoon. It has various themes that really resonate with the reader. Family loyalty and people just trying to get by, with the support of their local communities. 5*

Vicky Newham

Anne Bonny #BookReview Kindred by Octavia E. Butler 5* #TimeTravel #Slavery #DiverseLiterature @headlinepg ‘This is a powerful novel. It is intelligent and generates deep thought. The hierarchy of slavery and violence is fully explored.’

Kindred by Octavia. E Butler
My own copy

In 1976, Dana dreams of being a writer. In 1815, she is assumed a slave.

When Dana first meets Rufus on a Maryland plantation, he’s drowning. She saves his life – and it will happen again and again.

Neither of them understands his power to summon her whenever his life is threatened, nor the significance of the ties that bind them.

And each time Dana saves him, the more aware she is that her own life might be over before it’s even begun.

Octavia E. Butler‘s ground-breaking masterpiece is the extraordinary story of two people bound by blood, separated by so much more than time.

My Review:

Kindred is such an exceptionally difficult novel to describe. Especially when it comes to the area of genre. It has themes of historical slavery, time travel and at it’s heart a beautiful romance between Dana and her husband Kevin.
Although it is tricky to describe and review, I urge you to buy a copy!
You won’t be disappointed.

It is June 9th 1976, Dana’s 26th birthday when she first meets Rufus. She saves his life from drowning in the river and is met with the threat of death via the barrel of a gun!
Dana then reappears in the modern day (1976). Was this a dream? An hallucination? Dana desperately tries to piece it all together. Rufus’s southern accent, the scenery etc.

Dana continues to be drawn and pulled back into the past every time Rufus encounters trouble. When Dana plays close attention to Rufus’s language and the dialogue of his conversations, she then realises, she is in a dark era of time. Dana is being transported back to 1815. Also not just any location but the Weylin Plantation where 38 slaves are held. This is an extremely dangerous era for Dana to be pulled into.

‘The possibility of meeting a white adult here frightened me, more than the possibility of street violence ever had at home’ – Dana

‘Paperless blacks were fair game for any white’

In the modern day (1976) Dana is married to Kevin Franklin. The story of who they met and fell in love is incorporated into the story. He is the only person to have physically witnessed Dana’s journeys into the past and has deep concern. It may be worth noting Dana is African American and Frank is white. Something Rufus refuses to believe, when she attempts to explain the future to him.

‘Rufus fear of death calls me to him, and my own fear of death sends me home’ – Dana

There are violent scenes and scenes where you see the KKK in all their evil glory. They are painful to read but describe the violence and dehumanisation that was inflicted upon slaves and free black people in 1815.

‘Strength. Endurance. To survive, my ancestors had to put up with more than I ever could. Much more’ – Dana

In the lucid moments in the present day (1976) Dana and her husband frantically search for a link between her past and Rufus’s. Their research leads them to believe there is in fact a biological connection of some sort between Dana and Rufus but how?

‘I was the worse possible guardian for him – a black to watch over him in a society that considered blacks subhuman. A woman to watch over him in a society that considered women perennial children’

This is a powerful novel. It is intelligent and generates deep thought. The hierarchy of slavery and violence is fully explored.
I shall leave some of the thought-provoking quotes I noted below. 5*

‘I never realised how easily people could be trained to accept slavery’ – Dana

‘There was no shame in raping a black woman, but there could be shame in loving one’

‘It was so easy to advise other people to live with their pain’ – Dana

‘I had no enforceable rights. None at all’ – Dana

Octavia E. Butler

Anne Bonny #BookReview Sins As Scarlet by @NicObregon 5* #NewRelease #CrimeFiction #AmericanNoir ‘The novel is timely, accurate and raises awareness of the dangers the trans community face’

Sins As Scarlet by Nicolas Obregon
Review Copy

Former homicide detective Kosuke Iwata is on the run from his past . . .

Five years ago, he lost his family. Now he may have found his redemption.

Living in LA and working as a private detective, he spends his days spying on unfaithful spouses and his nights with an unavailable woman.

Still he cannot forget the family he lost in Tokyo.

But that all changes when a figure from his old life appears at his door demanding his help.

Meredith Nichol, a transgender woman and his wife’s sister, has been found strangled on the lonely train tracks behind Skid Row.

Soon he discovers that the devil is at play in the City of Angels and Meredith’s death wasn’t the hate crime the police believe it to be. Iwata knows that risking his life and future is the only way to silence the demons of his past.

Reluctantly throwing himself back in to the dangerous existence he only just escaped, Iwata discovers a seedy world of corruption, exploitation and murder – and a river of sin flowing through LA’s underbelly, Mexico’s dusty borderlands and deep within his own past.

My Review:

I am a huge fan of diverse novels and you don’t really get many more diverse than Sins As Scarlet. It features a variety of characters from all walks of life and differing cultures. The victim in the novel is a transgender woman and Inspector Kosuke Iwata is determined to solve the case.

The novel opens on the Mexican – USA border. A pregnant woman is fleeing, and she has sustained violent injuries. The truck is gaining on her as she recites a Spanish prayer. . .

‘Most sacred heart of Jesus, I accept from your hands whatever death may please you to send me into this night’

The United States border patrol are the figures that have given chase. With another unidentified male, making his escape. They murder the pregnant female and it is at this instance I knew, things were not as they seem at the border.
This novel was going to be very dark indeed.

Kosuke Iwata is a second-generation Japanese American citizen. He currently lives in Torrance in California. Iwata’s past is fully explored within the novel. He has known considerable emotional pain. Both in his childhood and adult life. He works as a private investigator, when he is asked to take a case by Kate Floccari (state prosecutor) with regards to her husband potentially cheating on her. Iwata relinquished his own police career in Japan and has never attempted to join the police forces in the USA.

‘He figured tomorrow would just be another day, another case’

90K people go missing in LA each year!
As the novel takes you around Los Angeles, the author does an impressive job of describing the various communities.
From the poverty of Skid Row to the wealthy untouchables.

Iwata is alone in his office when he is accosted by his mother in law, Charlotte Nichol. Iwata’s wife died previously, and Charlotte asks for his help to find the killer of her only surviving child. What makes the case so unique is that Charlotte’s son Julian had transitioned gender and was living as Meredith. Meredith was murdered two weeks ago, and the police have shown little to no interest.

‘I won’t ever forgive you for what you did to Cleo. But maybe you can still do some good in this world’

It is widely known that transgender women are at an extremely high risk of being the victim of violent crime. Although this is widely known and an issue globally. Little is done in the way of preventative measures and ensuring the safety of transgender women. In fact, 45% of hate crime victims are transgender women and sadly the statistics reflect and upward trend in the crime. The novel is timely, accurate and raises awareness of the dangers the trans community face.

Iwata attempts to gather information from LAPD cop detective Joseph Avery Silke. But has little success. The cops are simply not interested.

‘Hollywood is a place where they’ll pay you a thousand dollars for a kiss and 50 cents for your soul’ – Marilyn Monroe

Iwata has a contact in LAPD records and information, Earnell McCrae, who owes him a favour. He soon finds he has access to the police file and it does not look good. Meredith was living at Skid Row, she was a known prostitute and drug user. She was strangled on some train tracks and found by a homeless man. She had, what appears to be injuries of a sexual nature, but were they part of the murder? Or a sexual encounter? Did a punter discover her male genitalia and Meredith paid with her life?

Something happened to Meredith and Iwata finds his new case, also a quest for redemption. He begins his investigation by speaking to customers and staff at the various Latino exotic dancing bars. He learns of Meredith’s lover ‘Talky’ and friend Genevieve. He has little to go on and decides to research similar cases.

‘I know whoever killed Meredith is still out there. And I don’t think he’s finished’

Iwata uncovers a spate of local murders of transgender women. With five women dead and only one solved case. All except one, strangled. Is someone murdering transwomen? Do they make the perfect victim to a sexual predator?

‘There was a man with a garrotte and a taste for transgender women’

Iwata can’t get Meredith’s plight out of his head. The people he encounters at Skid row, stay with him long after he has left. The homeless, destitute, disabled, mentally ill and undocumented. They are the marginalised, vulnerable and undesired in society.

‘Meredith had moved a thousand miles to be herself. He wondered is she died for it too’

When Iwata attempts to contact the trans community he is met with a wall of silence. He hears of a trick rumoured to kill trans women, but rumour soon becomes urban legend. What he does uncover is a community of people, often rejected by their families and loved ones, forced to live on the fringes of society.

The novel is deeply layered and very intelligent. The author has done an outstanding job of describing the locations mentioned in the novel. The characters come alive on the page. You get a real sense of the struggles the trans community face and risk of violence in their daily lives. It appears to me that vulnerability and exploitation go hand in hand.

‘The devil is on every street corner in this place’

The novel has a brilliant ending and I can not wait for the next in the series. 5*

Nicolas Obregon

Anne Bonny #BlogTour #GuestPost by @RuthEstevez2 #Diversity in #YA fiction #NewRelease YA #Literarture Jiddy Vardy @ZunTold #UKYA #JiddyVardy

Jiddy Vardy by Ruth Estevez
Full review to follow

Jiddy is a survivor. Rescued at birth, she grows up in Robin Hood’s Bay, a village harbouring a dangerous secret. Just as romance blossoms and Jiddy finally feels like she belongs, figures from the past threaten to tear her world apart… A thrilling tale of one girl’s search for identity and love, set against a backdrop of smuggling and viole.

Guest post:

Diversity in YA Fiction

I believe there are many young people who aren’t reading because they don’t see it as an option. This could be for many reasons, access to books, difficulties reading, economic, it’s not a tradition in a family or environment to read, there are no role models who love reading, or you just can’t find anything you want to read.
Often, you just want to find a book that you relate to but can’t find it. A character with the same name as you can be enough to pick up that particular book. It could be set where you’re from. I picked up The Ballroom by Anna Hope because it was set in an old Victorian Mental Institution, as they were called, near where I used to live. My friend’s mum went in to do the inmates’ hair as they were called then. My friend Andy, used to drive us in his mini into the courtyard and out under the bridge to scare us. From what, I’m not sure, but it was dark at night and it was a thrill. So, to find a story set High Royds, made me want to read it. I picked up Elizabeth Gaskell’s novel, Ruth in a second hand bookshop, because well, I’d not seen another book called Ruth and that name’s special to me!
I’d like to think everyone out there could find a book with a name the same as theirs or a friend’s name. Or that it’s set in a place they know. Or it’s about how they are feeling and experiencing the world.
We love to say, ‘Yes! I feel exactly like that!’ It’s important in YA fiction for readers to be able to see characters and scenarios that you are going through so that you can see choices, solutions and how others cope with similar dilemmas.
And for books to be authentic, we need authors from diverse backgrounds, whether that be culturally, economically, socially, gender and sexual orientation, size, shape, skin colour, health-wise, in all ways. Personal experience makes a story ring true.
So…diverse writers need finding and encouraging. And how do we do that? Readers shouting what we want?! Writers writing about what’s important to them? And people in the publishing industry listening to that call.
With The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas, The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini, The Curious Incident of The Dog in The Night-Time all best-sellers, to name a few, and Meredith Rosso’s If I was your Girl, the first book written by a trans-gender author, the diverse stories featuring diverse characters are opening out. There are still many unheard voices out there of course.
I used my own experiences to write my YA novel, Jiddy Vardy, which is about a girl who is a foreigner in a tight knit community. I know my mum felt like this when we moved from the city of Bradford to a small rural village, when I was two. I felt like this when I was the only girl who went from my primary to secondary school. I could translate the feelings I felt to how Jiddy fought to belong.
One of the reasons, one of my main characters in my next book, The Monster Belt, is a redhead is because I am a redhead. Or, I should say, was – because my hair has changed colour, grown darker and duller over time. No actually, I change that back to ‘am.’ I am a redhead because I hold in me as an adult, all that being a redhead as a child and teenager has made me. And I’m not writing about a redhead that I so often see in fiction, plucky and fiery and not much said about her skin. Dee is a redhead who burns in the sun and I’m going to talk about it. And she is a brilliant character though I say so myself! There. Got that off my chest! Everyone needs representing and I have plenty of insider information on redheads. We want writers with plenty of insider information about their specialist subject! Because readers need to see themselves authentically in print.
There is also another reason why we need diversity in YA fiction… ‘no-one is an island.’ (Something my mum used to keep telling my sister and me.)
This can be translated as, we want and need to learn about other ways of being, other places and experiences, so that we can feel connected to everyone else. Reading outside our own experience and comfort zone helps us expand as human beings. We all want to grow and see other worlds, so that we can understand each other, don’t we?
Whichever way you look at it, it’s a win-win situation to have diversity in YA fiction. YA audiences are hungry to read about themselves and about different worlds and lives as well. And we need writers of all diversities to provide readers with that. So, publishers, nourish these writers. Please think long term and help these writers to grow and share their unique voices for all the unique readers out there.
And for those of you who don’t see anything for you right now, take up the challenge, pick up your pen, or start tapping on that keyboard and get writing yourself. There are organisations like We Need Diverse Books and Diversity in YA who work to give opportunities to those interested in publishing from minority backgrounds. Manchester’s new publishing company, ZunTold is engaging with young people through interactive story-telling on their website. Everywhere, there are initiatives. Find them. Let’s really make sure there is something for everyone and so readers can find a book they want to read.

Ruth Estevez
ZunTold  – TwitterWebsite

***Don’t miss the other bloggers on the blog tour***

#Review #LightningMen by @Mullenwrites @LittleBrownUK 5* Genius

*I received an arc via the publisher in return for an honest review*

Lightning Men by Thomas Mullen

Lightning Men follows the multi-award-nominated, highly acclaimed crime debut Darktown into a city on the brink of huge and violent change – and full of secrets.

Atlanta, 1950. In a divided city, crime comes home.

White officer Denny Rakestraw joins Lucius Boggs and Tommy Smith from Atlanta’s Negro Officer precinct to face the Klan, gangs and family warfare in their rapidly changing city.

Black families – including Smith’s sister and brother-in-law – are moving into Rake’s formerly all-white neighbourhood, leading Rake’s brother-in-law, a proud Klansman, to launch a scheme to ‘save’ their streets. When those efforts leave a man dead, Rake is forced to choose between loyalty to family or the law.

Meanwhile, Boggs has outraged his preacher father by courting a domestic, whose dangerous ex-boyfriend is then 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.

My Review:
*I am very nervous to post this review, it is my longest and most detailed review yet! Where some may feel this offers up spoilers/too much detail. Believe me, Thomas Mullen writes like a genius, I barely scrape the surface of this AMAZING novel*

I previously read the first in the series, Dark Town and was absolutely blown away by the raw honesty and accuracy of historical fact. I thought this series was brilliantly unique and a little part of history we should all know more about!
Officer Boggs and Officer Smith are back and it is one hell of a great read!

Atlanta, Georgia 1950 sets the scene of the novel. The growing racial tensions and the civil rights movement, create a powerful backdrop for this novel. Officer Boggs and Officer Smith are two of Americas first black police officers. They don’t have the same rights as the white officers and they certainly don’t hold any form of privilege.
But what they do have, is the desire and power to clean up their own community!

Their boss is a white officer named Denny ‘Rake’ Rakeshaw. He is in charge of, as it summarised in the novel ‘Americas negro police unit’. The unit faces many threats from both inside and outside of the law. The face dangerous opposition from the Klan, gangs and criminal warfare. When Rake’s bigoted brother-in-law Dale, a local klansman is linked to a crime scene. Rake must choose between family loyalty and the law? Meanwhile, Boggs is dealing with a personal drama, with his new choice of fiancée. Smith is looking forward to the birth of his new niece/nephew but wary as his sister has chosen to move into the white area of town.
One City, two races and three cops!

The prologue opens with Jeremiah being released from Georgia state prison. With no more than 75 cents in his pocket and no one to collect him. We the reader become aware he is alone in the world! His girlfriend having stopped writing years ago and he is startled by police sirens nearby. He stumbles across a preacher who warns him that if he doesn’t find a place to stay, he can be re-arrested for vagrancy!
The preacher warns he has seen many paroled convicts, re-jailed in shocking time!

“Always know what you’re up against and what you’re dealing with, and how you’ll get out of it if it turns ugly” Sgt McInnes

Boggs and Smith police their territory of Atlanta. Taking out moonshiners and drug dealers. They are determined to clean up the streets and refuse to be bought. Which unfortunately is not the same for the white police officers, who are happy to wade into dark town and take their cut of the drug money. In 1950 Atlanta, black people made up 1/3 of the population but they were crowded into 1/5 of the land. Poverty and inadequate housing at every turn. When you can’t get a job of fair salary, crime pays.
Just 10 black police officers to patrol thousands of souls……

Life for the black officers is far from easy. They aren’t allowed to wear their uniforms to/from work for fear of being killed. They face prejudice at every turn. They are often racially abused by the white police officers. They are not allowed to interact with white civilians and if suspect a white person of a crime, must find the nearest call box, for the white officers. They are not allowed to drink, even when off duty. Whilst the white officers frequently take the law into their own hands. Many are rumoured to be members of the Klan.
The inequality and injustice is fully explored, the white privilege of the 1950s is unveiled.

Boggs and Smith, along with Officers Dewey Edmunds and Champ Jennings continue to police the neighbourhood with conviction, despite the unfair world that surrounds them. When they stumble across a crime in progress and take action. It leaves a dead body, that none of them shot! With Boggs having knocked out a white suspect, safe to say, the officers have opened a can of worms!
What ensues in their conversations offers an insight how they each individually view race?

“You think white ladies don’t drink? You think their shit don’t smell?” “Rich folk don’t break laws?”

Across town, Dale is becoming more and more involved with the Klan. The world of their organisation makes for in-depth writing. The author has clearly researched the Klan and how they operate. Dale having been initiated at just 16yrs old, firmly believes, this is the gang for him. But a man so uneducated and angry, is an easy individual to manipulate.
It isn’t too long for Dale to fine himself at a crime scene either……….

“Kluxers are about more than the colour of skin. We are the moral authority?”

Over a dinner at Bogg’s family residence, we learn more about his fiancée Julie. His preacher father is disgusted at the impending nuptials and warns his son, so marry a ‘nice’ girl. The fact that Julie is a single mother to a young son Sage, has the preacher in the belief she is a fallen woman. This only serves to push Boggs closer to Julie.
But Julie holds some secrets of her own, secrets only she and one other soul know………

There is an introduction of a character called Bartholomew Kressler. Which makes for interesting reading, I am not going to spoil the character for readers. But he is exceptionally unusual, put it that way! He informs Boggs and Smith that he witnessed local loan shark and all round thug Thunder Malley at the scene of a crime.

When Dale urgently calls rake in the middle of the night, in trouble. Having escaped from a crime scene that left one man dead and one man badly beaten. It forces Rake to investigate, to try to keep Dale from being arrested. His motives for this are sketchy, but are fully explored throughout the novel. He uncovers the dead man was a suspect in the beating. A dead Klansman named Walter Irons. The victim of the beating however, is a white banker named Martin Letcher. Letcher not being unknown to the Klan himself, he believes in their values. Why are the Klan attacking their own men? How involved is Letcher? What are the motives for the beating?

Boggs and Smith continue to seek to take out Thunder Malley. They want Malley out of their community and not flushing it with his illicit product. We learn Smith has informants in the community and manages to navigate the criminal underworld in a different way to Boggs. The informant warns them there is a turf war about to erupt. That Quentin ‘Q’ Neale is wading on Malleys territory.
He warns them Q has protection from the white cops.
Something Boggs and Smith, do not!

The novels progresses at an engrossing pace. We learn more about the background of Rake. Invited to join the Klan in 1948, post his service in ww2. Rake refused. We learn of his immigration status, that his mother and father were progressive on race. They themselves being treated appallingly as German refugees in America, due to the war. His previous partners have been members of the Klan and this has always led to heated debate.
Rakes father summarises the Klan “ragtag group of bullies and Neanderthals”.

We also learn more about Smith’s background. His father was lynched in 1919, after ‘daring’ to wear his uniform from his service in the great war. His mother couldn’t cope with the grief and committed suicide. Leaving him an orphan as a child. He was taken in by an aunt and raised as her child, along his sister Hannah. Hannah is now heavily pregnant with her first baby. Her husband Malcolm is a veteran of ww2 and served in the 761st tank battalion, the famed black panthers. Malcolm has struggled to find work, after being demobbed and is currently working as a bouncer at a local club. Having recently moved into a white neighbourhood, they are facing daily threats and intimidation to move out. When a break, with a note attached comes flying through the window they call on Smith to help!

Cassies Rakeshaw, Rake’s wife is of different political thinking than her husband. She fears the local black population and what will become of ‘her’ neighbourhood. When local neighbours Paul and Martha Anne Thames invite her to join their group Collective Association of Hanford Park (CAHP). Their goal being to buy out the black homeowners. What will Rake make of her choices? Why is she so consumed with fear? Will she pay for the choices she makes?

There were moments throughout the book that I just had to put it down and digest the information. Why does a hateful mentality spread like a poison in communities?

When Malcolm is attacked, Smith is summoned to Grady Hospital, the coloured wing. Malcolm has been beaten so badly, he is lucky to be alive. He can’t account for who beat him, but it is known there was more than one assailant and they used a bat. Malcolm is angry and demands justice. He wants to see the white suspects held account for the beating. He quickly learns that this will not be happening anytime soon, when the cops cover it up for fear of a riot.

“Blame the negro for causing trouble, Boggs thought Disturbing the peace”

Rake doesn’t despise the black officers and upon seeing ‘white community only’ flags in his neighbourhood, tears them down. The flags carry a logo and it becomes clear to Rake the Columbians are back in town. Who are the Columbians? What is their connection to the Klan? Is this a turf war also?

Jeremiah returns to the town he knows. He discovers most of his friend are dead or in jail. His family have left for Chicago and blame him for the death of his brother. He only has one person he can call on in the world. Unbeknown to him, this woman has a new life.
One she is not willing to give up on…….

The Columbian/Klan theme is further detailed. I found it profound that it is more often than not (2017 and 1950s) those who have never fought for their country, whom believe right wing ideals and aspire to violence, fear and war to achieve their goals. Having seen recent media reports of a Nazi march in the USA. I did ponder why these men armed to the teeth with rifles, had not enlisted after 9/11.

Thunder Malley is finally apprehended and taken into police custody. However, police custody as a black man in 1950, is no safe place to be. It isn’t long until his body is discovered dead and it stinks of police corruption. All this takes place as Dale is due to meet the grand wizard himself. Overseer of the entire Georgia KKK at their sacred altar. Dale learns that the incident he took part in, was unsanctioned by the grand wizard. Which means dale could pay with his life for the crimes he took part in.
Now Dale fears the KKK, imagine the irony in that………..

As the novel continues we see Hannah receive further rape/death threats. Rake become involved with the Georgia Bureau of Investigations (GBI). A local business owner is also dragged into the case. The white ladies down at the records department continue to ignore Boggs or Smith’s attempts to access files. Which again I figured was ironic given their own status of oppression as 1950s women. The case continues to throw up new characters, such as known racist Sgt Slater.
The past comes back to haunt all the characters and to read it all unfold is gripping.
One thing is for certain it is all going to erupt.

“Which part you find harder, the white cops who hate you for thinking you’re as good as them, or the coloured folk who hate you for ‘acting white’?”.

There are moments of reading this novel that I actually flinched, the spiteful terms or insults were painful to read. But they are accurately portrayed, this is how segregation worked. The knowledge that racist terms were incorporated into everyday language. Such as the use of the term ‘boy’ to a black adult male was done do, to show inferiority. So many phrases and slogans coined, to make the already privileged white person feel even more smug and superior!

Boggs and Smith make for perfect reading and their bond is firmly cemented in this case. This has to be my longest ever review and I shall finish up with saying, 3 simple words. Five star genius!

5* Genius!

*Lightning Men is released on 12th September in the UK*

Thomas Mullen
Authors Links:
Twitter: @Mullenwrites

*As this is the second in a series, I have decided to include the cover and synopsis for the first novel also, below*

Dark Town
Dark Town by Thomas Mullen

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 . . .

Soon to be a major TV series from Jamie Foxx and Sony Pictures Television.