Dark Town Redemption
HardBooks Publishing, Feb 1 2011, $12.95
Even in South Vietnam in 1967, race relations between blacks and whites in an integrated army are terrible. Sergeant Robert Jackson is a black person who chose the marines over the streets of surrealistic Detroit. His younger brother Marcus belongs to the group The Vanguard; a radical group in the forefront of a race riot that rocked the city and shocked the nation.
Soon after that deadly night, Marcus is killed and four police officers are at the scene. They all tell the same story without one iota of difference. One of the cops is Thomas Riley, a third generation officer living his father’s dream after his older brother (and dad’s favorite son) died in Korea. Robert comes home and joins Vanguard to infiltrate them as he believes one of their members killed his sibling, but he also believes they are the only hope to fulfill the dream of equality. As times change, Robert and Thomas discuss the murder of Marcus and their hopes for a future, if they have one after reopening the cold case.
Gary Hardwick takes readers back to a pivotal moment in the Black community as two visions of change compete between the Panthers and King. Using true events like the riots, the author provides a profound look at a thunderous period. Robert and Thomas are similar in personality though their lives differ; their confrontations and discussions make the story line stronger and more believable. Filled with symbolism, including the pivotal 1968 World Series (only matched in my mind in terms of social importance by the 2001 games) readers will enjoy Dark Town Redemption, a powerful historical thriller that pulls no punches on racial issues.