Our Man in the Dark

Our Man in the Dark

by Rashad Harrison
4.2 7


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Our Man in the Dark by Rashad Harrison

A stunning debut historical noir novel about a worker in the civil rights movement who became an informant for the FBI during the months leading up to the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Feeling underappreciated and overlooked, John Estem, a bookkeeper for Dr. King’s Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC), steals ten thousand dollars from the organization. Originally planning to use the money to seed a new civil rights initiative in Chicago, he squanders the stolen funds.

To the bookkeeper’s dismay, the FBI has been keeping close tabs on Dr. King and his fellow activists—including Estem—for years. FBI agents tell Estem that it is his duty, as an American and as a civil rights supporter, to protect the SCLC from communist infiltration. The FBI offers Estem a stipend, but in case he has any thoughts about refusing the assignment, they also warn him that they know about the stolen money.

Playing informant empowers Estem, but he soon learns that his job is not simply to relay information on the organization. Once the FBI discovers evidence of King’s sexual infidelities, they set out to confirm the facts to undermine King’s credibility as a moral leader and bring down the movement. This timely novel comes in light of recent revelations that government informants had infiltrated numerous black movement organizations. With historical facts at the core of Our Man in the Dark, Harrison uses real life as a great inspiration for his drama-filled art.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781451625752
Publisher: Atria Books
Publication date: 11/15/2011
Pages: 320
Product dimensions: 6.38(w) x 9.26(h) x 1.04(d)

About the Author

Rashad Harrison has studied writing at San Francisco State University and Columbia University. He received his MFA in creative writing from New York University where he was a Jacob K. Javits Fellow in fiction and taught creative writing. He and his wife currently live in Chicago and San Francisco. He is the author of Our Man in the Dark (2011) and The Abduction of Smith and Smith (2015).

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Our Man in the Dark 4.3 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 7 reviews.
PeggyBLM More than 1 year ago
Got referred to this title by goodreads. It's pitched as "historical noir"--and there's enough in this book for fans of those genres to be more than satisfied--but Our Man in the Dark transcends most of the limitations of genre. Something new has been created here. John Estem is one the most unforgettable characters recently created.
MeandmyNook More than 1 year ago
Our Man in the Dark was very good book. Got referred from a friend. This book would br a great book for Book Clubs.
BookReflections More than 1 year ago
John Estem has led a life where he has been constantly ridiculed, teased, and disrespected. As a bookkeeper for the SCLC, he hopes to gain respect and participate the movement. Even here he is under-appreciated and ignored. Hoping to gain some self-respect and win the affections of his long-time friend, Candy, John steals money from the SCLC which starts a series of events where John can't be sure how is friend or foe. John finds himself working as an informant for the FBI and taking orders from a gangsta. Soon he's in over his head and unable to find the respect he so needed. After accepting this book for review, I became very intrigued with the noir style. After doing a bit of research I discovered that noir fiction is a type of crime story with a cynical twist where almost all the characters in the story are troubled and there is no hero figure. Morality and inhibitions are not strong points and a doom-like theme dominates. This story definitely fits the bill. I liked how the entire plot was unpredictable and their were plenty of twists and turns. After a while, I stopped trying to guess what would happen next. I had to to sit back and watch the drama unfold. None of the characters are especially loveable, or even likeable, which is consistent with the style. I found that I started to view John the same way many of the other characters did. I pitied him and found his actions to be quite naive and deplorable. While there was a lot of action especially toward the end of the book, I felt like I wanted more action in the earlier parts of the story rather than hear the same inner thoughts from John. His self-pity and thoughts about gaining respect were quite repetitive. Additionally, I thought the conversations between Dr. King and John were a bit stilted and out of place. They sounded too formal and a bit unrealistic. Overall, if you are interested in historical noir, I think you'll enjoy this dark read that brings many twists and surprises.
OhWake More than 1 year ago
I couldn't put this book down. The author writers his characters so vividly and he puts so much detail into accurately describing 60's Atlanta. Although its historical fiction I found this book to be really educational about the civil rights movement from a different point of view. I highly recommend this book and am looking forward to more from this author.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Well done to Rashad Harrison for his debut novel!! Hooked me instantly. I couldn't put it down. Each page was every bit as gripping and powerful as the next and the next and the next. Definitely a must read!! I can't wait to see what's next for this eloquently expressive up and coming wordsmith!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
LevineDF More than 1 year ago
This is the book to read!! The characters are fascinating with complex motives at a time in our history where many things were not as they appeared. I was so moved by the end of the book, I wanted to keep reading.