Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Review: Crooked Letter, Crooked Letter - Tom Franklin

Edgar Award-winning author Tom Franklin returns with his most accomplished and resonant novel so far—an atmospheric drama set in rural Mississippi. In the late 1970s, Larry Ott and Silas "32" Jones were boyhood pals. Their worlds were as different as night and day: Larry, the child of lower-middle-class white parents, and Silas, the son of a poor, single black mother. Yet for a few months the boys stepped outside of their circumstances and shared a special bond. But then tragedy struck: Larry took a girl on a date to a drive-in movie, and she was never heard from again. She was never found and Larry never confessed, but all eyes rested on him as the culprit. The incident shook the county—and perhaps Silas most of all. His friendship with Larry was broken, and then Silas left town. More than twenty years have passed. Larry, a mechanic, lives a solitary existence, never able to rise above the whispers of suspicion. Silas has returned as a constable. He and Larry have no reason to cross paths until another girl disappears and Larry is blamed again. And now the two men who once called each other friend are forced to confront the past they've buried and ignored for decades. - Amazon.com
This book was another book that I "heard" about on Twitter. I found an ARC copy on the giveaway shelf at work.  I was immediately caught up in this book when the main character is held at gun point in the first chapter. The plot in the present day was so moving that it was hard to be interrupted with the flashbacks to build on the background story. 

The writing was very moving and painted a picture of a small town in Mississippi as well as captured the racial tensions apparent in the south as well.  I did figure out the mystery before the main characters did, but I thought the revealing to the characters was framed well.  The ending was "happy" but sad at the same time.  I would have liked maybe one or two more chapters to find our how the main characters adapted to life after the main catalysis. 

I thought the author captured a "loners" life well.  The reader definitely sympathizes with Larry even though the whole town is against him.  I'm surprised he didn't move away after all the allegations. I liked that Silas' character was human and could be identified with. His actions spoke louder than words.  The author definitely captures how human contact and friendship can look past race especially at a young age.


  1. Great review. I will most likely read this book either this week or the next for a book club.


  2. Thanks! I think you'll like this book.