Crooked Letter, Crooked Letter by Tom Franklin
Published: 2010 by Harper Perennial
Source: Purchased at an independent bookstore
Crooked Letter, Crooked Letter is a novel set in rural Mississippi about two men — Larry Ott and Silas Jones. As children the boys were sort of friends — brought together more by circumstance than by mutual affection; but in high school a girl’s disappearance changes their relationship and the lives of the men well into adulthood.
The novel opens in Larry’s home as he is getting ready to go to work at his shop, but before he can leave he is met with an intruder and is shot and left for dead. Silas, now the town’s police constable, takes charge of the investigation and Larry’s connection with another girl’s disappearance.
That is the gist of the plot, but add in family tensions, small town drama, and a racial undercurrent (oh yeah, Larry is white, Silas is black) and you get a fascinating novel. It has something for everyone — mystery, atmosphere (after being in humid Mississippi this weekend I completely felt the setting), and really good characters that I couldn’t help but feel for (especially Larry). It isn’t an especially happy story, but nonetheless it is one worth reading.