Author: Tom Franklin
About: (from Goodreads) 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.
My thoughts: I loved being immersed in the southern Mississippi rural landscape of country dark nights, snakes, kudzu, and unsolved mysteries. Well, I didn’t enjoy the snakes so much.
“Scary Larry” Ott is the prime suspect in the recent disappearance of a local college student. He is still considered the only suspect in a similar crime twenty years earlier but a body was never found so he couldn’t be charged.
Constable Silas “32” Jones is busy trying to solve other recent violent crimes when he becomes involved in the latest case involving Larry Ott. He and Larry have a history that Franklin slowly reveals to the reader. In fact, this novel is as much about relationships as it is about the crime. It’s about long held secrets and the lies told to cover them up.
I really enjoyed Crooked Letter, Crooked Letter. It’s the first of Tom Franklin’s books that I’ve read and I look forward to more.
Rating: Keeper shelf.
Recommend? Yes, to fans of a good atmospheric story.
Source: I bought it.