Crooked Letter, Crooked Letter by Tom Franklin

Title: Crooked Letter, Crooked Letter

Author: Tom Franklin

Genre: Fiction

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.

27 thoughts on “Crooked Letter, Crooked Letter by Tom Franklin

  1. This just made my Best Reads list for this year. I’m glad you rated it as a keeper, too.

    As for other Franklin books, I have only read Hell at the Breech. I rated it a 5/5 and obviously thought it was fantastic. HOWEVER, it is brutal. It is considered a very dark read. Just tellin’ ya. 🙂


  2. I’m so glad to see you liked this one too. Atmospheric is a wonderful description. Like Joy, I read and loved Hell at the Breech, but it is a brutal story although beautifully told and that contrast is one of the things I loved about it. I have Franklin’s short story collection (Poachers) on my shelf and hope to read it soon.


    • Ha, I felt like my hair was getting frizzy from the humidity 🙂 I really loved the vivid descriptions.
      I’ve got Poachers on my TBR list. Maybe down the road I’ll add Hell at the Breech.


  3. I’ve been seeing this book reviewed all over the place, and it sounds like one I’ll have to get to at some point.

    And ewwwwww … snakes!


  4. This sounds like a great story, love the description that it’s atmospheric. It sounds mysterious and with some interesting characters which I enjoy.


  5. Darn it… I knew I should have bought the book when I strolled the bookstore with Mrs Q…. Arghhhh… maybe I can still dash out with my coupon to buy it… Wish me luck.


Comments are closed.