Crooked Letter, Crooked Letter by Tom Franklin

Crooked Letter, Crooked Letter by Tom Franklin

William Morrow, New York, 2010

I borrowed this one from the library.  This is the second book to knock me off the TBR Dare,  it was worth it.

This is a  novel I could not stop reading.  It is a mystery, but so much more than that.

Silas “32” Jones has returned to the tiny town of  Chabot, Mississippi and is the town constable.  Larry Ott, an auto mechanic has been ostracized by the community ever since he was suspected in the disappearance of a high school acquaintance.  Now another girl has disappeared and Larry is the prime suspect.

It is a great story, a fine mystery, and the issue of friendship tinged by racism make it even stronger.  But it is Franklin’s writing that held me and has me wanting to read more of his work.  The narration moves back and forth in time and the depth of feeling Franklin shows between Larry and Silas as boys, and the distance that has come between them as men, is the main theme of this story, even as the mystery is built up around them.

They rolled the push mower out of the barn and into the sunlight and Larry showed him how to check the oil and the gas and how to prime the pump, how to pull the cord to crank it.  Then, yelling over the noise, Larry showed him how to adjust the motor speed and push the mower in rows, narrowing towards a center.  Silas snatched the handle and said okay, his turn.  He loved it, the buzz of the motor, hot fresh cut grass in the air, between his bare toes, wild onion sizzling on the frame, the bar vibrating in his fists and the occasional mangled stick flung from the vent.  When he was a kid one time, Larry yelled, walking alongside Silas, Larry’s daddy was cutting grass and Larry watching and his daddy ran over a rock that shot like a bullet and bounced off Larry’s bare stomach and left a red imprint of itself.  Larry’s daddy had laughed real hard.  Even took a Polaroid and laughed every time he looked at it.  You had to be careful of where you let the vent aim, was Larry’s point.  You didn’t want to spray any rocks out towards any cars or towards people, see?   Silas turned and left Larry standing and mowed rows and rows and kept mowing, loving the design he was making.  It felt good, like combing his hair..From page 151.

There is innocence here, mixed with the struggles of growing up, and the pressure from adults to copy beliefs and prejudices.  It is a beautifully drawn story and will be one of my favorites of the year.

Have you read and reviewed this novel?  Leave a comment and I will add your link.

Other reviews:

Caribousmom Fizzy Thoughts,   Mysteries in Paradise The Book Lady’s Blog, The Literate Housewife,


Filed under ContemporaryFiction, Mystery, Review

11 responses to “Crooked Letter, Crooked Letter by Tom Franklin

  1. I have read this, and it makes my heart sing that you loved it too. There are multiple mysteries here, and that makes your brain spin, but it is really about friendship conquering racism, about being different, and generally embraces all things Southern. I am actually speaking to Franklin for my book club in a couple weeks. If you have any burning questions you’d like me to ask him, let me know!

    • Sandy, I did love C.L.C.L.. Am loving it more every time I think of it. I have no burning questions for Franklin but please pass on my appreciation to him for this wonderful novel!

  2. I had this out from the library, but didn’t get a chance to read it. I will have to try again soon!

  3. Oh, yes, try and get to Crooked Letter, Crooked Letter sooner rather than later!

  4. So glad to see you enjoyed this one as much as I did, Gavin (and thanks for the link love, too!). I agree, it is Franklin’s writing that makes this one so exceptional. If you like this style, I strongly recommended John Hart’s books which have a very similar literary style, are set in the south, and are great mystery/thriller/suspense books. I find Franklin and Hart to be very similar authors…

  5. Mm, I love mysteries tinged with racism. Adding this to the list!

  6. Pingback: Sunday Salon – Is It Spring Yet? | Page247

  7. I too look forward to seeing what Franklin comes up with next. I love the quote you included.

  8. Ti

    I thought I was finally going to get to read this, but then the gal that promised to pitch it to my book club decided to pitch another book. I’m glad you liked it. I still have it on my list to read at some point.

  9. Pingback: Book Review: Crooked Letter, Crooked Letter « ReviewsbyLola's Blog

  10. Pingback: Sunday Salon – Late Again | Page247

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