Crooked Letter, Crooked Letter is set in rural Mississippi in the 1970s and completely envelopes the reader in the atmosphere of that time and place. The two main characters of the book are Larry Ott, a white, middle class loner and Silas ‘32’ Jones, a black constable from a single parent impoverished background. The book is as much about the relationship between Larry and ‘32’ as it is about the plot.
As children, Larry and ‘32’ formed an unlikely (white children and black children would not normally be friends) secret friendship for a short time. Then as a teenager, the quiet, horror book addicted, Larry takes a girl out for a date and she is never seen again. Larry is accused of, but not charged with, her murder and ostracised by the entire town. ‘32’ leaves town to study and even when he returns as the town’s constable, he continues to avoid Larry because of his feelings of guilt about a secret buried in their past.
Now, 25 years after the first girl disappeared, another girl in the town has gone missing and the blame is immediately placed on Larry. As feelings against Larry escalate, ‘32’ is placed in a position where his deepest secret must be brought out into the open and after several decades he must finally speak with Larry.
I was totally drawn into the atmosphere of this novel to the point where my reading slowed down and I started to read with a Southern accent. The writing made it easy to see and feel the surroundings in which the characters were portrayed, and the story made you feel for the injustices of the characters’ lives. The book was extremely enjoyable and I would recommend it to anyone. I’m looking forward to finding out if Tom Franklin’s other books are as good.
Book Published 2010