Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Review: Crooked Letter, Crooked Letter

Crooked Letter, Crooked Letter by Tom Franklin

Publication Date: May 2011
BoldPublisher: Harper Collins Publishers
Genre: Contemporary Fiction/ Mystery/ Suspense/ Thriller
Pages: Paperback, 304pp
ISBN-13: 9780060594671
ISBN: 0060594675

(Received for review from TLC Book Tours)

Tom Franklin on the WEB: website, facebook

Excerpt from Crooked Letter, Crooked Letter (courtesy of RT Book Reviews)
Book Trailer: This is an segment with Tom Franklin who talks about Crooked Letter, Crooked Letter (It's a really good one!)

Synopsis (Book Blurb):

In the 1970's, Larry Ott and Silas "32" Jones were boyhood pals in a small town in rural Mississippi. Their worlds were as different as night and day. Larry was the child of lower-middle-class white parents, and Silas the son of a poor, black single mother. But then Larry took a girl to a drive-in movie and she was never seen or heard from again. He never confessed... and was never charged.

More than twenty years have passed. Larry lives a solitary, shunned existence, never able to rise above the whispers of suspicion. Silas has become the town constable. and now another girl has disappeared, forcing two men who once called each other "friend" to confront a past they've buried for decades.


Tom Franklin has a way with words. His storytelling ability is unparalleled in his latest book,
Crooked Letter, Crooked Letter. The title is taken from a rhyme that helped Southern children learn to spell Mississippi years ago. Set in a small Mississippi town, two young boys forge a difficult friendship, one black and one white. Readers will love this suspenseful and artfully told story. It's start out with a bang and holds the readers attention to the last page. Ultimately, a book about hope and healing, this is a novel that will leave readers thinking long after the last page is turned.

Larry Ott and Silas Jones were friends in the 1970's even though is wasn't easy for a white boy and a black boy to be friends. Larry the son of mechanic and Silas the son of a single black mother are torn apart by circumstances beyond their control. Larry has lived a solitary existence since he took a young girl to the movies and she was never heard from again. Silas has gone on to bigger and better things before finally returning to the small town Mississippi twenty years later as a constable. Now another girl has gone missing and the townspeople wonder if it's Larry. He was never charged and never confessed to wrong doing in the first disappearance and now it might be up to Silas to prove whether he is innocent in this one.

This book was just a joy to read. Tom Franklin has such a way with words. You can tell he is a writer who understands about telling stories. His characters are three-dimensional and have many layers. His descriptions of the setting and circumstances make the reader feel like they are experiencing the sights and sounds the characters are. It almost read like a story you might hear an older person relating on the front porch. "There used to be this old guy named Larry, who had a mechanic's shop down on... " That was one of my favorite aspects of the book. It read like it was story being told. I think a lot of writers today have lost that storytelling quality, but Tom Franklin has definitely still got it!

I found myself really feeling a lot of empathy for Larry. Here is a kid who was somewhat of an outcast in school. He wasn't very popular. He didn't have the right kinds of friends, he didn't have much money or many opportunities and when he finally gets a chance to go out on a date with a pretty girl, things go in a totally different direction than he expects. By doing what he thought was the right thing, he ends up doing the wrong thing and even though they could never prove he did anything to the girl, he was never able to get over the stigma. He lives a solitary life, he has a dead end job and life just seems to hit him hard. I thought Franklin did a fantastic job of giving readers a character they could sympathize with. The reader will usually root for the underdog in most books and Larry certainly falls into that category. But he was so interesting. He was a man of few words, but you could tell that there was so much more to him.

This book is essentially about healing. Larry goes through some really traumatic things in his life and things look really bad, but there's always hope. Larry sort of symbolizes that. Readers will feel that Larry is somewhat vindicated in the end and that he grows and heals from the wounds he has suffered. I think Franklin wanted to express the idea that there can be redemption and that people can change they way others see them. There's always hope! But he wraps that message up in a very suspenseful thriller. Readers will be hanging on the edge of their seats and biting those nails to the quick, it's that gripping. I really enjoyed the heart-pounding sections of the book as well.

I recommend this one to readers who love mysteries and thrillers. I liked all the action and suspense, but Franklin's storytelling ability is off the scale. This is probably the best thriller I've read this year so far and that's saying a lot, when I think of the books I've read by Scottoline, Patterson, Lee Childs and other thriller writers. This is one you won't want to miss!

Crooked Letter, Crooked Letter is available in paperback NOW from your favorite bookseller.

I'm giving this one 5 out of 5 apples from my book bag!

Tom Franklin is the author of Hell at the Breech and Poachers. He lives in Oxford, Mississippi, with his wife, the poet Beth Ann Fennelly, and their three children. he teaches at the University of Mississippi.


Beth(bookaholicmom) said...

I have seen so many great reviews for this book. I have it on my wish list and will hopefully get to ti one of these days. Your review makes me want to read it even more.

justpeachy36 said...


This one is really good you don't want to miss it!

Anonymous said...

"hope and healing" are two themes I can get behind! Sounds like a great summer read. So glad you enjoyed this one.

trish said...

5 apples?! It *must* have been good! The best books I've read this year have all been mysteries/thrillers, so I'll be sure to read this one soon. :)