CROOKED LETTER, CROOKED LETTER, Tom Franklin, an Edgar Award winner, has become one of my favorite authors.
(There are no spoilers in my post)
This story set in Mississippi tells of two boys who weren't supposed to be friends. But they were so much more than friends. it was a time when black children and white children weren't to spend time together. But these boys did - for a time.
A few short years later in high school though, they had gone their separate ways. Larry Ott didn't have any friends but Silas Jones had become a popular star baseball player and looked forward to a college scholarship to Ole Miss. Life got much worse for Larry when local girl Cindy Walker disappeared after being on a date with Larry and was never seen or heard from again. The girl was never found and though the community blamed him, Larry never confessed to the crime. He simply had no explanation of what happened. His silence only condemned him further.
More than twenty years later, Silas returns and becomes the town Constable but he and Larry's paths do not cross. Then, eerily, another local girl disappears and all the speculation and accusations come flooding back and Larry's already solitary existence is made even more painful. As Silas, who believes in his heart his old friend is innocent, looks for answers, Larry fights for his life after an attack at his home leaves him in critical condition and under arrest.
I was so anxious to read this book after reading some great reviews of fellow bloggers. I waited two months for it at the library, then went ahead and downloaded the Kindle version instead. It is s quick read with easy southern dialogue. Franklin paints a truthful, vivid picture of life in Southern Mississippi and the effect that years of accusations can have on one man and the sense of shame on another for not standing by his old friend.
The story is not a complicated one and is written with such simplicity and small-town feel that its poignancy is magnified. Franklin allows the story to unfold in a natural manner allowing the reader to put the pieces together slowly while the revelations sink in. I felt such sorrow for Larry Ott and his family for how his life was formed because of a single night in his teen years. I struggled with my feelings for Silas but in the end, he won me over. The supporting characters added to the validity of the story and were very believable as well.
Though he didn't over-describe the settings, Tom Franklin left me with such a realistic picture of this small town in Mississippi. I felt like it could be any small southern town down the road. And I can't not mention how much I LOVE the cover! It's just beautiful! This book has made me curious about his other work and I plan to familiarize myself with it. This book is one of my favorites of this year and I highly recommend it. It's just good literature.
CROOKED LETTER, CROOKED LETTER
Author: Tom Franklin
Publisher: HarperCollins e-books
Published: October 2010
Printed Pages: 304
Rating: 5 Stars out of 5