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Crooked Letter, Crooked Letter: A Novel by…
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Crooked Letter, Crooked Letter: A Novel (original 2010; edition 2010)

by Tom Franklin

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
1,5091844,901 (4)213
Member:LizzySiddal
Title:Crooked Letter, Crooked Letter: A Novel
Authors:Tom Franklin
Info:William Morrow (2010), Edition: First Edition, First Printing, Hardcover, 288 pages
Collections:Your library, To read, Read but unowned
Rating:****
Tags:in 2011, fiction, review copy, American, read 2012, C21

Work details

Crooked Letter, Crooked Letter by Tom Franklin (2010)

Recently added bycsweder, private library, Jolynne, susanbevans, mtoc54, mackenzie.roy2, Trina0401
2010 (11) 2011 (19) 2012 (17) audiobook (10) book club (15) crime (28) crime fiction (10) ebook (20) fiction (177) friendship (44) Kindle (23) library (11) missing persons (17) Mississippi (103) murder (49) mystery (158) novel (10) race (12) race relations (28) racism (41) read (24) read in 2011 (23) read in 2012 (15) relationships (10) small town (10) South (17) southern (20) southern fiction (21) suspense (9) to-read (68)
  1. 20
    A Prayer for Owen Meany by John Irving (pdebolt)
    pdebolt: There is a similar poignancy to Larry Ott and Owen Meany as they struggle to find their place in their worlds.
  2. 20
    The Orchard Keeper by Cormac McCarthy (fuzzy_patters)
  3. 10
    Citrus County by John Brandon (GCPLreader)
  4. 00
    Paris Trout by Pete Dexter (whymaggiemay)
    whymaggiemay: Both books take place in the south, though in different states. The underlying racial tone is very similar.
  5. 00
    A Crime in the Neighborhood by Suzanne Berne (aliklein)
  6. 00
    In the Heat of the Night by John Ball (VictoriaPL)
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» See also 213 mentions

Showing 1-5 of 187 (next | show all)
I picked this book up based on the recommendation of a podcast I list to (Literary Disco--for those of you who don't listen, I highly recommend it!). Their discussion of this book had me getting it from my library as soon as it was available.

However the book was not quite what I expected from the discussion. It wasn't as mystery-thriller as I expected it to be, but it was a good, fun read that had me ignoring everyone and everything while I finished it.

It's got the prereqs--murder, a creepy guy everyone thinks did it, and a town full of secrets.

It's also short and easy to get through--so pick it up! ( )
  csweder | Jul 8, 2014 |
I didn't expect this book to have a missing person, a dead body, and a shooting all within the first couple of chapters! I was reading it for book group, after all, and book group books generally don't have that much excitement. This book bucks the trend, however, since it also has a plot that centers as much on human relationships as it does on action. One of the main characters is Larry. Larry grew up in the small MIssissippi town where the book is set, but hes now an outcast. When he was a teenager, he went out on a date with a girl. Who disappeared. No one can prove that Larry had anything to do with it, but his tendency to read horror novels and his quiet nature doom him to a live of solitude. The other major character is Silas. Silas is black and his family moved to Mississippi when he was a boy. Back then his race didn't win him many friends, but now he has returned and is the town's constable. And now there is another girl who is missing, and Silas is helping investigate her disappearance. Everyone else seems to think Larry may have had something to do with it. But Silas seems to know more about Larry than he is telling.
I and our group found this to be an intriguing read, and we enjoyed discussing it. As you can tell, it has a bit of a mystery to it, and it help keep the reader's interest as the secrets were revealed bit by bit. What really made it discussable was the treatment of the characters, which lead to us talking about what motivated each one. I highly recommend this to fans of thought provoking mysteries. ( )
1 vote debs4jc | Jul 1, 2014 |
Loved this book. Its everything I like in a novel. The setting, a small town in rural Mississippi, felt so real that I could picture every bit of it. The two main characters, linked together by history, blood, friendship, and ultimately, betrayal, were richly drawn and grew throughout the story. The story itself never dragged and continuous conflict drove it forward. Although the "whodunit" part was a little bit easy to guess, the author kept me guessing at other parts of the plot and the relationships between the characters. Much of the plot that took place during the 1970s was told through flashbacks and memories, but these episodes had enough tension in them to hold my interest until getting back to the contemporary plot. I'd never read this author and picked up this book on sale, but now will be looking for more of his books! ( )
1 vote lisamunro | May 13, 2014 |
As CROOKED LETTER, CROOKED LETTER opens we are introduced to Larry Ott going about daily routine in life. It's nothing special, just the same daily routine you or I experience with only the location and occupation being different for most. We can relate to this Larry and his hum drum existence. If we're not careful we can overlook the fact that Larry is completely alone in this first meeting. It is when we find him in his home facing a monster that we realize there is more to the story and this man Larry than meets the eye.
Next we're introduced to Silas "32" Jones, who is the local constable. When we first see Silas he is making his rounds as constable, when he notices some buzzards circling overhead. it is in this portion when the reader notices the issue of race becoming prominent in the writing. To make us better understand and perhaps to also make us form preconceived ideas in matters to come, the author tells us "white folk" or "white girl" not merely a missing college student the entire state is looking for. At the first reading, we merely pass them by as he has planted the notion and continues on to tell us of Silas' problems in everyday life, ie requesting a new bronco, constantly getting refused, much as he does with Larry in the first chapter. In addition, we see a little of the personal relationships Silas has with the people around him. He is well liked by those around him and has personal relationships. Silas has the almost perfect life.
By the end of the first two chapters we see two smart, likable men. It is only as the story continues the reader sees the depth of each man. At one point, we find both men were friends and liked each other until life intervened. Both men eventually leave their home in Chabot, Mississippi, only to return years later to face the problems of living in a small town where everyone knows everything about everyone. Unfortunately, not everything we know always turns out to be the truth.
In Larry, we see a man who keeps his faith in God and his fellow man. No matter what the world throws at him, he somehow continues living even though only his mother and perhaps one other woman in Chabot, Mississippi sees him for the person he is. In Silas we see a man doing the best he can while living with regrets of the past. Even though he can do nothing to change most of them, he perseveres until in the end, he tells the truth, setting himself free. In Wally, we see a man who is seemingly only known the bad life has to offer. Wally takes these experiences and develops the way society expects. In him, we see how the way we treat others can cause horrors in our own lives we never thought possible.
By the end of the story, the author has you considering how our preconceived ideas and our tendency to jump to conclusions lead us to the wrong conclusion. How our judgmental attitudes wrongly convict the innocent people around us and sometimes it can come back to haunt us. ( )
3 vote Teritree001971 | Apr 25, 2014 |
Great book. Makes you want to keep reading. ( )
  waeschle | Apr 9, 2014 |
Showing 1-5 of 187 (next | show all)
If you're looking for a smart, thoughtful novel that sinks deep into a Southern hamlet of the American psyche, "Crooked Letter, Crooked Letter" is your next book.
added by eereed | editWashington Post, Ron Charles (Sep 29, 2010)
 
added by lucy.depalma | editSCIS (pay site)
 
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Epigraph
M, I, crooked letter, crooked letter, I, crooked letter, crooked letter, I, humpback, humpback, I.

—How southern children are taught to spell Mississippi
Dedication
For Jeff Franklin
and
in loving memory
of
Julie Fennelly Trudo
For Jeff Franklin and in loving memory of Julie Fennelly Trudo
First words
The Rutherford girl had been missing for eight days when Larry Ott returned home and found a monster waiting in his house.
Quotations
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Disambiguation notice
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Black and white
secret kept, secret told
brothers to behold

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"...set in rural Mississippi. 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" --Publisher description.… (more)

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