5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
Extraordinary Picture of His Chosen Time and Place,
This review is from: Crooked Letter, Crooked Letter (Paperback)"Crooked Letter, Crooked Letter," an Edgar Award Nominee for best novel, is the latest crime novel from Tom Franklin, already an Edgar Award winner, author of the highly-thought of Hell at the Breech, Smonk: Or Widow Town and Poachers. It is set in the author's native American South, in a small town in deepest Mississippi, not that far, I imagine, from Oxford, MI, where Franklin teaches at the University of Mississippi. It offers lots of Southern Gothic, not to mention southern-fried menace, to its readers. And, oh, yes, southern children are, according to the author, taught to spell Mississippi as, "M, I, crooked letter, crooked letter, I, crooked letter, crooked letter, I, humpback, humpback, I."
In the 1970s, Amos, MI is a quiet rural town, with Silas "32" Jones, son of a poor, black, single mother, as its lone law enforcement officer. As a rule, not much happened here. But twenty years or so ago, during Jones' high school years-- he shone at baseball,"32" was his number--the teenage Cyndy Walker disappeared after a date to the local drive-in movie with the widely disliked and despised Larry Ott, child of the white working class. At the time, Silas and Larry were friends, in secret, as even interracial friendship was not tolerated at the time. Cyndy's body has never been found, nor has any evidence to prove that Larry killed her: nevertheless, the entire town has assumed Larry's guilt, and has shunned him.
Larry, who inherited his father's garage, has spent many years suffering in lonely solitude, become reclusive. Then, suddenly, someone tries to kill the mechanic, another lovely young woman goes missing, and the town's drug dealer is murdered. Silas has avoided Larry for all that time, but now, as a constable, he must renew his relationship with Larry, to try to solve Amos's crime wave, and the two men must try to overcome the obstacles they have kept secret that stand between them.
Franklin is a fine writer, and gives us an atmospheric, resonant small southern town at some critical moments in its history. His narrative and descriptive writing are excellent, his plotting complex, well able to hold my attention, and his characters so sharply drawn that I couldn't help but sympathize with Larry's unhappy plight. Many reviewers have already lauded this book, but please allow me to be another. The author draws an extraordinary picture of his chosen time and place, while giving us an involving mystery, all in exquisite, poetic language.
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Initial post: 30 Jun 2012 15:21:06 BDT
Last edited by the author on 30 Jun 2012 15:21:43 BDT
Stephanie....a fine review. CROOKED LETTER should become a classic Southern tale
full of "Southern Gothic, not to mention southern-fried menace"....but we agree it's not much of a mystery.
In reply to an earlier post on 30 Jun 2012 18:48:49 BDT
Stephanie DePue says:
Jane, Yes, not much of a mystery. But ably carried by everything else, hey, thanx for stopping by, DOWN RIVER still on my TBR pile, but of course that grows every day, despite my best efforts,
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