Crooked Letter, Crooked Letter by Tom Franklin
In the deep southeast corner of Mississippi, where insular lives are as entwined and tangled as the kudzu that covers nearly everything, live two men who are bound together by a crime from the past — and more. Silas, the local baseball hero, has returned home after 20 years to become the town constable. Larry, his onetime friend, lives a life as an outcast for the suspected (but never proven) murder of a girl shortly before high school graduation.
The year of their fleeting friendship was 1979, but in this part of Mississippi, it’s as though the civil rights era never took place. It’s the deep rift of racism that keeps Silas, who is black, and Larry, who is white, from fully realizing their friendship. Now, in present day, another girl has been murdered, and Larry is the sole suspect. Despite Larry’s attempts to contact him, Silas, like the others in the town, wants nothing to do with him.
So begins a story with many mysteries. Who killed the girl 20 years ago? Is the current murder linked, and if so, how? This brilliantly written novel is one that examines how the past can so ruthlessly shape the present and how, sometimes, it can be redeemed no matter how egregious.
Written in true Southern voice, this novel is sometimes wryly humorous, sometimes heartbreaking, but always captivating. The many themes addressed makes this a perfect novel for book groups of all types and one that the reader will likely never forget.
Harper Perennial/HarperCollins; ISBN 978-0-06059-467-1; $14.99.
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