This week’s featured book:
Crooked Letter, Crooked Letter
Author: Tom Franklin
In the 1970s, 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.
This is a remarkable story that you don’t want to miss. It goes beyond being a murder mystery; that’s actually just a smaller part of it, although certainly important. The story flips between past and present throughout the book and adds bits and pieces of information along the way about the childhood and adult lives of both protagonists, Larry and Silas, about their shaky boyhood friendship and about their relationship, if any, in the present. Eventually all the gaps are filled and the story becomes whole.
It is a very insightful look into how we sometimes judge people by their outward appearance and how mob mentalities can lead to social isolation and loneliness. I felt sorry for Larry throughout the story even as I wondered whether he was an actual murderer. He’s quiet, sensitive and naïve, which makes it difficult to imagine him as a cold-blooded killer. But is it possible that there’s another side to him? You’ll have to read the book to find out.