Wednesday, 22 February 2012

Book #18 Crooked Letter, Crooked Letter by Tom Franklin

Crooked Letter, Crooked Letter

Crooked Letter, Crooked Letter is the story of Larry Ott and Silas Jones. Larry Ott is the town pariah, in his teens he took a girl on a date and she was never seen again. Larry Ott swore he was innocent, and nothing was ever proved, but he lives an isolated life, with no friends and is often asked to no longer frequent certain shops and even churches. He stands in the community as a murderer and he serves a life sentence of their prejudice.

Now another girl has gone missing. All fingers point to Larry Ott. Then a body is found under his porch.

Silas Jones is the local cop. It's his job to find the missing girl, his job to investigate Larry Ott. But, he was once Larry Ott's boyhood friend, at a time when white boys and black boys didn't socially mix. Like the rest of the town, Larry makes him uncomfortable and like everybody else he has backed away. Faced with a fresh investigation Silas has to confront their shared past.   

Crooked Letter, Crooked Letter has rave reviews on Amazon from Philip Roth to Dennis Lehane and is rated as five stars. I feel I am almost "wrong" in not having the same effusive reaction to it as such luminaries.

It isn't that the story isn't good, the novels big moments are really great, particularly the two reveals near the end, one of which is perhaps a bit guessable. It's just that I found two elements quite poor the connective tissue, the prose between event and event I often found a bit tedious. In addition this supposedly pivotal, deep bond between Larry and Silas is ultimately a very short lived and fractured friendship when set down on page, and doesn't seem to warrant the nostalgia each has for it before the secrets of the past are revealed.

I was quite disappointed in that. But, it is a good story nonetheless 7/10   

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