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Jun 29 2012

ShareReads: Crooked Letter, Crooked Letter

by ShareReads

ShareReads intro

I am not normally drawn to realistic murder mysteries. I prefer my murders nice and tidy, light on details, heavy on wit and atmosphere. If the crime took place a century ago and on another continent, then so much the better. Every once in a while, however, a more realistic mystery is recommended to me over and over again. It shows up on “Best of …” lists and I feel compelled to see what all the fuss is about. That is how I discovered Crooked Letter, Crooked Letter by Tom Franklin.

Set in the small town of Chabot, Mississippi, Crooked Letter, Crooked Letter is the story of two men, one black and one white. They shared a brief but meaningful friendship when they were teenagers. This friendship ends, however, when a girl disappears and one of them is suspected of the crime. Twenty five years later, the men become reacquainted when another young girl disappears. While working to solve this new mystery, they discover secrets from their past that will either drive them apart or bring them together again.

This book was thoroughly enjoyable for a number of reasons. The characters were colorful and wonderfully flawed. The mysteries, past and present, unfolded slowly. And the mood of the location pervaded every scene. What I appreciated most about Crooked Letter, Crooked Letter, however, was the beautifully subtle way in which the author dealt with relationships between races, between family members and between friends. In this book, as in life, things are rarely black or white. Usually, the most important things lie somewhere in between.

{ 7 comments… read them below or add one }

Amy S June 29, 2012 at 12:41 PM

This sounds good. I’ll have to read it. — If you DO like realistic murder mysteries (set in the South no less), then I’d also recommend The Last Child by John Hart. This book won the 2010 Edgar Award for Best Novel from the Mystery Writers of America. John Hart’s other books (Down River = the 2008 Edgar Award for Best Novel, King of Lies, and Iron House) are also supposed to be good, but I haven’t read them. The author was born and raised in NC, and is a former attorney (but don’t let that scare you off).

Ardene June 29, 2012 at 3:03 PM

This one will probably make my best of list this year for the reasons you mention – the characters are flawed (but likeable) and the author deals with race and relationships subtly but realistically.

Leigh P. June 29, 2012 at 3:44 PM

I really enjoy stories where mood and location are almost characters, themselves. It’s as if any form of isolation or very little human contact become almost tangible. If anyone else is a fan of that, I suggest Carol Goodman’s “Lake of Dead Languages” and Barbara Vine’s “The Minotaur,” both of which contain a mystery or two. This book sounds like it’s right up my alley.

Deidre Watson July 6, 2012 at 5:39 PM

I love murder mysteries. I am like you. If is has a historical setting then it’s even better. I love anything set in the past, where it’s mysteries, romance, etc.

amysta July 16, 2012 at 7:30 AM

Have to say I finished reading this one and loved it. I loved everything about this book. It keep me wanting to read more and more of even when I did not have time to read.

Leigh P. August 22, 2012 at 8:20 PM

I recently finished this one and thank you for the recommendation. It was, indeed, a great read with fantastic characters. Silas played a great calm and controlled opposite Larry’s weird and misunderstood.

Maveita R. August 31, 2012 at 11:41 AM

I came across this book one day and I thought the synopsis was very interesting. I especially loved how the author related the relationship between the boys when they were young and how it evoleved as they got older.

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