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Review: Crooked Letter, Crooked Letter

August 19, 2011

Larry Ott is a quiet, sensitive boy with a redneck father and sweet, compliant mother.  He’s not the type of son his father wants and he doesn’t fit in with the other kids.  Every night his mother prays for God to bring a special friend just for Larry.  When Silas moves nearby, it seems that her prayers may have been answered.

When Larry was in high school, a girl disappears and he was the last person to see her.  She’s never found and Larry never confesses, but everyone in town assumes the worst.  Twenty five years later Silas and Larry cross paths again because Silas is the town Constable when another young girl has gone missing and Larry is the prime suspect.

I can’t believe I waited so long to read Crooked Letter, Crooked Letter by Tom Franklin!  Filled with suspense and mystery, this book shows a small town at its worst.  Larry wasn’t convicted of a crime by the courts, but he was by his neighbors and he paid for it dearly.  I felt so badly for poor Larry – he was such a good, kind soul who just wanted to fit in.  Even though the book was set in Mississippi (hence the title of the book) I think it could have taken place in almost any small town in America.

This book had a great story and Franklin did a marvelous job of building suspense, tension and atmosphere.  I just had to know what was going to happen and couldn’t turn the pages fast enough.  The characters in the story are fantastic, too, even the ones I couldn’t stand.   Even when I didn’t like what they did, I felt their actions were true to their character.

With masterful writing and a focus on relationships rather than the crime, I would classify Crooked Letter, Crooked Letter as a literary mystery and I just loved it!   If you haven’t read it yet, what are you waiting for?

This was my book club’s pick for August and every single member of the group loved the book.  The only complaint was that the Southern dialect wasn’t quite right (which is odd since Franklin is from Alabama and lives in Mississippi) but we decided that the book might be difficult to read if it had been.  We found plenty to talk about, and only referred to the reading guide a few times.

Review copy provided by Harper Collins. I am an Indiebound Affiliate.
52 Comments leave one →
  1. Veens permalink
    August 19, 2011 5:34 am

    Wow, sounds awesome. I am adding this to my wishlist, I remember reading about this book a lot few months back. Your book club reads a lot of good books.

  2. August 19, 2011 6:26 am

    This sounds like a fantastic read. I don’t think I’ve seen many reviews but what I saw was positive.

  3. August 19, 2011 6:34 am

    FYI the audio is fabulous. My book club read it too, and even had Franklin call in and talk to us and totally charmed us. Such a humble guy with a wicked sense of humor, loves his wife and just had a new baby! He is deserving of every award he wins from this book. Is he going to be at SIBA? I sure hope so.

  4. kaye permalink
    August 19, 2011 6:42 am

    TBG and I really enjoyed this one too. Like you, I couldn’t turn the pages fast enough. Excellent review, Kathy!!

  5. August 19, 2011 6:46 am

    I thought this one was a great read as well. Glad u liked it.

  6. August 19, 2011 7:01 am

    It’s a great book, isn’t????

  7. August 19, 2011 7:33 am

    I have this one on my TBR pile. I think I need to move it to the top.

  8. August 19, 2011 7:58 am

    I actually started reading this on my nook almost a year ago and got distracted somehow with another book and never got back to it. I don’t know what I’m thinking because I did like it up to where I was. I need to get back to it!!!

  9. August 19, 2011 8:10 am

    I’m so glad you finally read it! I’ve been raving about it for so long, and finally my husband read it and he felt the same way as you, that he couldn’t believe he had kept putting it off when it was so good!

  10. August 19, 2011 8:33 am

    I have this one on my shelves and just haven’t gotten to it yet. I really need to!

  11. August 19, 2011 8:47 am

    Definitely a great read! We were going to read for our book club but I wasn’t sure if some of our ladies would be able to handle the tension and the language. But once I read, I had to pass my copy around and so far they’ve each really liked it! Guess I should let people make up their own mind – lesson learned!

  12. August 19, 2011 8:48 am

    Glad you liked it – it was on my favorites list last year. Now I’m wondering what was off with the dialect (me being a northerner and all 😉 )

  13. August 19, 2011 9:08 am

    I read this book a while back and enjoyed it, I’m glad you did too. Happy weekend, Kathy!

  14. August 19, 2011 9:16 am

    I have this book….I bet I will be saying the same thing as you: “Why did I wait so long.” 🙂

    It sounds really good.

    THANKS for the nudge. 🙂


  15. August 19, 2011 9:33 am

    I thought this book had fantastic character development and relationships!

  16. August 19, 2011 9:42 am

    I love this book too! I think perhaps Franklin opted for a more subtle dialect for readability’s sake. Dialect in print can be great, but if it detracts from the pace of the story it can be frustrating.

  17. August 19, 2011 10:29 am

    I think you know that I also loved this book Kathy. I thought it was written very well, but now that I think about it your group is correct about the dialect. Glad you enjoyed it also!

  18. August 19, 2011 10:32 am

    I loved this book as well, and thought that it was just so well done. There was just such a great atmosphere surrounding the story and characters, and though it was sometimes sad, it also ended on a hopeful note. Great review! I am so glad you loved it!

  19. August 19, 2011 10:50 am

    I can’t believe that I still haven’t read it! I’ve been hearing so much about this one and I did nearly read it at least twice. I have to get hold of this book!

  20. August 19, 2011 10:53 am

    I loved this one too. I thought it was incredibly well written with fantastic characters!

  21. August 19, 2011 10:53 am

    I’ve had this book on my wish list forever but haven’t run across it yet except in bookstores and I can’t buy any more books for a while. I’ll bet it was at the book sale I missed. Maybe he toned down the dialect because he was hoping us Yankees would read it. 🙂

  22. August 19, 2011 11:06 am

    I liked but didn’t love this. I’m really glad that so many people did enjoy it.

  23. August 19, 2011 11:09 am

    I do confess to being curious now if he killed her or not

  24. August 19, 2011 12:14 pm

    I have had this on my wish list for a very long time. I have not read a bad review for it so I am not sure what my holdup is. I am glad to hear you enjoyed it. I’ll check the library for it next time I go.

  25. August 19, 2011 12:42 pm

    This was just such an atmospheric book! I really enjoyed it too.

  26. August 19, 2011 12:59 pm

    I loved this book, one of my favorites of the year.

  27. August 19, 2011 1:23 pm

    This must go on my tbr list, sounds like a good read.

  28. August 19, 2011 2:41 pm

    I’ve been wanting to read this one. I love books, but why are there so many good ones? It’s so hard to read everything you want to read.

  29. August 19, 2011 3:50 pm

    I picked this up a while back after seeing so many good reviews. I’m glad to see you liked it too. It makes me eve more anxious to read it.

  30. August 19, 2011 4:31 pm

    It sounds really good…it has been in the back of my mind for awhile…just one of those that gets pushed to the back of the pile.

  31. August 19, 2011 4:44 pm

    I really enjoyed this book as well (my thoughts: and I also read it for a book club.

  32. August 19, 2011 5:34 pm

    Glad to see that this one generates discussion. I really enjoyed Crooked Letter, Crooked Letter. It turned out to be different from what I was expecting but in a good way. I’ve already suggested it to others.

  33. stacybuckeye permalink
    August 19, 2011 6:54 pm

    I’ve just recently added this to my wish list because of the number of great reviews it has gotten by book lovers.

  34. August 19, 2011 7:28 pm

    Glad you liked this one just as much as I did.

  35. stilettostorytime permalink
    August 19, 2011 7:40 pm

    I might have to check this one out. I don’t usually read mysteries but of late I have been diving into a few on the side. Maybe I will do the audio of this one. Thanks for the great review…so jealous you are part of a book club. I do miss that but currently this Mommy job keeps me from things like that. I get my reading done while simultaneously giving a bath or watching Mickey Mouse! Such is life! =)

  36. August 19, 2011 8:11 pm

    I have this book and I’m saying to myself right now, why haven’t I read this yet?!

  37. August 19, 2011 8:56 pm

    I have had this in my TBR pile too and still haven’t gotten to it. Thanks for reminding me that I need to read this thriller.

  38. August 19, 2011 9:01 pm

    I have to try this one again; I checked it out a while ago and couldn’t get into it!

  39. August 19, 2011 9:26 pm

    I am so glad that not only did you like this one but your entire book club did too! I thought it was spectacular–definitely one of my favorites of the year!

  40. August 19, 2011 10:38 pm

    This sounds like one with some good characters. I’m going to see if it’s on audiio.

  41. August 20, 2011 12:08 am

    I guess I’m going to have to add this one to my TBR list. It looks better to me every time I see a review.

  42. August 20, 2011 12:40 am

    I have had a copy of this book TWICE and both times gave it away before I had a chance to read it! I’m kicking myself now because all of the reviews I’ve read have been fantastic! Glad you enjoyed it!

  43. August 20, 2011 1:18 am

    Sounds really good, I’ve been wanting to read some good mystery for a while, it sounds like this book would be it. Thanks for the review Kathy. btw, I love the title

  44. August 20, 2011 3:44 pm

    I saw this on your FB page and was thrilled to read that you loved it. I have to GET THIS ONE!

  45. August 20, 2011 9:01 pm

    Yes … what am I waiting for? EVERY review I’ve read has raved about this book. I need to stop procrasinating and just read it already.

  46. August 21, 2011 11:22 am

    LOL! I have no idea what I’m waiting for! This one certainly has gotten a lot of raves around the blogosphere and I’m glad your group liked it.

  47. August 21, 2011 12:00 pm

    Your review has convinced me to read this! I’ve read many others that rave about this book. I like that that you described it as a literary mystery…intriguing! That is high praise that your book club all liked it says a lot. I may get this one on audio book and listen to it if I can’t find a paper copy.

  48. August 21, 2011 2:11 pm

    I want to read this book I was just waiting for the fervor to die down. I tend to get very excited about a book and expect too much when everyone is talking it up. It does sound like a wonderful literary mystery! I’m so glad you enjoyed it so….I feel for Larry & I haven’t even read the book yet!

  49. August 21, 2011 4:02 pm

    Well, with praise like that, how can I not put this on my TBR list? This sounds like a fantastic book with some really great characters! Thanks for a great review.

  50. August 22, 2011 10:01 am

    Yay! I’m glad you loved this one, too. It made my Best Reads list last year. Mr. Joy is currently reading it and is enjoying it, too.

  51. August 23, 2011 10:04 pm

    I keep seeing great reviews of this, but I haven’t had a chance to read it yet. I had it out from the library earlier this year, but I returned it unread. There are just not enough hours in the day!

  52. August 28, 2011 10:39 pm

    I loved this one but I wasn’t sure if it would work for a women’s book club. Sounds like it certainly did for your group. I may have to pitch it to my club after all!

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