Tom Franklin’s Crooked Letter, Crooked Letter is one of those crime novels where it’s not all about the crime itself. I appreciate that, especially since the crime in question is the disappearance of an attractive young woman. And then another, 25 years later. Vanishing women are so common in this genre that most books using the device start to become as tiresome as Nancy Grace.
This isn’t a review, since the book has been out for quite awhile and other reviewers have been suitably effusive in their praise. I’ll just agree that it’s an excellent novel, focused on characters as flawed and as memorable as anything Faulkner ever wrote.
The main character is Larry Ott, a pariah in his Mississippi hometown who is long suspected — but never charged — in the disappearance of a high-school classmate. The book’s slow reveal of long-buried secrets is probably the very definition of Southern Gothic. It’s tightly written, too, at maybe 250 pages. I haven’t read anything else by Franklin, but based on this I’ll say he’s a master of the craft.
In the unlikely event you haven’t heard of this book, check it out. I got it for only $2.99 on my Nook e-reader, and that’s the best bargain in reading I’ve ever found.