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Book Review: Crooked Letter, Crooked Letter by Tom Franklin


As children, Larry and Silas are brought together and soon become friends, despite their parents' objections to their spending time together. They enjoy a summer of adventures in the woods around their homes but just as quickly as it begins, the friendship is broken. When they are teenagers, Larry takes a girl on a date to a movie and she goes missing. He is never charged with a crime, but he spends his life isolated from everyone in the small town because of their suspicions. Silas leaves town soon after, but returns as constable many years later. Another girl goes missing and Larry is once again a prime suspect. As Silas tries to uncover the truth of the missing girl, as well as a few other interesting cases, we slowly uncover the details behind their friendship and what tore it apart.

Crooked Letter, Crooked Letter by Tom Franklin is a mystery, but definitely not a thriller. It's much quieter than that. Much more literary. I found the story to be compelling and the characters to be interesting, but the way the novel was written just didn’t pull me in as much as I had expected. It was well-written, but perhaps the style of writing didn’t work for me. Or maybe it was the pace. It’s funny because within the first couple of chapters, a person is shot, a dead body is found and we learn of two different missing girls. This seems like a strong beginning, but it isn’t as exciting as it sounds. There was more description of these events than action. There was also a lot of reflection on the part of the characters, which is nice, but it can slow things down a bit.

With all that said, when I sit back and think of this novel as a whole, I really did enjoy it. I'm glad I read it. And I am still contemplating adding it to my list of options for my book club. I think there are several interesting topics to discuss: racism in the south, family issues and bullying to name a few. I just think it was a bit slower than I had expected, and didn’t have quite the impact I thought it might have since so many people had recommended it.

My Rating: 3.5/5

Read an excerpt
Reading group guide

This review was written based on a copy of Crooked Letter, Crooked Letter that I purchased.

Comments

  1. I've been thinking about reading this one!

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  2. I'm a little surprised that I loved this one as much as I did, because I expected a true mystery/thriller, and like you pointed out, it was much more than that. Definitely more character driven.

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  3. I tired to read this but it just didn't grab me. i wasn't sure if i needed to give it some more pages or what but it was so easy to put down. i may try once again.

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  4. Sometimes..the quiet and slowly paced ones can creep up and make one like them!

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  5. I love all of Tom Franklin's work. The characters are real and you will end up caring deeply about them. I could not read it fast enough to see how it ended and I do not say that about many books at all. A very good use of your time.

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