Crooked Letter, Crooked Letter by Tom Franklin

crooked-letterSeveral people have recommended Crooked Letter, Crooked Letter by Tom Franklin to me over the years. Mindy from Minty Fresh Mysteries even gave me a copy. But it wasn’t until Amy at Read A Latte said it was worth reading if you are a fan of Serial, that i dove in. As an aside, if you’re not listening to Serial already, download the podcast today.

Larry Ott’s life is in ruins. Twenty years ago his date went missing and the case has never been solved. Now another girl in their rural Mississippi neck of the woods has gone missing. Is he the culprit? Recovering in hospital after a gun shot wound -self inflicted? – the story of his life unravels before our eyes.

It is difficult to say whether or not I really liked this book or not. I found it hard to get into, but by page 132 I could not put it down.

One of my problems with it, is that it was really quite depressing. Larry’s father is cruel. Alcoholism, domestic violence, poverty and racial tensions suffuse the first third of the book, to the point where they overtook the story. I felt utterly depressed.

But I think that with everything that is going on in the United States right regarding race and police brutality, Crooked Letter, Crooked Letter is an important book to read. There is plenty of both in the story. One thing that is highlighted is how over the last fifty years, perhaps we have not changed as much as we thought.

Who would like this book? Like Amy says, this is a book that would be great for fans of Serial. What that means is that it is a smart, well-written mystery that unravels slowly. Because of the southern setting it is reminiscent of Flying Shoes by Lisa Howarth, but much grittier. The element of a childhood friendship resurfacing to reveal something about a past crime brings The Wicked Girls by Alex Marwood to mind. That being said, Crooked Letter, Crooked Letter wasn’t really my cup of tea. Often Southern Literature doesn’t do it for me, and this book can be firmly classified as Southern Literature.


  1. I’ve heard really good things about this book, and as a Serial fan, I really want to read it now. It’s sad to think how relevant this book still seems to be, re: racial tensions and police brutality; it seems like an important book, even if it’s not your cup of tea.

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