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Crooked letter, crooked letter [sound recording]
Franklin, Tom.
Adult Fiction FRANKLI

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From Publishers' Weekly:

Franklin's third novel (after Smonk) is a meandering tale of an unlikely friendship marred by crime and racial strain in smalltown Mississippi. Silas Jones and Larry Ott have known each other since their late 1970s childhood when Silas lived with his mother in a cabin on land owned by Larry's father. At school they could barely acknowledge one another, Silas being black and Larry white, but they secretly formed a bond hunting, fishing, and just being boys in the woods. When a girl goes missing after going on a date with Larry, he is permanently marked as dangerous despite the lack of evidence linking him to her disappearance, and the two boys go their separate ways. Twenty-five years later, Silas is the local constable, and when another girl disappears, Larry, an auto mechanic with few customers and fewer friends, is once again a person of interest. The Southern atmosphere is rich, but while this novel has the makings of an engaging crime drama, the languid shifting from present to past, the tedious tangential yarns, and the heavy-handed reveal at the end generate far more fizz than pop. (Oct.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

From Library Journal:

Franklin's evocative, moody novel is set in rural Mississippi, a red state as alien a place to me as the lunar surface. So while the landscape is unfamiliar (kudzu, armadillos) and the language is, uhh, homey (e.g., the N word and "ax" instead of "ask"), the familiar bits of a mystery are all present: a slowly unraveling plot, a less-than-motivated investigator, a police department that wants the whole thing to go away. It starts off-BLANG!-with the shooting of a loner/weirdo/bad guy. The hero who slowly figures out the particulars of the crime is Silas, a constable known more for his past baseball career than his competence. Franklin laces the book with descriptive appeal, as when Silas "eased up the steps, soft as moss, the porch like a cave, vegetation on all sides and bees boiling out of the white blooms... . Gently, he moved coils of ivy aside and peered through the snakehead kudzu leaves to where the front door was secured with a rusty padlock." The mix of unusual with common makes for a nice read. Sound good? (See also LJ's review in the July issue, posting 7/15/10.)-Douglas Lord, "Books for Dudes," BookSmack! 7/1/10 (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

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