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Crooked Letter, Crooked Letter – Book Review

Crooked Letter, Crooked Letter is a mystery thriller with melancholic undertones. This 2010 novel by Tom Franklin has gone on to win many hearts and awards, including the CWA Gold Dagger Award for Best Crime Novel of The Year.

What is it about?

This story is about two friends- Silas Jones and Larry Ott. Silas is now a traffic cop who was once a basketball player. Larry works as a mechanic. He was banished from the town of Chabot as he was accused of killing the girl he went out on a date with. Though no evidence proved him guilty of the crime, he was shunned by the whole town. The novel starts with Larry. The reader is taken into his life that he lives alone in his parents’ (now his) house in Mississippi.

Then the story goes back in time; what happened 25 years ago. It takes us to the incident that made Larry being held guilty for the murder of the high school girl.

The next chapters explore how Silas and Larry come to know each other and become the best of buddies.

Back to the present, another girl goes missing and Larry again finds himself in the middle of it. Then things turn nastier when Larry gets shot by an unidentified man. He gets saved, thanks to his best friend Silas, the only cop in the town.

The entire book continually oscillates between the past and present. Though the plot of the book sounds highly mysterious, after reading the book, you will be surprised that what it wants to say is entirely different than unraveling a mystery.

The Writing

The spot on and beautiful writing by Tom Franklin is what makes this harrowing story convincing and engaging. It adds soul to the story and despite your best efforts, you find yourself feeling the pain of and sympathy for the characters and their situations.

The Good

  • Incredibly told by the author’s heart-tugging language
  • The story that appears to be a murder mystery but is actually about something else completely

The Bad

  • The book leaves many questions that a reader may encounter unanswered, creating a sense of dissatisfaction at the end.


Go for Crooked Letter, Crooked Letter to enjoy a good piece of literature that stuns and mesmerizes and tugs at your heartstrings from time to time. We rate it 4/5 stars.