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WINNER OF THE CWA GOLD DAGGER AWARD FOR BEST CRIME NOVEL OF THE YEAR.
Amos, Mississippi, is a quiet town. Silas Jones is its sole law enforcement officer. The last excitement here was nearly twenty years ago, when a teenage girl disappeared on a date with Larry Ott, Silas's one-time boyhood friend. The law couldn't prove Larry guilty, but Amos' residents have shunned him ever since.
Then the town's peace is shattered when someone tries to kill the reclusive Ott, another young woman goes missing, and the town's drug dealer is murdered. Woven through the tautly written mystery is the unspoken secret that hangs over the lives of two men - one black, one white.
Crooked Letter, Crooked Letter, winner of the CWA Gold Dagger Award for Best Crime Novel of the Year, is a masterful novel, sizzling with deep Southern menace.
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.