Tom Franklin's first book, Crooked Letter, Crooked Letter is a great new mystery set in the South. Reminiscent of John Grisham's earlier work, or John Hart (my new favorite), this tale opens in Mississippi at the scene of a murder. Alternating between the late 70s and the present, we quickly get to know Larry, who is in a coma fighting for his life after being shot by a masked man in his own home. As a child Larry was quiet, without friends, the easy target for peers. In high school he is asked out by a popular girl, but when the night of the date arrives it becomes clear that Larry was nothing more than an alibi for her real plans. Larry returns to the gravel road to pick her up as instructed in order to return her home on time, but she never shows. With her disappearance, Larry becomes the only suspect to this crime, further cementing his reputation around the town.
Now another girl has gone missing thirty years later and the police are out asking Larry what he knows about her. The only person who believes in Larry's innocence is Silas, an African American policeman who grew up with Larry and sees him for the gentle soul he is.
Eventually all crimes are resolved, but not without a little suspense and a few twists along the way.
This book's been getting a little buzz, which is well deserved. I managed to stay up late last night finishing it off, enjoying every page. I hope Franklin has a few more stories he wants to tell - I will be keeping my eye out for more from him.