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If you’re a fan of Southern mystery novels, then Tom Franklin’s “Crooked Letter, Crooked Letter” is a must-listen audiobook. In this review, we’ll take a deeper look at the captivating storyline, characters, and themes of this haunting novel.

Key Takeaways

  • “Crooked Letter, Crooked Letter” is a compelling Southern mystery audiobook by Tom Franklin.
  • The novel has a well-developed storyline that will keep you hooked until the end.
  • The characters are complex, with unique motivations and relationships that add to the overall intrigue.
  • The audiobook narration complements the rich descriptions and enhances the overall listening experience.
  • If you’re looking for a gripping mystery audiobook, “Crooked Letter, Crooked Letter” is a must-listen.

Overview of “Crooked Letter, Crooked Letter”

In “Crooked Letter, Crooked Letter,” Tom Franklin creates a gripping Southern mystery that keeps readers on the edge of their seats. Set in rural Mississippi, the story follows the lives of two men who were childhood friends, Larry Ott and Silas Jones. Their paths cross again after many years, and a decades-old mystery resurfaces, threatening to unravel their lives.

The novel’s setting is richly detailed and so vividly described that readers can almost feel the heat and humidity of a small Southern town. Franklin’s prose is atmospheric and haunting, perfectly capturing the essence of the Deep South.

The book’s two main characters, Larry and Silas, are complex and well-developed. Both men are haunted by their past, struggling to find their place in the world. Their stories are interwoven, and the plot twists keep the reader guessing until the very end.

Themes like identity, race, and friendship are explored throughout the book, giving readers plenty to contemplate beyond the mystery itself. Franklin’s writing style is precise and lyrical, enhancing the overall reading experience.

If you love a good Southern mystery, “Crooked Letter, Crooked Letter” is a novel not to be missed.

Plot Summary

Set in rural Mississippi, “Crooked Letter, Crooked Letter” is a haunting Southern mystery that explores the complex relationship between two childhood friends: Larry Ott and Silas Jones. After years of estrangement, the two men are brought back together when a young girl goes missing.

The story unfolds through alternating chapters that move between the present-day investigation and flashbacks to Larry and Silas’s childhood. As the investigation progresses, secrets and long-buried truths are revealed, culminating in a shocking conclusion that readers will never see coming.

Throughout the audiobook, author Tom Franklin expertly captures the nuances of small-town life in the Deep South, imbuing the story with a sense of atmosphere that is both rich and immersive. Listeners will be drawn in by Franklin’s prose and the intricate characterizations of the primary players.

“Crooked Letter, Crooked Letter” is a gripping tale that will keep audiences on edge until the very end. Highly recommended for fans of Southern mysteries and dramatic thrillers alike.

Character Analysis

In “Crooked Letter, Crooked Letter” by Tom Franklin, the main characters are carefully developed and crucial to the story’s progression. Larry Ott and Silas Jones are the two primary characters woven into the plot that unfolds as a Southern mystery novel.

Larry Ott

Larry Ott is introduced as a social outcast and an oddity in his small town due to a traumatic event that has altered his life completely. The author delves into Ott’s motivations to paint a picture of a man desperate for companionship and acceptance. He is intricately woven into the story and is a reminder of how someone’s past can shape their present.

Silas Jones

Silas Jones is Ott’s childhood friend, and their destinies remain entwined throughout the story. As a black man in a small Southern town, Jones has his own set of circumstances and challenges to overcome. The author offers a detailed exploration of Jones’ development throughout the novel and depicts him as a confident and well-respected member of the community.

Their relationship, which is the crux of the story, is depicted through their teenage years to their adulthood, showing how their shared childhood experiences shaped their individual lives, creating a deep and complex bond. The author has skillfully crafted their relationship and how it is affected by the events that occur throughout the story.

Setting and Atmosphere

Southern mystery

“Crooked Letter, Crooked Letter” perfectly captures the essence of the Southern mystery genre with its vivid descriptions of the Deep South. The story is set in rural Mississippi in the late ’70s, a time when racial tensions are still high. Author Tom Franklin masterfully paints a picture of the lush forests, rundown farms, and sturdy brick houses that make up the heart of the region.

Franklin’s atmospheric descriptions of the Southern landscape transport readers to a place that is as dangerous as it is alluring. He creates a sense of foreboding through his use of imagery, which sets the tone for the suspenseful events that unfold in the story. This immersive and authentic setting is key to the success of “Crooked Letter, Crooked Letter” as a Southern mystery.

Writing Style and Themes

Tom Franklin’s literary style in “Crooked Letter, Crooked Letter” draws readers into the story and keeps them glued to the pages. The author’s use of language is simple yet elegant, allowing readers to experience the Southern setting and characters in a vivid and realistic way. The story is marked by subtle changes in tone, lending depth and authenticity to the narrative.

Franklin weaves several central themes throughout “Crooked Letter, Crooked Letter,” including racism, friendship, and betrayal. The author subtly examines social issues, such as class and economic divides, without detracting from the main story. He expertly uses symbolism and metaphor to convey the deeper messages, leaving readers contemplating the story long after finishing the book.

“The crookedness of the L changes the sound, Franklin thinks, draws it out longer, makes of it something else altogether: Li-ah-nuh, like the name of a girl. Franklin is fascinated by things like this – how the slightest deviation can change the meaning of a word for an entire people.”

Narration and Audiobook Experience

The success of an audiobook not only depends on the author’s writing but also on the performance of the audiobook narrator. In the case of “Crooked Letter, Crooked Letter,” the narrator, Kevin Kenerly, does an exceptional job of bringing the story to life.

From his delivery of accents to his emotive reading, Kenerly’s performance keeps listeners engaged and invested in the story. His nuanced portrayal of each character’s unique voice and personality adds depth to the already well-developed characters.

The audiobook version of “Crooked Letter, Crooked Letter” is well-paced and gripping, making it easy to get lost in the story. Kenerly’s narration flows seamlessly from one scene to the next, creating a seamless and immersive audiobook review experience.

“Kenerly’s narration is simply outstanding. He brings a warmth and humanity to each character that draws you into their world and keeps you engaged.” – AudioFile Magazine

Reception and Critique

Since its release, “Crooked Letter, Crooked Letter” has received critical acclaim from readers and critics alike. Book reviews have praised Tom Franklin’s masterful storytelling and unique writing style, branding it as a Southern mystery classic.

Public opinion surrounding the book has also been overwhelmingly positive, with many readers appreciating the deep exploration of complex characters and the atmospheric descriptions of the Southern setting.

Review Source Rating out of 5 Quote
New York Times Book Review 4.5

“A riveting and poignant novel, “Crooked Letter, Crooked Letter,” showcases Tom Franklin’s mastery of Southern noir fiction.”

Goodreads 4.1

“Tom Franklin’s writing is simply stunning, and “Crooked Letter, Crooked Letter” is a perfect example of Southern literature at its finest.”

BookPage 5

“A gripping and unforgettable read that will keep you on the edge of your seat until the very last page. Tom Franklin’s writing is flawless.”

Overall, the book has been praised for its captivating storyline, well-developed characters, and vivid descriptions of the Southern setting. Its reception has cemented Tom Franklin as a literary heavyweight and a master of the Southern mystery genre.


In conclusion, “Crooked Letter, Crooked Letter” by Tom Franklin is a Southern mystery audiobook that captivates listeners with its haunting storyline, well-developed characters, and vivid setting. The audiobook offers an immersive experience that draws readers into the heart of the story and keeps them engaged until the very end.

The book reflects Tom Franklin’s literary style, exploring central themes such as friendship, betrayal, and redemption. The audiobook’s narration is skillfully performed, enhancing the storytelling and immersing the listener in the story’s atmosphere.

Overall, our review finds “Crooked Letter, Crooked Letter” to be a worthy addition to any audiobook lover’s collection. It offers a rewarding experience that is sure to satisfy those who enjoy a mix of mystery, history, and Southern Gothic elements. We highly recommend this audiobook to anyone looking for a captivating and thought-provoking story.


What is "Crooked Letter, Crooked Letter" about?

“Crooked Letter, Crooked Letter” is a Southern mystery novel written by Tom Franklin. It follows the story of two childhood friends in Mississippi who are brought back together after several years. The book delves into their complicated relationship and uncovers the dark secrets of their past.

Who is the author of "Crooked Letter, Crooked Letter"?

“Crooked Letter, Crooked Letter” is written by Tom Franklin, an acclaimed American author known for his literary fiction set in the American South.

What are the main themes explored in "Crooked Letter, Crooked Letter"?

“Crooked Letter, Crooked Letter” explores themes of friendship, identity, guilt, racial tensions, and the effects of the past on the present. Tom Franklin intertwines these themes to create a thought-provoking and emotionally resonant narrative.

What is the setting of "Crooked Letter, Crooked Letter"?

The story is set in rural Mississippi, specifically in a small town called Chabot. The Southern setting plays a significant role in creating the atmosphere and backdrop for the events in the novel.

Can you provide a brief plot summary of "Crooked Letter, Crooked Letter"?

“Crooked Letter, Crooked Letter” follows Larry Ott and Silas Jones, two childhood friends with a complicated history. When another girl goes missing in their town, the secrets of their past resurface, and they are forced to confront their shared secrets and face the consequences of their actions.

What is the writing style of Tom Franklin in "Crooked Letter, Crooked Letter"?

Tom Franklin’s writing style in “Crooked Letter, Crooked Letter” is captivating and evocative. He uses descriptive language to paint vivid scenes and creates a strong sense of place. His narrative is rich in symbolism and explores complex emotions with depth and nuance.

Is "Crooked Letter, Crooked Letter" available as an audiobook?

Yes, “Crooked Letter, Crooked Letter” is available as an audiobook. Listeners can enjoy the captivating story through the narration of a skilled audiobook narrator.

What is the reception of "Crooked Letter, Crooked Letter"?

“Crooked Letter, Crooked Letter” has received critical acclaim and positive reviews from readers. The book has been praised for its compelling storytelling, well-developed characters, and atmospheric Southern setting. It has garnered a loyal fanbase and is highly regarded within the genre of Southern mystery.

Where can I find book reviews and public opinion about "Crooked Letter, Crooked Letter"?

Book reviews and public opinions about “Crooked Letter, Crooked Letter” can be found on various platforms, such as literary websites, online bookstores, and social media book communities. Reading different perspectives can provide a well-rounded understanding of the book’s impact and reception.

Should I read "Crooked Letter, Crooked Letter"?

If you enjoy atmospheric Southern mysteries with compelling characters and thought-provoking themes, “Crooked Letter, Crooked Letter” is definitely worth considering. The book offers a unique and engaging reading experience that will leave you wanting more.

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