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Extended Audio Sample Crooked Letter, Crooked Letter, by Tom Franklin Click for printable size audiobook cover
3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 3.00 (15,170 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Tom Franklin Narrator: Kevin Kenerly Publisher: Blackstone Audio Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date:
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In a small Mississippi town, two men are torn apart by circumstance and reunited by tragedy in this resonant new novel from the award-winning author of the critically-acclaimed Hell at the Breech.

Larry Ott and Silas “32” Jones were unlikely boyhood friends. Larry was the child of lower middle-class white parents, Silas the son of a poor, single, black mother—their worlds as different as night and day. Yet a special bond developed between them in Chabot, Mississippi. But within a few years, tragedy struck. In high school, a girl who lived up the road from Larry had gone to the drive-in movie with him and nobody had seen her again. Her stepfather tried to have Larry arrested but no body was found and Larry never confessed. The incident shook up the town, including Silas, and the bond the boys shared was irrevocably broken.

Almost thirty years have passed. Larry, a mechanic, lives a solitary existence in Chabot, never able to rise above the whispers of suspicion, the looks of blame that have shadowed him. Silas left home to play college baseball, but now he’s Chabot’s constable. The men have few reasons to cross paths, and they rarely do—until fate intervenes again.

Another teenaged girl has disappeared, causing rumors to swirl once again. Now, two men who once called each other friend are finally forced to confront the painful past they’ve buried for too many years.

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Quotes & Awards

  • “Lyrical, morally complex, superbly crafted, Crooked Letter, Crooked Letter further validates Tom Franklin’s status as one of America’s best writers.”

    Ron Rash, New York Times bestselling author

  • “Lately I’ve been wondering why, in an age when every new novel is hyped as a revolution of one sort or another, the classic trifecta of talent, heart, and a bone-deep sense of storytelling so rarely appears. But here it is: Tom Franklin’s Crooked Letter, Crooked Letter. One of the many pleasures of this book comes from watching Franklin walk several writerly tightropes at once without spilling a drop of his warm Mississippi beer. It’s a masterful performance, deftly rendered and deeply satisfying. For days on end, I woke with this story on my mind.” 

    David Wroblewski, New York Times bestselling author of The Story of Edgar Sawtelle

  • “Beautiful writing, a spot-on sense of place, wickedly funny dialogue, and an emotionally potent story charge this highly original, literary crime offering from master stylist Tom Franklin.”

    George Pelecanos, New York Times bestselling author

  • “A masterful performance, deftly rendered and deeply satisfying. For days on end, I woke with this story on my mind.”

    David Wroblewski, New York Times bestselling author of The Story of Edgar Sawtelle

  • “Long after the other seventy-five novels of suspense you’ve read this year merge in your memory, you’ll vividly recall this novel. Franklin has written not just a thriller of the first order, but a very fine novel, indeed.”

    Richard Russo

  • “A new Tom Franklin novel is always a reason to get excited, but Crooked Letter, Crooked Letter is more—a cause for celebration. What a great novel by a great novelist.”

    Dennis Lehane, New York Times bestselling author

  • Crooked Letter, Crooked Letter is about love and guilt and death and redemption. It’s about ordinary people like you and me, traveling through that extraordinary journey called life. I just love this book!”

    Ann Hood, bestselling author of The Knitting Circle

  • “A powerful literary thriller that walks a fine line between dead-serious social problems and bemused, perfectly framed observations of rural life.”

    Seattle Times

  • “[A] terrific new novel…If you’re looking for a smart, thoughtful novel that sinks deep into a Southern hamlet of the American psyche, Crooked Letter, Crooked Letter is your next book.”

    Washington Post

  • “Tom Franklin’s Crooked Letter, Crooked Letter pulls off a literary daily double: It’s a compelling mystery and a novel that transcends genre. The story—a man is ostracized in a community because he’s the last person seen with a girl who disappears—is enhanced by two finely wrought characters, Larry Ott and Silas “32” Jones, who remain indelibly etched in a reader’s consciousness long after the final page is turned.”  

    Pittsburgh Tribune-Review  

  • “An illuminating look at an all-too-human community during a time when racism and prejudice made monsters out of even the most familiar faces.”

    Atlanta Journal Constitution

  • “The writer’s incredible talent emerges as he delves into the issue of race through exploring events that have formed each man…Here is a novel to enjoy and remember, to recommend to story-loving friends.”

    Louisville Courier Journal


  • “Franklin plays the literary equivalent of the blues, digging beneath the surface to reveal tangled emotion and intricate motivation.”

    San Antonio Express News

  • “Narrator Kevin Kenerly highlights Franklin’s wonderful use of language; without negatively impacting the pace of the story, he manages to make listeners feel they’re savoring each perfectly written sentence. Between Franklin’s writing and Kenerly’s narration, this story will not be easily forgotten.”


  • “A ripping good mystery, this novel also has depth and a subtle literary side, as the local area comes to life through the writer’s cinematic descriptive phrases and a large and colorful cast of supporting characters. Highly recommended.”

    Library Journal (starred review)

  • “Edgar Award winner Franklin (Hell at the Breech, 2003) renders luminous prose and a cast of compelling characters in this moody, masterful entry.”

    Booklist (starred review) 

  • A New York Times Bestseller
  • Winner of the 2010 Los Angeles Times Book Prize for Mystery/Thriller
  • Selected for the October 2010 Indie Next List
  • A 2011 Barry Award Nominee for Best Novel
  • A 2011 Anthony Award Nominee for Best Novel
  • Winner of the 2011 CWA Gold Dagger
  • A 2010 Hammett Prize Nominee
  • A 2011 RUSA Notable Book for Fiction
  • A 2011 Edgar Allan Poe Award Nominee for Best Novel

Listener Opinions

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 by Jenny | 2/10/2014

    " I was totally engrossed by Franklin's story of two (secret) childhood friends who grow apart and come back together under the most unsettling of circumstances - the disappearance of two local girls twenty-five years apart. Franklin paints a unforgiving tableau of small-town Mississippi life where ghosts of the past are alive and well. Generations of residents in the "hamlet" of Chabot still taunt Larry Ott for a crime he allegedly committed when he was in high school. Silas Jones, the second half of the friendship, is the local "constable" who is still referred to by his high school baseball number, "32." These two men go toe-to-toe with the demons of their respective and shared pasts in a dark, gripping narrative not unlike the Stephen King short stories that Larry read to Silas when they were kids. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 by Angelyn Boucher | 2/4/2014

    " So far I am really enjoying this one! "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 by KarenLee | 2/4/2014

    " . The sense of impending doom was so strong that I almost dreaded picking this book up. But I also couldn't stop. It was extremely well written, with a great story line and wonderful characters. I recommend this book without hesitation. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 by Lanadal1 | 1/30/2014

    " By the time I got to page 18 of this book, I was ready to abandon it. But I did not have any other books to read on my long commute home so I thought I would read a little more and then return it on the way home. By the time I got to the end of my commute, I loved this book and was glad that I did not give up on it. "

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