Crooked Letter, Crooked Letter - Tom Franklin

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The way the story was described to me and the way the story actually was were quite different from each other. Initially I liked the story, then about half way through I started wondering why we were reading this book, and then at the end I really liked it. I read the first chapter and listened to about 98% of the rest of it on CD so forgive me if I spell the names wrong - I didn't actually see them in print. The book can be quite graphic. There are early de-segregation stories which include derogatory names. It seems quite like the male author had a male reader in mind.

On a scale of 1 - 5:

Sex: 4

Religion: 3

Gruesome: 3

Suspense: 3

Morality: 2

Sex - Allusions at the bottom of page 15 and the top of page 16. (Graphic) - Boys referring to girls anatomy with slang terms.

Religion - I don't recall any mention of it other than a guy tried to go to church a few times but he'd get there late and leave early so he didn't have to interact with anybody. The preacher did run after him one time.

Gruesome - It's a crime novel so there's bound to be a little bit of gore, or should I say "gru"

Suspense - There were things that I wondered about but nothing that wanted me to drive further to keep listening. (For that I recommend Lars Kepler's "The Hypnotist".)

Morality - Lots of crude language. Step-father and friend taunting a girl and behaving badly. Father encouraging fight between his son and a black boy.

Discussion Questions

Who did you think shot Larry? When?

Did you have any ideas about Silas' father?

Did you have any suspicions about Silas?

Who did you think dug the grave Silas saw in the cabin and who did you think was in it?

What did you think happened to Cindy?

What did you think Silas was holding back from Angie in the diner when she asked if he'd ever gone out with Cindy? (p. 145)

(p. 236) Larry thought, "Maybe [he] was wrong about the word friend, maybe he'd been shoved away from everybody for so long all he was was a sponge for the wrongs other people did." Was he?

(p. 236) Larry thought, "he was catching up to what the world had become. No more the world of green leaves where his father had carried a shotgun to school, left it in the corner by the wood stove, walking home shooting squirrels for dinner. Summers Carl Ott had gone shirtless and grown dark brown from the sun and found ticks in his hair and chiggers fattening with his blood. Now the land had been clear-cut. Mosquitoes infected you with West Nile and ticks gave you Lyme disease. The sun burned its cancer into your skin, and if you brought a gun to school it was to murder your classmates." Comments?

Did you catch the hint the volunteer gave about the "stringy fellow"?

Theme Ideas

Serve KFC or McDonald's like Larry Ott often ate (pg. 1).

Serve oyster or shrimp po'boys and Cokes like French ate (p. 19).

Serve international beers (p. 68): warm (English), specialized glasses (Belgium) or giant bottle into small glasses (Brazil).

Serve eggs, bacon and sausage as occurs often in the book.

Go out to dinner in a diner or KFC and then go to a haunted house.