TLC Book Tours for introducing this novel to me that has a dark secret that I think will resonate with all of us as human beings. Here is a summary of Crooked Letter, Crooked Letter from the Harper Collins website:
The Edgar Award-winning author returns with his most accomplished and resonant novel so far—an atmospheric drama set in rural Mississippi. In the late 1970s, Larry Ott and Silas "32" Jones were boyhood pals. Their worlds were as different as night and day: Larry, the child of lower-middle-class white parents, and Silas, the son of a poor, single black mother. Yet for a few months the boys stepped outside of their circumstances and shared a special bond. But then tragedy struck: Larry took a girl on a date to a drive-in movie, and she was never heard from again. She was never found and Larry never confessed, but all eyes rested on him as the culprit. The incident shook the county—and perhaps Silas most of all. His friendship with Larry was broken, and then Silas left town.
More than twenty years have passed. Larry, a mechanic, lives a solitary existence, never able to rise above the whispers of suspicion. Silas has returned as a constable. He and Larry have no reason to cross paths until another girl disappears and Larry is blamed again. And now the two men who once called each other friend are forced to confront the past they've buried and ignored for decades.
When I first heard about this book I kind of pushed the thought of it to the back of my mind thinking that it just wasn't the type of book that I usually read, let alone enjoy. I can't tell you how pleased I am that I took a chance on this one as it was such a thought provoking novel that will leave you questioning your own decisions and actions that you have made throughout your life.
Silas Jones is now the constable in the small Mississippi town where he was raised by his mother twenty years ago. The first summer after his arrival in Mississippi he was befriended by young Larry Ott. Since Silas was an African American he couldn't figure out why a nice white boy would want anything to do with him. After the school year begins and Silas starts to participate in various school activities and meet new kids, he realizes that Larry is a social outcast within the school crowd. Silas makes decisions that will separate him from Larry so he will be able to fit in without any problems.
As a young boy Larry was very quiet and kept to himself. He enjoyed reading his comic books and trying to duplicate them with paper and pen. His mother prayed every night that Larry would find a friend to keep him company so he finally thinks that her prayers were answered when Silas comes into his life. When his mother forbids him to play with Silas he just finds excuses to sneak out of the house and play with him anyway.
By the time Silas and Larry are in high school they are both living in different social circles. Silas has a bright future ahead of him and is being watched by college baseball scouts, while anyone caught with Larry would be committing social suicide. Things will only get worse for Larry as events unfold.
Cindy is a beautiful neighbor that Larry has been infatuated with his whole life. When Cindy suddenly disappears and it becomes known that Larry is the last one to be seen with her, all suspicions are cast on him. Although they were never able to charge Larry with a crime, he lives the remainder of his life as an outcast as the society basically judged and convicted him with their actions. Larry always claimed his innocence, but was never believed by his neighbors.
As girls start to go missing once again, all eyes are cast on Larry, thinking that he was back to his old tricks. Silas finds himself helping to solve this case as he is the constable. He remembers the Larry that befriended him all those years ago and knows that the Larry he knows could never do such a thing. As he searches for clues to find the real killer, little does he know that he will uncover secrets that will link him to Larry for the rest of their lives.
This really was a great story with themes of friendship, secrets, and absolution. I couldn't help but think of when I was a young gal trying to fit in and shunning other people in the school that obviously needed a friend. I think that many of us have done this at one time or another and it really is a humbling experience to admit that. I think this book would be great to read for personal fulfillment or even as a book club selection as it would have some great discussion points.
My Rating: 5/5
Disclosure: This book was provided to me by the publisher to participate in this blog tour and share an honest review.