REVIEW: Crooked Letter, Crooked Letter

A fascinating character study of race in small-town Mississippi, although not in the way you might expect. As boys, Larry and Silas become friends when Silas and his mother move into a cabin belonging to Larry’s father. Their fragile friendship is shattered when Silas, who’s black, goes off to college and Larry, who’s white, stays in their hometown despite being suspected of murdering a missing teenage girl. Their paths cross again as grownups when Silas, now the town constable, investigates the disappearance of another young woman and suspicion once again falls on Larry. Readers looking for an uncomplicated happy ending will be disappointed; what Franklin offers instead is a cautious hope in the future of interracial friendship in general, and for Larry and Silas in particular.