Saturday, July 30, 2011

Tom Franklin's "Crooked Letter, Crooked Letter" Nominated for Best Novel Anthony Award

Crooked Letter, Crooked Letter by Tom Franklin has been nominated for a 2011 Anthony Award as Best Novel. The Anthony Awards are given at each annual Bouchercon World Mystery Convention with the winners selected by attendees. The award is named for the late Anthony Boucher (William Anthony Parker White), well-known writer and critic from the New York Times, who helped found the Mystery Writers of America. This year's Bouchercon will be held this September 15-18 right here in St. Louis.

Crooked Letter, Crooked Letter was also nominated for an Edgar Award, given by the Mystery Writers of America.

Reviewing Crooked Letter, Crooked Letter in the Washington Post, Ron Charles said
The incantatory title of Tom Franklin's terrific new novel comes from the way children in the South are taught to spell Mississippi: "M-I crooked letter crooked letter I crooked letter crooked letter I humpback humpback I." But letters aren't the only thing twisted in the rural town of Chabot, Mississippi, where this story of long-delayed repercussions and revelations takes place. Franklin, an Edgar-winning writer of atmospheric tales, deserves an audience to match the praise he's attracted for [his previous books]. 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.

The opening chapter introduces us to Larry Ott, a gentle weirdo -- "Scary Larry" to the locals -- who lives his simple, strictly ritualized life in withering isolation. The fact that his house is full of books -- mostly horror novels -- does little to discourage the rumors about him. Every morning, he puts on a clean uniform and goes to his auto repair shop, hoping someone will stop in. But no one ever has, which renders "his shop more a tradition than a business." Not that such economic stagnation is uncommon in this town marked by touches of Gothic decay. The local clothing store, for instance, "had gone so long without customers it'd briefly become a vintage clothing store without changing stock."

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