The novel Crooked Letter, Crooked Letter by Tom Franklin tells the story of Larry Ott, who is suspected of two murders and Silas Jones who is now investigating one of the cases. The friendship between Larry and Silas is an important aspect of the story, and the novel describes their relationship from childhood into adulthood.
The novel has a non-linear structure. The story switches between two timelines, which eventually meet. Several flashback scenes help to provide a wider context for the events of the story.
The main characters of the story are Larry Ott, a middle-aged mechanic who is shunned by his community because everyone believes he had abducted a murdered a young woman, and Silas Jones, a man who once knew Larry and who is investigating the disappearance of another young woman and the ways Larry might be involved.
The physical setting of the story is rural Mississippi from the late 1970s until the mid-2000s. The social setting explores racism, with a focus on the Southern United States.
The novel has a third-person narrator, who is limited to only sharing the thoughts and feelings of a single character. The narrator alternates from chapter to chapter between a focus on Larry’s point-of-view and Silas’s.
The story is told using informal language. The dialogue includes non-standard spelling and grammar, which reflects the characters’ southern dialects. Symbols are used throughout the novel to enhance the meaning of the text and to reflect some of the main themes.