Mississippi Noir

Mississippi Noir

Tom Franklin

Literature & Fiction

"The big city has no lock on misery in these 16 portraits of dark doings in the Deep South."—Kirkus Reviews"Mississippi, as Franklin notes in his introduction, has the most corrupt government, the highest rate of various preventable ills, and the highest poverty rate in the country. In short, the state is a natural backdrop for noir fiction. The 16 stories...emerge from a cauldron of sex, race, ignorance, poverty, bigotry, misunderstanding, and sheer misfortune."—Publishers Weekly"With the most corrupt government, the highest rate of preventable diseases, and the highest poverty rate in the country, Mississippi is a natural fit for Akashic's noir anthology series."—Publishers Weekly, Fall 2016 Announcements"Ace Atkins. Michael Farris Smith. Megan Abbott. Jack Pendarvis. Mary Miller. William Boyle. All your favorite writers are there in the latest noir anthology from Akashic Books, many of them...
Read online
  • 58
Smonk

Smonk

Tom Franklin

Literature & Fiction

E.O. Smonk is an ugly, unwashed, murdering rapist who has terrorized the small town of Old Texas, Ala., for years. In 1911, the town summons Smonk to stand trial, and a nonstop blood-orgy of brutality and destruction is the result in Franklin's gloriously debauched second novel (following  Hell at the Breech ). After Smonk's goons assault the Old Texas courthouse and kill the town's menfolk, reformed former Smonk associate turned lawman Will McKissick pursues Smonk. Meanwhile, a posse of Christian deputies chase teenage whore Evavangeline through the Gulf Coast, but the girl is a skilled killer, too, and the trail of her victims spans the region. McKissick follows Smonk's trail out of and back into Old Texas, while Evavangeline drifts into the town, where all the children are dead except McKissick's 12-year-old son and the widows lay out their dead husbands on their dining tables. The town's sordid past, about to be exposed, involves a rabies-ravaged one-armed preacher, a rabid dog named Lazarus the Redeemer, incest and a church full of dead boys dressed in Sunday best. Fast-paced and unrelentingly violent, Franklin's western isn't for everyone, but readers looking for a strange and savage tale can't go wrong.
Read online
  • 44

Crooked Letter, Crooked Letter

Crooked Letter, Crooked Letter

Tom Franklin

Literature & Fiction

Anthony Awards (nominee) "Masterful… deftly rendered and deeply satisfying. For days on end I woke with this story on my mind." – David Wroblewski "A very fine novel indeed." – Richard Russo "A highly original crime offering." – George Pelecanos "A great novel." – Dennis Lehane In a small Mississippi town, two men are torn apart by circumstance and reunited by tragedy in this resonant new novel from the award-winning author of the critically-acclaimed Hell at the Breech. Larry Ott and Silas ''32'' Jones were unlikely boyhood friends. Larry was the child of lower middle-class white parents, Silas the son of a poor, single, black mother – their worlds as different as night and day. Yet a special bond developed between them in Chabot, Mississippi. But within a few years, tragedy struck. In high school, a girl who lived up the road from Larry had gone to the drive-in movie with him and nobody had seen her again. Her stepfather tried to have Larry arrested but no body was found and Larry never confessed. The incident shook up the town, including Silas, and the bond the boys shared was irrevocably broken. Almost thirty years have passed. Larry, a mechanic, lives a solitary existence in Chabot, never able to rise above the whispers of suspicion, the looks of blame that have shadowed him. Silas left home to play college baseball, but now he's Chabot's constable. The men have few reasons to cross paths, and they rarely do – until fate intervenes again. Another teenaged girl has disappeared, causing rumors to swirl once again. Now, two men who once called each other friend are finally forced to confront the painful past they've buried for too many years.
Read online
  • 42
Crooked Letter, Crooked Letter: A Novel

Crooked Letter, Crooked Letter: A Novel

Tom Franklin

Literature & Fiction

SUMMARY: Tom Franklin's extraordinary talent has been hailed by the leading lights of contemporary literature—Philip Roth, Richard Ford, Lee Smith, and Dennis Lehane. Reviewers have called his fiction "ingenious" (USA Today) and "compulsively readable" (Memphis Commercial Appeal). His narrative power and flair for character-ization have been compared to the likes of Harper Lee, Flannery O'Connor, Elmore Leonard, and Cormac McCarthy. Now 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.
Read online
  • 41
Hell at the Breech

Hell at the Breech

Tom Franklin

Literature & Fiction

In 1897, an aspiring politician is mysteriously murdered in the rural area of Alabama known as Mitcham Beat. His outraged friends -- —mostly poor cotton farmers -- form a secret society, Hell-at-the-Breech, to punish the townspeople they believe responsible. The hooded members wage a bloody year-long campaign of terror that culminates in a massacre where the innocent suffer alongside the guilty. Caught in the maelstrom of the Mitcham war are four people: the aging sheriff sympathetic to both sides; the widowed midwife who delivered nearly every member of Hell-at-the-Breech; a ruthless detective who wages his own war against the gang; and a young store clerk who harbors a terrible secret.Based on incidents that occurred a few miles from the author's childhood home, Hell at the Breech chronicles the events of dark days that led the people involved to discover their capacity for good, evil, or for both.
Read online
  • 15