I believe how hot it is in Mississippi. I believe how a man can be hounded for a crime unproven. I believe that lies, secrets and fear can destroy lives and even kill. I believe these things because Tom Franklin says so. In his brilliant novel, CROOKED LETTER, CROOKED LETTER, he brings us to a small southern town and makes us believe that these fictional characters could be real. In fact, they feel awfully real.

Silas and Larry were briefly friends when they were young, but their lives took different routes. Silas is now the lone police officer in Chabot, Mississippi and Larry lives a life of solitude as he has long been thought of as a murderer. Both these men live in this town, but they do not speak…until another girl goes missing and the focus is back on Larry.

The writing is so superior, it is so fluid and hot. Franklin’s characters are so true and real that I really do believe that all of them could exist.  After reading the first chapter, I put down the book and thought “that was a perfect chapter. Can the book continue to be so good?” Yes it can. I urge you, I beg you, and I order you: read this book.

THE SEARCH by Maureen Myant

I have read many novels about the second world war, but I did not know that much about what happened to the Czechoslavakian people. This novel is about children of the war. The German army took Czech children and the plan was for them to be raised by German families so that it would firm up the Third Reich. Parents would be killed or put in camps, but young children would be kidnapped and given new identities.

Jan, age 10, has lost his family to war. He escapes the Nazis and is now on a search for his young sister, who he believes has been brought to a German family. The story follows Jan and the people he meets along the way. He is always hungry, he is always hiding from soldiers and he is in constant fear of death. But Jan is a survivor and he fights his way to bring his family together again.

This is a well written story giving the reader two perspectives—a young boy on the run and a German family who are also struggling with the war and what it means to their family. I love reading a historical novel that is not only entertaining but also tells me something I didn’t know.

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