Genres: crime, mystery, southern fiction
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Powell's • Indiebound
I’m not sure if this book would have ever been picked up on my radar if not for the fact that I listen to an insane amount of book podcasts. A couple years back the gang at Literary Disco read it and it has been floating around in the back of mind ever since.
This crime story is set in a small southern town where everyone seems to live the in the past. The town constable, Silas, is called by his baseball jersey number and an old forgotten friend of his, Larry, is the town pariah, blamed for the disappearance of a girl 20 years ago, a crime of which he never was convicted (or committed, for that matter).
In the first pages of the book we learned another girl has disappeared. So of course everyone suspects Scary Larry. Every except Silas, that is. He and Larry knew each other as kids, when Silas and his mom lived in a hunting cabin on Larry’s property. Bodies are found and Larry is shot, and old wounds are opened.
As the story moves forward, you get glimpses into the boy’s unlikely friendship, and the events that lead up the disappearance of the first girl 25 years ago and the aftermath that effected both of their lives, in completely different ways.
This was not the type of crime story I was expecting. There is crimes committed, but they take place in the background of the narrative. It is more a novel examining relationships, mistakes and judgements. Which makes it all the better.
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.