Saturday, July 26, 2014

Review: "The Tilted World" by Tom Franklin and Beth Ann Fennelly

This is the first fiction book that I have read that has been authored by two different people, and for the most part, The Tilted World by Tom Franklin and Beth Ann Fennelly makes the difference in details smooth and practically unnoticeable. But in the themes and emotions there is a lot of discrepancy between the husband and wife team that stick out like a sore thumb, especially if you are a fan of Tom Franklin, as I am. His breakthrough novel, Crooked Letter, Crooked Letter was a taut well-rounded thriller written with sympathy as well as a maniacal edge. I have also read his collection of short stories, and while it is not as good as his longer fiction, I found the title story, “Poachers” to be a rollicking good read worthy of a movie adaption. And that fun that I found in most of Franklin’s work here seems to be absent. The story takes places in 1927, the heart of prohibition and bootlegging. In a small town in Mississippi called Hobnob, a violent man named Jesse and his lovely wife Dixie run most of the town’s liquor distilleries. After dispatching of two revenue agents, Dixie becomes disenchanted with Jesse’s violent ways, brought on by the death of her infant sons. The agents’ disappearance brings fellow agents Ted Ingersoll and his loving, bumpkin partner Ham, to the town to investigate. There they find an unrelated crime scene that has left a baby orphaned. He takes it into his care, and is slowly drawn into Dixie’s violent world when both want to change their futures. The characters here are great, especially Ham, whose funny enough to warrant a prequel of some sorts. But the big action scenes seem to be out of Franklin and Fennelly’s league. They take too much time to happen and take away from the more filling, emotional drama that is unfolding towards the end. I do believe that Franklin can’t write a bad book, although Fennelly, a poet, I can’t speak for, and this book is good enough to check out during the tale end of summer.

Rating: 4/5

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