Crooked Letter, Crooked Letter by Tom Franklin
The opening scene introduces the reader to Larry Ott, an odd, middle-aged loner who lives by himself in the house he grew up in, tending his mothers chickens and going to work each day to the auto-mechanic garage inherited from his father, though he rarely receives any business. Larry is ostracized by his entire community because of the disappearance of a girl last known to have been with Larry twenty-five years prior. The girl was never found, her disappearance never solved, and Larry never charged, but the rumors about him have grown into near mythology. Now another girl has disappeared, and all eyes are again on "Scary Larry." A shocking act of violence against Larry himself, however, begins to unravel long-held secrets, especially those held by Larry's former boyhood friend, Silas, now the town constable.
The story examines the question of how damning circumstantial evidence can be, especially in the court of public opinion, and how damaging utter alienation can be to a person.
Suspenseful, haunting, and vividly told, this story kept me reading late into the night. Highly recommended.