Year ago at an American Library Association panel sponsored by what was then FOLUSA, I had the pleasure of introducing Tom Franklin’s Poachers, a dark and pitch-perfect story collection that really got under my skin. This summer I read the opening chapters of Franklin’s Crooked Letter, Crooked Letter when it arrived in the office for assigning and found myself rooting for this smart, edgy tale of small-town Mississippi violence. So last Wednesday, when I was scrambling around online, I was thrilled to see that Crooked Letter is October’s No. 1 Indie Pick and already on the extended Indie best sellers list. It’s also made the New York Times extended list and hit a handful of regional bookseller association lists, and it received both Barnes and Noble Recommends kudos and a featured Amazon.com review/Q&A. Oh, and not only did it get a starred LJ review but in his recent LJ interview Otto Penzler included Franklin among five future masters of noir. All of which is to say, Franklin is on a roll, and you’d best join him.
You know those Amazon reports which show that a book you’re considering is No. 1,349,276 in the rankings? I’ve never bothered to check out the best sellers, but a few days ago I clicked on See Top 100 Books and got a surprise. Imagine what’s in fourth place. Stieg Larsson’s The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet’s Nest? The Daily Show with Jon Stewart Presents Earth (The Book)? Actually, those are Nos. 5 and 6, right behind the University of California’s Autobiography of Mark Twain, Vol. 1, a masterly reassembling of Twain’s rambling dictation of his life, now in as-he-meant-it form after appearing in a couple of earlier editions over the last century. This is just the opening volume, but readers‚ and obviously not just scholarly readers‚ are mightily interested.