Listened To: The Tilted World by Tom Franklin and Beth Ann Fennelly, 2014, overdrive.com download.
I listened to Franklin's Crooked Letter, Crooked Letter a while ago and thought it was good but not great. But, the book was better than I realized because I would think back to the characters and some of the scenes.
Tilted is set in 1927 right before and during the massive floods on the Mississippi in April. The book's preface gives a description of the floods and their aftermath. I readily admit to knowing little about the event and what a disaster it was.
Two revenue agents working under J. Edgar Hoover's authority are sent to MS to find missing revenue agents. Ted and Ham have known each other since service the the Great War. Hoover is using the natural disaster produced by months of rain to promote himself. Months of rain have already flooded the fields and farms and some locals are in desperate straits with no income. Hoover doesn't want bad news about missing federal police and puts the pressure on Ted and Ham.
Ted and Ham come across the aftermath of a deadly burglary. The robbers were killed and left an infant that Ted decides to watch over until he can find a caretaker. Well, Ted hears that a rural woman may take the orphaned boy in, so Ted goes to her house. Dixie answers the door and the two of them have a spark. Dixie takes the boy, Ted goes back to work.
Things happen. Ted and Ham meet a local bootlegger who is vain and charismatic. Bootlegger is married to Dixie. Bootlegger probably killed the missing men. Ted and Ham are undercover and pose as engineers there to inspect the river levee. The levee is 30 feet high and going higher with new sandbags. The river surge is coming and the levee may not be enough. Especially now that word is out about stolen dynamite that may be used by downstreamers to blow the levee.
More things happen. We learn about Ted's growing up an orphan. His time in the Army. His time with Ham. We learn about Dixie growing up in AR and being swept away by handsome Bootlegger. How Dixie and Bootlegger's son died a couple years ago and left Dixie in the doldrums of depression. Bootlegger is scheming asshole who uses his wife, pays off the cops, and wants to blow small town MS for New Orleans.
1. Sharpshooter love.
2. White whiskey love.
3. Lots of mud.
4. Lots of rain.
5. Lots of disaster after the levee breaks.