The Tilted World: A Novel (Paperback)
October 2013 Indie Next List
“In a compelling, poetic, and detailed manner, Franklin and Fennelly bring to life a little-known catastrophe in American history. The Tilted World weaves together the stories of two endearing characters -- an orphan who grows up to be a decorated World War I hero turned Prohibition revenuer and a bootlegging firecracker of a woman who yearns for her lost child. Add the setting of a town on the brink of destruction by deluge and some unsavory characters looking to profit from calamity, and the reader will be swept away by their story.”
— Sara Peyton, CoffeeTree Books, Morehead, KY
Pay attention, because the details are key: it's 1927, the Mississippi River is about to overflow its banks, Prohibition is the name of the game, and two revenuers have just dropped off an orphaned baby with the wife of the bootlegger they are looking for in the rural town of Hobnob, Mississippi just over the flood line...but they don't know it yet. Got it? Don't worry. Husband and wife team Tom Franklin and Beth Ann Fennelly explain it much better than I can. The revenuers in the novel, Ted and Ham, are the Starsky and Hutch of Prohibition in Mississippi. They are summoned to a private/secret meeting in the car of a cross-country train for a meeting with President Coolidge. He's got a bootlegger making his legislation look bad in Hobnob, Mississippi, and the two revenuers to whom he originally gave the assignment are mysteriously missing. On the way to their assignment, Ted and Ham stumble across the bloody aftermath of a burglary gone wrong. The only survivor is a crying baby sitting in a pool of blood on the floor of the burgled mercantile. It's hard to track down bootleggers with a baby in tow, so they've got to get rid of it asap. The most qualified candidate is Dixie Clay Holliver - a woman who lost her child to illness a year before, and married to the very same bootlegger for whom Ted and Ham are looking. Throughout the book I continued to be unable to fathom how two writers can so seamlessly write a novel together. I've stopped wondering, and all I want to know next is when they will do it again! This one is not to be missed by fans of fast-paced historical fiction.— Jessilynn
In 1927, as rains swell the Mississippi, the river threatens to burst its banks and engulf everything in its path, including the tiny hamlet of Hobnob, where federal agents Ted Ingersoll and Ham Johnson arrive to investigate the disappearance of two fellow agents—and find a baby boy abandoned in the middle of a crime scene.
Ingersoll finds a home for the infant with local woman Dixie Clay Holliver, unaware that she's the best bootlegger in the county and has many tender and consequential secrets of her own.
The Tilted World is an extraordinary tale of murder and moonshine, sandbagging and saboteurs, and a man and a woman who find unexpected love.
Tom Franklin is the New York Times bestselling author of Crooked Letter, Crooked Letter, which won the Los Angeles Times Book Prize and the Crime Writers' Association's Gold Dagger Award. His previous works include Poachers, Hell at the Breech, and Smonk. He teaches in the University of Mississippi's MFA program.
Beth Ann Fennelly has published three volumes of poetry and a work of nonfiction, Great with Child. She directs the University of Mississippi's MFA program.
“A new novel from Tom Franklin is always a reason to get excited, but a novel from Franklin and Fennelly is just cause to throw a block party.” — Dennis Lehane, New York Times bestelling author of Live By Night
“The Tilted World is everything I hold dear in a novel—a raucous, page-turning story with grit, utterly steeped in the land and people, and told in such poetic language that I kept forcing myself to slow down so I could enjoy the writing.” — Eowyn Ivey, New York Times bestselling author of the The Snow Child
“Thriller stories are easy to come by—as are small lyrical gems. The two come together in The Tilted World. . . . You will experience a sprawling story of conflict, disorder, shame, and horror that is umbrellaed by an even bigger story—one of love.” — Garden & Gun magazine
“A swift, soulful mix of love story and crime saga . . . evocative characters and unpretentious but shapely prose . . . The Tilted World is literary crime fiction of the highest order.” — Seattle Times