The Tilted World: A Novel (Paperback)

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Federal agents Ted Ingersoll and Ham Johnson are in Hobnob, Mississippi, when the river starts to flood--this is in 1927. Although their mission is to roust out bootleggers (you remember that this is Prohibition time, right?), they become embroiled in saving a baby's life; finding someone to care for it; solving murders; finding hidden stills; and controlling their panic as the river rises and rises. The story is told in the voices of two protagonists: Ingersoll and Dixie Clay Holliver, the tough woman they leave the baby with. Franklin has a wonderful ear for language, and the particular cadence of Mississippi and the characters he and Fennelly (his co-author wife) evoke sound true to the time and location. The backdrop of the historic flood is fascinating as is the mystery. And it is not a bad thing that this is also a love story. I do hope this writing couple tries it again.

— Edie

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


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.

About the Author

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.

Praise For…

“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
Product Details
ISBN: 9780062069191
ISBN-10: 0062069195
Publisher: William Morrow Paperbacks
Publication Date: June 10th, 2014
Pages: 336
Language: English