Fine Dark Line by Joe R. Lansdale
Trade paperback format. Recommended!
13-year-old Stanley Mitchel Jr. spends most of his time helping his family run the town’s drive-in movie theater, reading ten-cent comics, and playing with his dog Nub.
Life in East Texas circa 1958 is not very exciting until Stanley discovers a stash of old, crumbling love letters in a pile of burnt rubble behind the drive-in. As Stanley reads through the letters, he finds himself in the middle of a town mystery and discovering the secrets of his sleepy town.
Stanley, with the help of the old projectionist and his older sister, uncovers the identities of the people who penned the letters and sheds light on a shocking 20 year-old murder plot. As Stanley unearths more and more truths, he realizes the injustices of life in East Texas in the 1950’s including class, race, gender, and the cruelty of unrequited love. Stanley feels betrayed by his family and his town as he takes a closer look at the dark truth and refuses to allow himself to succumb to the darkness.