The Gun and the Letter is a drama thriller novel by American author Scarlett Lautner. The book is one of the last books Lautner wrote before she died on December 25, 2012 in a car accident. It is also her most critically-acclaimed novel.
PlotWhen David Hopkins receives a letter from his now-deceased sister, he discovers that the letter has come with a revolver, and decides to put the gun up in his room to honor her memory. One week later, while Dave is still sleeping, a man breaks into his house, and walks down the hall to his bedroom, where he breaks in, and holds Dave at gunpoint. Dave knocks the man onto the floor, and grabs his gun and shoots him, but fails to kill him. The next day, after police have left the house, Dave gets out his letter and reads the rest, as he didn't finish it because his parents arrived to have dinner. While reading, he discovers that the robber was really his older brother, and that he was keeping their sister hostage. When he gets to the address after discovering several clues, he discovers that his parents are dead. He asks his brother why there was such a big hype about their sister, Abby, being killed in a car accident. His brother, Jim, responds by saying that she did die, but doctors miraculously revived her in the emergency room, it's just he had to leave to be with their cousin, Remy, before he received the news, and all he knew was that she was dead until he found her when he went to her apartment to salvage her stuff. Jim then says that now that he's discovered the truth, he has to die. However, since Dave has quick reflexes, he manages to dodge the bullet fired by his brother and shoot him again, this time knocking him unconscious. After he unties his sister, and after Jim regains consciousness, he asks how he managed to get out of jail, and he says he broke out along with another prisoner, who he has in a back room. The sister then asks how he managed to get the bullet out, and he says that the bullet is still in his back, he just stopped the bleeding while in his cell. He then says before he succumbs to his gunshot wound that the only reason that their parents are dead is because they were always looking for a way to ruin the children and lead them to suicide. Dave then watches as his brother dies. He then tells Abby that his parents made no such attempt to ruin him financially, but then, Abby storms off, saying that she needs to be somewhere. Two days later, Dave discovers that both his brother and his sister were both ruined and became ultimate failures straight out of college. However, the note also says in the book it is written in that they never attempted to ruin Dave, as he was their favorite child.
Scarlett Lautner said that the idea and main theme for the novel just suddenly "popped" into her head while she was thinking of ideas for her next novel. The book is her most critically-acclaimed novel, and both her and the book won multiple awards. Jess Lautner said it's her favorite book of Scarlett's.
The book was published on October 25, 2012, just twelve days after her previous book, 2013: The Year After. She stated in a later interview after the book's publication that she wrote both books at the same time. The book became available for the Kindle and Nook, but never became an eBook. Lautner handed out copies of her book while trick-r-treating with her cousin, his children, and her two nieces in her hometown of Wellsboro, Pennsylvania.
The book will be the last installment in the "Lautner Graphix" series, and is due for publication in October 2013, rumored to be on the one-year anniversary of the book's publication.
A film adaptation was released on June 3, 2014. Rob Marshall was originally attached to direct, and wrote a draft for the screenplay. However, Troy Lautner, Scarlett's uncle, took over after Marshall left during pre-production. Lautner rewrote the script, which was much longer than Rob Marshall's original. Filming began in July 2013, and ended in late September. The film was released on June 3, 2014, to widespread critical acclaim.
A stage version of the book is likely. No director has been announced.