THE MANY DEATHS OF THE FIREFLY BROTHERS by Thomas Mullen

firefly brothersI can’t decide whether this book is a hoot or a deeply profound examination of what exactly is life, or both or just what.  But boy, was it fun.

It is set in the 1930s America, during the Depression.  A nice middle class family finds itself spiraling lower and lower as the father’s investments fail along with the economy.  The oldest son turns to running bootleg to earn money to support the family, gets busted twice, and after his release the second time, decides that robbing banks gives a better payoff.  He is joined by his youngest brother and off they go into the world of Baby Face Floyd, Dillinger, and the rest of the famous crime-spree guys.

The novel opens with the brothers, Jason and Whit Fireson, lying on slabs in a police morgue, full of bullet holes, dead.  Well, no, they are not dead.  At least, not any longer.  They WERE dead, but now, strangely enough, they are not.

So of course you know that with an opening like this, I am totally sucked in.  And you will be too.  Because who can resist folk hero outlaws, now called the Firefly Gang by the press and the public, robbing the banks that robbed the people?  And who seem to come back to life?  Well, not me, that’s for sure.

Remember Donny and Marie?  (“I’m a little bit country;  I’m a little bit rock and roll.”)  Well, this is a little bit paranormal, and a little bit crime fiction, and a whole lot of pretty good character development, and a whole lot more of action.  It is a story of Everyman in the Depression, the efforts to get by, the unemployment, the breadlines, the poverty, the dance marathons, the loss of everything with the Wall Street crash.  It is a story of struggle and desperation and hope, and ….. of resurrection.  Whooeeee momma!

Definitely one of the better books I have read lately.  Highly recommended.  Especially if you are hoping to wake up not dead after you die.

outlaws

 

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