The Many Deaths of the Firefly Brothers
by Thomas Mullen
Fourth Estate Ltd Paperback ISBN/ITEM#: 9780007340828
Date: 15 April 2010 List Price £12.99 Amazon US / Amazon UK /
I'm rather drawn to The Many Deaths of the Firefly Brothers - the second novel by Thomas Mullen, whose 2006 début novel The Last Town on Earth was the Chicago Tribune's Best Book of the Year.
I know nothing about Mullen, and little about this book barring its extremely intriguing premise - which is that two depression era bank robbers are gunned down, yet they find themselves awake and full of holes on a mortuary slab - adventure ensues! It just sounds great, no? It's interesting that this is being published by Fourth Estate, an imprint not exactly reknowned for it's genre output. On the face of it, it looks like Mullen is writing in the Chabon, Letham area of the genre - in other words, not genre at all (except for those of us who know what genre looks and feels like!). This is all dandy with me and consequently I can't wait to dip into this one.
"Jason and Whit Fireson, the notorious, bank-robbing duo known as the Firefly Brothers, wake to find themselves lying on cooling boards in a police morgue. Riddled with bullet wounds, the reality is inescapable: they've been killed. But they're alive. It is August of 1934, in the midst of the Great Depression but in the waning months of the great Crime Wave, during which the newly-created FBI killed such famous outlaws as John Dillinger, Baby Face Nelson, and Pretty Boy Floyd. Across the nation, men are out of work and families are starving, and Americans are stunned and frightened by the collapse of their country's foundations. The Firesons' lovers Darcy and Veronica struggle between grief and an unyielding belief that Jason and Whit have survived, while their stunned mother and straight-arrow third brother desperately try to support their family and evade police spies. And through it all the Firefly Brothers themselves race to find the women they love, and make sense of a world that has come unmoored. Complete with kidnappings and gangsters, heiresses and speakeasies, The Many Deaths of the Firefly Brothers combines the stark realism of a troubled time with all the myth-making magic of the American Dream itself. It is an imaginative and breathless story about being hopelessly outgunned -- and tells a tale of danger, redemption, and love that transcends death. "