Posted on November 8, 2010
The Many Deaths of the Firefly Brothers by Thomas Mullen
Normally the obligatory SPOILER ALERT is required when I tell you that the main characters of the novel die. However, knowing that the Firefly Brothers have been killed is where the fun begins.
The Fireson brothers, nicknamed the Firefly Brothers by their fans, are notorious bank robbers during the height of the Great Depression. The story begins with the two brothers waking up on the slab to find they had been shot dead. Talk about a bad hangover. They have to figure out how they died, why they are still alive, how long it will last, how many times can they be killed and whether they can ever be killed.
The idea of Invincible criminals was what drew me to this book and was a great concept on its own. However, the historical context also added so much to the story. The author was able to develop several different perspectives, from the FBI under Hoover to how the economic collapse helped elevate the brothers from petty criminals to Robin Hood-like heroes taking on the evil banks. It was clear that the author knows his stuff and uses the time period in ways that help add dimension to the story rather than creating an obvious, boring history lecture.
Also, there was great character development, and it was very interesting to examine Fireson family history. There was an interesting storyline involving the non-criminal brother and the effects the Firefly’s antics had on his life. And for those of you who like love stories, don’t worry, the author did a good job of including that aspect as well.
I think this novel would make a great movie. I only wish I had the money to buy the rights. I highly recommend checking out the book until then. It is killer! Get it? Because they’re dead.