Saturday, July 31, 2010

"The Many Deaths of the Firefly Brothers"

Jason Fireson is perplexed when he wakes up and finds himself naked on a metal table with a sheet over him. His confusion increases when he sees his chest riddled with bullet holes, and he can't remember how he got there or why he's alive.
With a beginning like this, this book had me hooked from the start. Set in the Depression-era Midwest, this is the story of Jason & Whit Fireson, a fictional pair of bank robbers who flirt with immortality. With various other gang members they travel the Midwest robbing banks to provide for their families. Some view them as saviors, some as villains, as they work their way up to Public Enemy Number One.
But this is not just a rollicking ride of adventure. The book deals with family relationships and public perception. I enjoyed the historical details of the creation of the FBI and references to actual criminals such as Pretty Boy Floyd. I was also fascinated with the details of life during the Depression and how similar some of those are to our lives today during this recession. There is also a bit of mysticism dealing with their deaths, and an ending that will have you scratching your head. (Probably a good book club read.)
I did enjoy this book and thought that Thomas Mullen's writing was beautiful. I'd recommend it as a 4-star book rather than a 5-star one.

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