The Many Deaths of the Firefly Brothers - Thomas Mullen

Jason and Whit Fireson—bank robbers known as the Firefly Brothers by an adoring public that worships their acts as heroic counterpunches thrown at a broken system. Late one night in August 1934, following a yearlong crime spree across the Midwest, the Firefly Brothers are forced into a police shootout and die in a hail of bullets. Or do they? Jason and Whit’s girlfriends—Darcy, a wealthy socialite, and Veronica, a hardened survivor—struggle between grief and an unyielding belief that the Firesons are alive. Wild rumors spread that the bandits are still at large. Through it all, the Firefly Brothers remain as charismatic, unflappable, and as mythical as the American dream itself, racing to find the women they love and to make sense of a world in which all has come unmoored.

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This tells the story of Jason & Whit Fireson, Depression-era bank robbers who, through their infamy & the press coverage of their crime sprees, get the nickname Firefly Bros. You can just picture some reporter saying "eh... has a better ring to it". After one particular job goes especially wrong, they find themselves waking up in a morgue, not remembering how they got there. Did they really die and come back to life, or is it all some kind of joke someone is playing on them? The brothers go on to have multiple incidents of what seems to be reincarnation. They can't explain it, all they can do is wonder -- if it is an otherworldly gift -- why was it bestowed on them?

 

Honestly, I was a little bummed with this one. It started out pretty great -- the story concept was pretty cool and I liked the snarky banter between the brothers. There was also some good introspective bits about how the brothers' life choices affected everyone around them, the reprecussions of being acquainted with the Fireson boys.  I was thinking I was in for something sort of Supernatural-esque here! But it didn't take long for it to start fizzling out for me.

 

It didn't feel as magical as I was hoping, and some of the descriptions started to run pretty long for my tastes. There was a lot of hiding, waiting, and reflecting that reminded me of reading Ned Kelly by Robert Drewe (another one I liked initially but got bogged down with slow, boring passages). And why were these guys SO bad at dodging bullets? Were they supposed to be immortal AND magnetic? It got laughable after awhile! 

 

The ending to this novel felt like the author was drawing a blank on a strong ending so just went with "I leave it to you reader." More often than not, this kind of closing irks the bananas out of me. This one won't be staying on my shelves...better luck to the next reader.