Molly Amory's Reviews > Firefly Rain

Firefly Rain by Richard Dansky
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Apr 14, 11

bookshelves: 2010, and, horror
Recommended for: nobody on earth
Read in May, 2010

** spoiler alert ** Wow, this was terrible.

I'm a huge fan of ghost stories, especially haunted house stories. But in this novel, nothing ever actually scared me at all. The author completely failed at creating a spooky or even eerie atmosphere. The house itself was mundane and poorly described - a list of the house's physical attributes, without anything to build interest in it or tension around it. The characters were cardboard cut-outs with weird or contradictory motivations (they're supposed to be trying to get him to stay in town so... they all act like total assholes to him? Um, what?). The book creates a parallel between the experiences of the main character and the experiences of his father, without ever giving a reason for the experiences. The mystery of why the main character needs to stay in town is never revealed - it seems to be because his mother missed him? WHAT? So she made one guy promise to make sure her son came home and stayed, and as a result he and ... um, a bunch of other people who had NOT made that promise? also ended up having to keep the promise? and couldn't die until they did? WHAT? And it's not like everything has to make sense in a horror novel, but novels do need to have some kind of internal consistency, some driving force that at least makes sense to itself -- maybe we're horrified at the logic, but there does need to be internal logic. This book lacks even an attempt at that.

Beyond the utter lack of coherent plot, atmosphere, or believable (or even likable) characters with dimension, the reveal of the book's underlying message left me at a loss. The main character is a bad son because he grew up and moved away and started his own life? That's what kids are supposed to do. And as a result of doing what kids are supposed to do, this guy is now stuck in a town where apparently everybody is nuts, for reasons we are never told, and there's some wild swing at a firefly metaphor that seems to mean he can never go to heaven, or maybe he has to stay and do the same things that were done to him, to the next poor sucker? I don't even know. It's all incredibly stupid.

The reviewers who compared this writer to Stephen King have done Stephen King a grave disservice. Seriously, he should litigate.
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