A new take on the gangster novel

Thomas Mullen
Writer Thomas Mullen wanted to write about the gangster era of the 1930s because he was attracted by the iconic swagger of the time. He says his challenge was to find something new to add.
MPR photo/Euan Kerr

When author Thomas Mullen decided to write a Depression-era gangster novel, he wanted to find a new angle.

He longed to delve into the romance and the danger of the 1930s, but didn't want to be stuck in the ruts left by other iconic depictions in books and movies.

He admits it took a couple of tries, but his novel, "The Many Deaths of the Firefly Brothers," does introduce a new twist to the gangster genre -- the possibility of immortality.

Mullen says he was contemplating how gangsters like Dillinger and Bonnie and Clyde became such celebrities that the stories about them grew to almost mythic proportions. He spoke with MPR's Euan Kerr.

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