Firefly Rain by Richard Dansky

When Jacob left home for a new life, he pretty much forgot all about Maryfield, North Carolina. But Maryfield never forgot him. Or forgave him.

After a failed business venture in Boston, Jacob Logan comes back to the small Southern town of his childhood and takes up residence in the isolated house he grew up in. Here, the air is still. The nights are black. And his parents are buried close by. It should feel like home—but something is terribly wrong.

Jacob loses all his belongings in a highway accident. His car is stolen from his driveway, yet he never hears a sound. The townspeople seem guarded and suspicious. And Carl, the property caretaker with so many secrets, is unnervingly accommodating. Then there are the fireflies that light the night skies . . . and die as they come near Jacob’s home. If it weren’t for the creaking sounds after dark, or the feeling that he is being watched, Jacob would feel so alone. He shouldn’t worry. He’s not.

And whatever’s with him isn’t going to let him leave home ever again.

firefly-rainI’m not usually a reader of this sort of book, sci-fi being my main genre of reading, but I picked this up while browsing one of my local shops. I couldn’t tell you what drew me to it – maybe the title, maybe the cover, maybe even the synopsis – but I just wanted to read it once I saw it. It’s nice to have a change every now and then, and Firefly Rain hit that craving I needed for something a little different, and made Richard Dansky an author I’ll be reading again.

Jacob Logan returns to Maryland, his home town, after a failed business attempt in Boston. He’s not been back since his mother’s funeral, and the out-of-town family house is just as it was left. With all his belongings disappearing en route from Boston he’s left with nothing but his car, and that isn’t around for too long before it’s stolen from the drive outside the house. Carl, the man left to look after the house since Jacob’s mother passed on, brings supplies to him and swiftly departs, acting strange and appearing to hide something. With his car gone Jacob is stuck in the house with only occasional visits to town, but the people he meets and talks to seem strange, but that is nothing to what is going on in the house…

The first thing that struck me when I started reading Firefly Rain was the relative constrained feeling of the novel. After Jacob arrives at the old family home the story is very much set in that one house and surrounding land, with only a few excursions out of this place. What this does is give you a sense of the place where Jacob grew up and Dansky manages to convey a real feeling of isolation and something not quite right. There are strange going-ons, from items appearing after Jacob put them away to the way that he can’t always get into his parents old room. It’s the little things that build the atmosphere, but it’s the characterisation that brings the story to life.

With the story following Jacob and his return to his home town it’s his story, and through his actions in returning to Maryland we learn more and more about him. He’s an interesting character and one that I can certainly relate to with regards to his situation. Carl is the silent type, but through Jacob’s observations and rare talks with him it’s obvious there is more to him than meets the eye. With the lack of understanding on Jacob’s part and relative stubbornness of Carl it’s a strange dynamic, but one that I was eager to know more about. I wanted to find out about these characters and what the underlying problem was. There are, of course, other characters, and while they have some impact it’s these two that I thought the main focus was on, more for the progression and explanation of story.

While this book is described as a horror, it didn’t contain many shock elements to it. There were one or two, but it’s the atmosphere that really gives the chills. The little things that go on really make this book, not the big stuff. It’s hard to say too much without giving away too many details about the plot and what is actually going on, but suffice to say that Dansky writes a solid story and manages to tie everything up without reverting to shock tactics. It works well throughout and kept me turning the pages late into the night. I haven’t enjoyed anything like this for a long time, but Dansky has given me reason to search out more in this genre. Great stuff.

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