Chasing Fireflies by Charles Martin Banner

Chasing Fireflies — Latest Read

Chasing Fireflies by Charles Martin was an interesting summer read. Martin is a Florida author and this 2008 book was ranking pretty consistently on the Kindle lists, so I decided to check it out. The story begins when a woman on a suicide run kicks her horrifically abused little boy, known only as Snoot—or to the state, John Doe 117—out of the car before pulling her car into the path of an oncoming train. Chase Walker, a reporter for the Brunswick Daily in Glen County, Ga., is assigned to follow up on the boy, whose abandonment mirrors Chase’s own haunted past.

Martin’s prose is well crafted. He develops characters who entice and pull you in. He takes you to the setting in southern Georgia and immerses you in it. The plot had weaknesses. The tragedies are definitely piled on and the “villain” is so bad it is just a stretch. That aside, it is a story that will evoke a strong emotional reaction from many readers. It certainly did in me. It reminded me of the deep responsibility you have as a father to love your child with everything you have and more.

Minutes later, Unc’ walked up next to me and hung his arms across the fence railing. In his hand, he held an empty Mason jar with holes punched in the lid. He stood there a long time turning the jar. Inside, a single lightning bug fluttered off the sides of the glass. Every five or six seconds, he’d light his lantern. Unc’ turned the jar in his hand. “Scientists say that these things evolved this way over millions of years.” He shook his head. “That’s a bunch of bunk. I don’t think an animal can just all-of-a-sudden decide it wants to make light grow out its butt.” He looked at me. “Now what kind of nonsense is that? Animals don’t make light.” He pointed to the stars. “God does that. I don’t know why or how, but I’m pretty sure it’s not chance. It’s not some haphazard thing He does in his spare time.” He looked at me and his expression changed from one of wonder to seriousness, to absolute conviction. “Chase, I don’t believe in chance.”

He held up the jar. “This is not chance.” He pointed to the stars. “Neither are they.” He tapped me gently in the chest. “And neither are you. So, if your mind is telling you that He slipped up, and might have made one giant mistake when it comes to you”–the jar lit yellow-green–”you remember the firefly’s butt.” I was hurting inside and the streaks shining on my face didn’t scratch the surface at telling how much. The laughter walked up behind me, wrapped around my tummy, and tickled my ribs, finally bubbling out my mouth—taking the hurt parts with it. That’s something Unc’ was good at. He gave me his laughter and took my pain.

Excerpt from Chasing Fireflies by Charles Martin

Chasing Fireflies by Charles Martin Cover

Chasing Fireflies

On a stifling summer day, an old Chevy Impala ignored the warning signals and was annihilated by the oncoming train. What no one realized until much later was that the driver had paused just before entering the tracks and kicked a small boy out of the car. A small boy with broken glasses who is clutching a notebook with all his might . . . but who never speaks.

Chase Walker was one of the lucky ones. He was in foster care as a child, but he finally ended up with a family who loved him and cared for him. Now, as a journalist for the local paper, he’s moved on and put the past behind him. But when he’s assigned the story of this young boy, painful, haunting questions about his own childhood begin to rise to the surface.

And as Chase Walker discovers, learning the truth about who you are can be as elusive—and as magical—as chasing fireflies on a summer night.

Visit the book page on the author’s site

Available on Amazon

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