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Fireflies at Dusk by Mike Torreano is a BHW pick #historicalfiction #histfic #bookboost #nnlbh


Title: Fireflies at Dusk


Author: Mike Torreano


Genre: Historical Fiction


Publisher The Wild Rose Press


Book Blurb


As the Civil War looms, a young Ohio farm boy comes face to face with the injustice of slavery—an evil that tears at his very soul. In his callow youth, he rejects his family’s pacifism after runaways are cruelly seized from his Quaker meeting house. His anger causes him to turn his back on everyone who ever loved him. When the War breaks out, Jonathan joins the Union Army, making this rift complete. Will he ever turn back to his family, his sweetheart and his faith? Or has Jonathan drifted so far away that he can’t find his way back?




Southwestern Ohio, Winter 1848


Jonathan ducked when the front doors of the little country meeting house burst inward. Windows rattled as the crash of splintering wood echoed throughout the church. Four rough-looking men cradling long rifles stepped over the debris. Jonathan stared wide-eyed at men the likes of which he’d never seen before. Wild eyebrows, dirt in the creases of their weathered faces. Dusty, dirty brown overcoats.


His mother’s trembling hand wrapped around his small one. When the intruders raised their guns, Jonathan cringed. His bundle of biscuits spilled onto the earthen floor. The bearded hunters looked around warily. Muddy boots thumped on loose planks as three of them strode up the middle of the circled benches. The stench of hard riding swept along behind them.


The man with the big black hat said, “Go on up behind that raised platform like I tol’ you and start lookin’. That’s where some of these churches hide runaways, they dig cellars for ’em.” Big Hat turned to the leader. “I know you’re hidin’ slaves here and we mean to find ’em. They’re ours, right and proper, so stay out of our way.”


“This is a place of worship! You can’t just break in here and—”


Big Hat leveled his shotgun at the man. He said through a scarred mouth, “I just did. You Quakers ain’t about to do nothin’ to stop us, anyway. Now back up or get shot.”


He retreated, clasping his Bible to his chest, lips moving soundlessly. Pieces of broken door lay scattered at Big Hat’s feet as he filled the doorway. A younger tough stood next to a small wooden table, waving his rifle at the congregation and laughing.


“Father, stop them!” Jonathan implored, as they stood together in front of a worn oak bench. His shrill voice echoed in the still, small building. His father drew his arm tighter around his eight-year-old son’s shaking shoulders. Jonathan’s stomach jumped. He flashed back to what his father said slave catchers do with runaways. They drag them away. Sometimes they find who they’re looking for, and sometimes they don’t, but they always bring Negroes back south. A murmur ran through the congregation. Jonathan thought of the little boy hiding in the cellar. He’d given him one of his best cats eyes after they’d shot marbles in the frozen dirt outside this morning. He couldn’t make sense of men coming to take his friend away. Stop!


When his father moved to shield him, Jonathan peered around to watch two intruders hard at work behind the platform.


Big Hat raised his shotgun and pointed it at Tom Gray. “Better stay right there, mister. And the rest of you, don’t you move neither. Didn’t come here to shoot no white folk, but I will if I have to. Just come to get them runaways. Once we find ’em, we’ll be on our way. Then you can keep on praying to a God who ain’t gonna save nobody here today.”


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Mike Torreano is an award-winning author with a military background and a particular interest in American history and the Old West.


His debut western mystery, The Reckoning, set in South Park, Colorado in 1868, was released in 2016 by The Wild Rose Press. The sequel, The Renewal, also in South Park, 1872, was released in 2018, with a third western mystery, A Score To Settle, set in New Mexico Territory in 1870 released October 2020. White Sands Gold is his latest western mystery, also set in New Mexico Territory, 1890 and released by Wild Rose in September 2022. He has a coming-of-age novel releasing November 2023, Fireflies At Dusk, set during the Civil War era. His short story, The Trade, a tale of the Yukon Gold Rush, was his first published work in 2014.


Mike’s written for magazines and newspapers for many years. An experienced editor, he’s taught English and Journalism at both the United States Air Force Academy and the University of Colorado, Colorado Springs.


He’s a member of the Historical Novel Society, Pikes Peak Writers, Rocky Mountain Fiction Writers, Western Writers of America and several other writing groups. Recently, he appeared on LA Talk Radio’s Rendezvous With A Writer, and the Rocky Mountain Fiction Writers’ podcast.


His novels have received the Firebird Book Award for western fiction, American Writing Award finalist for mystery/suspense and historical fiction, a gold award for fiction from Literary Titan and a finalist award from the New Mexico Book Co-Op.


He brings his readers back in time with him as he recreates life in mid-to-late nineteenth century America. He and his wife, Anne, live in Colorado Springs.


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1 Comment

N. N. Light
N. N. Light
Feb 07

Thank you, Mike, for sharing your book with us!

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