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Posted September 12, 2011
After enjoying Ms. Hellman's previous novels starring Ellie Foreman and/or Georgia Davis I was intrigued by the positive chatter I read touting her new stand-alone novel, "Set The Night On Fire". I am happy to say that this novel is every bit as good, if not better, than her previous work, imho. Lila Hilliard comes home for the holidays to visit her well-to-do father, and her twin brother, in an affluent North Shore neighborhood, expecting family tensions as the down side of her visit. Her world quickly turns upside-down and inside-out as she is sucked into a maelstrom of violence and terror resulting from the present-day resolution of relationships and events born in the anti-war atmosphere of 1968-era Chicago. Lila encounters, and fights to survive, a decades-dormant tempest that envelops her in its re-emergence, and reveals a surprising story about her real past. This book hooked my interest in the opening chapters, and reeled me in through the clever plot and well-formed characters. A winner, in my book!!!Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted December 15, 2010
Every so often a novel comes along that connects with the reader in such a visceral way that it is like a punch in the stomach. This is such a story. If you lived through the nineteen-sixties and your memory is reasonably intact, or you learned even a small amount about those turbulent times, you will connect with this story. On one level this is the story of Lila Hilliard. Forty-some years after a particular series of spectacular and dangerous events in Chicago that revolved around a nasty far-off war and a political convention, a mysterious fire has robbed her of the only family she has ever known. At about the same time, a man named Dar Gantner, just released from prison, returns to Chicago from prison to reconnect with a few of his former companions from the same era. One, a woman named Rain, tells Dar that another of their mutual friends has just met with an odd fatal accident. It is clear in their conversation that Rain doesn't entirely believe that it was an accident. From that moment on it becomes apparent that dark and unknown forces are at work. But why? Who are these people we meet at the beginning of the book, who targets them and why? Through a series of small and then progressively longer flashbacks we are transported to a time when young people believed the rhetoric, that they could indeed change the outcomes of momentous happenings, that they could affect the course of the most powerful nation in the world. Some of those players, whatever they believed, moved on to build calm and substantial lives of commerce, and politics, and contemplative existences. They don't want to relive any part of that time. Most readers alive today will have memories of the Chicago convention of 1968, or of the riots and will begin again to remember the emotions of the time. And even if not, the measured, artful, portioning out of connections, of information, will bring those emotions to the surface. On another level, this is the telling of the great events of the late sixties, the crimes and the abuses and the trails that descended from them, not from the newspaper headlines or the televised reports, but through the eyes and hearts of some of the young people at the center of the conflicts. But this is no polemic, nor is it an attempt to change the record. What the author has done is produce a cracking good thriller that grips a reader by the throat and doesn't let go until the final pages. One after another the revelations keep coming, and as the central characters struggle to stay alive long enough to solve their mysteries, the author maintains our interest in the love story, the history and the dynamics of the times. It doesn't matter your political beliefs, then, or now; the characters and their trials will reach off the pages of this fine novel and touch you in ways that are basic to our existence as human beings. This is a fine, fine novel that well deserves the accolades it will surely receive.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted December 14, 2010
Every now and then I come across a book that catches me so off guard that there are no words to describe it properly. That's how I felt about Set The Night On Fire. It's a touching story with so much heart that you almost forget that it's a work of fiction. I highly recommend this book to mystery and thriller fans.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted November 1, 2010
Set the Night on Fire by Libby Fischer Hellmann
This is one of the best books I've read all year! Dar Gantner spent 40 years in prison and just got released. He looks up old friends and it appears he's gotten someone upset about it. Lila Hilliard loses her brother and father in an accidental fire, but was it an accident? Rain has someone run her off the road and dies when her car catches fire, another accident? Dar has had someone break in a search his place, and barely escapes. Lila's life is threatened. She starts trying to figure out what is going on, Dar has a good idea what is going on. It all goes back 40 years to before he was sent to prison. What does this have to do with Lila? This is a thriller, love story, trip to the volatile Sixties, and a great mystery. The characters are well developed and likeable. The action is non-stop, and the suspense is always there. I had a hard time putting this one down. I have read most of Libby's other books and this is far and away her best yet! I loved the story, loved the trip back to the Sixties, and loved characters. This one will be on my Best of 2010 List for sure. I highly recommend this book. Get it, you won't be disappointed! This will be out December 2nd.
Posted January 16, 2011
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