Set the Night on Fire

Set the Night on Fire

by Libby Fischer Hellmann

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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780984067688
Publisher: Allium Press of Chicago
Publication date: 11/12/2010
Sold by: Barnes & Noble
Format: NOOK Book
Sales rank: 744,789
File size: 251 KB

About the Author

Libby Fischer Hellmann is the award-winning author of the Ellie Foreman and Georgia Davis mystery series, and Nice Girl Does Noir, a two volume short story collection. She also edited the highly praised crime fiction anthology, Chicago Blues. She has lived in the Chicago area over thirty years. Set the Night on Fire is her first stand-alone novel.

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Set the Night on Fire 4.6 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 7 reviews.
SamSattler on LibraryThing 26 days ago
Seldom has a novel left me with such a set of conflicted impressions as has Libby Fischer Hellmann's first stand-alone novel, Set the Night on Fire. One part of me loves the book as a solidly written thriller, another part cringes at how accurately Hellmann pegged the absurdity of the 1960s revolutionaries, and a final part of me just cannot take the book's two main villains seriously. The first two points are so solidly in Hellmann's favor, however, that I can easily get past my villain problem. Lila Hilliard is on the run. Her father and brother have just died in a mysterious house fire and now someone is trying to kill her. Her problem is that she has no idea who is chasing her, or why. What she does know is that she is still alive only because her would-be assassin is not very good at his job - so far - and that she seems to have acquired a human guardian angel somewhere along the way. And when that guardian angel steps forward to identify himself, Lila learns things about herself and her father that turn her life upside down. She learns that her parents, along with a few thousand other college students and college drop-outs, came to Chicago in 1968 to protest the Viet Nam War at the Democratic National Convention being held there. Unfortunately for Lila, her parents became involved with a small group of domestic terrorists willing to use bombs to make their point. Innocent people were killed, arrests were made, and people went to prison - her father, among them. Now someone wants to kill anyone even remotely connected to that group of friends, including, apparently, their children. This is good thriller material and Hellmann develops it well. More than a third of the book is told in flashback to the years between 1968 and 1970. This is the portion of the book in which Hellmann develops her characters and introduces political and personal conflicts between them that will have major repercussions in the present. To Hellmann's credit, this is also the portion of Set the Night on Fire that I found most difficult to read. Her portrayal of the radicals is so accurate that it reminded me of everything I hated about the sixties, especially the naïve pretentiousness of empty-headed terrorists willing to bomb private property at the risk of innocent lives in order to make some political point they only half understood. Sadly, just as in real life, some of the people in Hellmann's novel still live in Chicago where they are corrupting yet another generation of young people. That Hellmann could make me feel the same level of contempt for these people that I felt in the sixties and seventies is, indeed, a credit to her writing skills. Set the Night on Fire is a nice blend of thriller with historical fiction, one that should be of interest to those that have been around long enough to have experienced the sixties for themselves and to those who only remember hearing their parents speak of those days. Rated at: 4.0
SheilaDeeth More than 1 year ago
Set the Night on Fire by Libby Fischer Hellmann vividly recreates that sense of not fitting into a changing world which characterized both the sixties and the present. A protagonist recently released from jail struggles to understand how technology has moved on—“appalled at how disposable capitalism had become… fascinated by phones smaller than a pack of cigarettes…” Meanwhile an intriguing young woman displays a love for numbers and patterns that immediately endears her to this reader. But how will she recover from tragedy? Is the stranger following her a threat or a protector? And more importantly, how will she define her identity as the patterns shift and change? Moving smoothly from the 60s to the present, building convincing characters and themes, and slowly piling mystery on threat, this novel of the past is wholly relevant to the present. Thought-provoking, absorbing and hard to put down, I really enjoyed this novel. Disclosure: I heard it was on a deal and I offer my honest review.
JohnB51 More than 1 year ago
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!!!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Carl80 More than 1 year ago
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.
bridget3420 More than 1 year ago
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.
Tregjm More than 1 year ago
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.