Tuesday, September 26, 2017

Book Review: 'Set the Night on Fire' by Libby Fischer Hellmann

Brilliant American author Libby Fischer Hellmann earned a Masters Degree in Film Production from New York University and a BA in History from the University of Pennsylvania, and started out in broadcast news, beginning her career as an assistant film editor for NBC News in New York before moving back to DC to work with Robin MacNeil and Jim Lehrer at N-PACT, the public affairs production arm of PBS. Retrained as an assistant director when Watergate broke, Libby helped produce PBS's nighttime broadcast of the hearings. She went on to work for public relations firm Burson-Marsteller in Chicago in 1978, where she stayed until she left to found Fischer Hellmann Communications in 1985. She is a critically acclaimed crime writer, having served as the National President of Sisters in Crime. In addition to writing, she writes and produces videos, and conducts speaker training programs in platform speaking, presentation skills, media training and crisis communications.

Libby writes in series and SET THE NIGHT ON FIRE is part of the REVOLUTION SERIES that focuses on the raw history of Chicago in the 1960s as a contrast to the now. As the synopsis succinctly sates, ‘Someone is trying to kill Lila Hilliard. During the Christmas holidays she returns from running errands to find her family home in flames, her father and brother trapped inside. Later, she is attacked by a mysterious man on a motorcycle. . . and the threats don’t end there. As Lila desperately tries to piece together who is after her and why, she uncovers information about her father’s past in Chicago during the volatile days of the late 1960s . . . information he never shared with her, but now threatens to destroy her. Part thriller, part historical novel, and part love story, Set the Night on Fire paints an unforgettable portrait of Chicago during a turbulent time: the riots at the Democratic Convention . . . the struggle for power between the Black Panthers and SDS . . . and a group of young idealists who tried to change the world.’

Libby’s propulsive writing style drives her characters into our psyche and locks them there as hostages until we finish the story she has created. This is one of those superior crime thrillers that makes you lock the night door for protection until the book is completed. Brilliant! Grady Harp, April 17

Editor's note: This review has been published with the permission of Grady Harp. Like what you read? Subscribe to the SFRB's free daily email notice so you can be up-to-date on our latest articles. Scroll up this page to the sign-up field on your right.

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