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 SD ... and a group of young idealists who tried to change the world.
©2010 Allium Press of Chicago (P)2011 Libby Fischer Hellmann
"A top-rate thriller that taps into the antiwar protests of the 1960s.... A jazzy fusion of past and present, Hellman's insightful, politically charged whodunit explores a fascinating period in American history." (Publishers Weekly)
"RT Top Pick for December: "Electric... a marvelous novel." (RT Book Reviews)
"A tremendous book - sweeping but intimate, elegiac but urgent, subtle but intense. This story really does set the night on fire." (Lee Child)
"Set the Night on Fire" will have special meaning to anyone who came of age in 1960s America. For me, it brought back some fond memories, some embarrassment, and some pride. Ms Hellmann has accurately captured the spirit and idealism of those times. With perfect hindsight, we can now see the rightness of our anti-war activism, and the wrongness of some of our methods. Against the backdrop of this activism, "Set the Night on Fire" (the title refers to the Doors' famous song) tells the story of what some of these 1960s youngsters did to voice their opposition to the Vietnam war, and the repercussions of their actions some forty years later. The text refers frequently to the Celtic Knot, which illustrates the interconnectedness of all things in time and space. What we did back then has a lot to do with what is happening now; and what I do now has unforeseen consequences for someone that I may not even know. In this case, the decisions of '60s activists has unintended consequences for their adult children, one of whom must piece together long-buried evidence to save her own life. Ms Hellmann has skillfully crafted an intricate knot, in which many strands come together to solve the mystery, yielding a satisfying denouement. The narrator, Diane Pirone Gelman, has a lovely voice, and does an adequate job of reading this audiobook, but lacks the repertoire of voices and accents to warrant five stars. I recommend "Set the Night on Fire" to all mystery-lovers, especially those who lived through the amazing 1960s. I will certainly be listening to more of Ms Hellmann's audiobooks.
This book is so much better than this first one I listened to from this author (The Bitter Veil) that it’s hard to believe they were written by the same person. Hellmann's talent has obviously developed to an extraordinary level.
The story’s structure, character development, dialogue, pacing --- everything – is delightful. The narration is spot on too. And the pacing is FAST --- I mean it really MOVES. I couldn’t find a stopping place until the last sentence.
The bulk of this story takes place in the ‘60s and details many things I had forgotten but brought back a flood of memories in spectacular color.
We read to know, we are not alone ~ C.S. Lewis
I’ll be thoroughly honest and say that I know I am hooked on romance in AudioBook format, but wasn’t sure that a thriller or suspense novel would strike me in the same way. After a one-sitting, never remove the headphones listen; I can gladly report that this could easily become my new obsession! What a terrific way to spend a few hours, or entertain yourself during a long commute. Although, be warned: you will be itching to get back to this story.
Libby Fischer Hellmann has managed to incorporate history into a current story, bringing the reader the feel of the late 60’s, and providing an interesting storyline that will have you on the edge of your seat as the past moves forward to influence the present. The late 60’s in Chicago was a volatile time, with various groups seeking to make change in the social fabric of the United Sates, protesting against the Vietnam war, the ‘man’ and most all things establishment. While I am familiar with the more radicalized writings and justifications of bad acts, Hellmann brought forward the immense sense of guilt, confusion and the ease with which some may have been caught up in actions that escalated beyond their control.
With a clever separation of the book, the author has divided it into 3 parts: first and last are dealing with the present, the middle section weaves in the history providing a unique opportunity to present a character that is caught up in events that quickly spiral out of control, and he is left taking all of the blame and punishment. Narration throughout the story manages to delineate the characters with a subtle variance in tone that is not distracting to the ear, but gives a distinct feel for each of them.
The villains are rather lackluster in both approach and feel: although the tension created by their never-ending appearance is palpable, if not wholly effective. This is a story that will catch you up in the first few minutes, and not release you completely even hours after you finish. A must-listen for fans of thrillers and characters who will grow on you in surprising ways, this is the best 10 hours you will spend, continually or broken up in sections. I will, however, defy you to not want to reach and push that play button.
I received an AudioBook copy from the author for purpose of honest review for the Heard Word at I am, Indeed. I was not compensated for this review: all conclusions are my own responsibility.
I got this audiobook for free in exchange for this review, and it was a true pleasure to be given the opportunity to listen to this book, and I'll do my best to fulfill my obligation in a way that does justice to an excellent audiobook.
The story itself was a great thrill. It was fast paced and kept my interest throughout. I found myself going from present, to past, and back to present in a way that flowed very well. The author was able to keep the expert balance in mystery/thriller novels that many simply cannot, and that was her ability to reveal while also never making it obvious, and the whole time avoiding plot holes that can easily plague a title of this genre. The ending was satisfying, and I never felt my excitement lessen throughout the reading.
The reading itself was good, and Diane Gelman did a fair job in portraying characters in a realistic way. She was able to express the emotions that the characters were feeling, but never went overboard with it. By that, I mean that there was no sense that something was being done overdramatically. With that style, some parts could come off as flat, but all the more subtle emotions in the speaking were there and well presented.
Again, it was a great listen, and I am very grateful that I was given the opportunity to listen and review this work.
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