Set the Night on Fire

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Someone is trying to kill Lila Hilliard. As she desperately tries to determine who is after her she uncovers information about the past that threatens to destroy her. An unforgettable portrait of Chicago during the turbulent late 1960s: 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.

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Published: Nov. 12, 2010
Words: 102,320
Language: English
ISBN: 9780984067688
About Libby Fischer Hellmann

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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Review by: Marilyn Ratcheson on March 28, 2011 : (no rating)
This was a great read. For me, a real page turner. I admit I might be inclined towards it since about a third of the book was dedicated to a fictional group of people who share my biography; in the summer of '68, I was 18 and in Chicago, and I was between my freshman and sophomore years in college, though I didn't drop out of school. And so far as I know, none of my friends pondered violence to make their (our) point. Though we certainly had a point of view.

As much as I enjoyed the historical link, I actually was more interested in the story of the present. Lila, a strong, smart and competent woman, a person of the *next generation, who has suffered the unfathomable loss of her family, realizes someone is out to get her, but hasn't a clue who it might be or why it might be. And it becomes apparent she has some kind of guardian angel....

I'm sure it did help a bit, that the author referenced a number of places I've known. But I honestly think I would have enjoyed it as much had it been set in San Francisco. Or New York. Or Boston, or Philadelphia. But of course, it was the summer of '68, so it wouldn't have been set anywhere other than Chicago.

I agree with the reviewer who said there were things in the first part of the book that I didn't pay enough attention to. For some reason, it occurred to me I should search on a couple of the characters of the book while I was reading the second part, and maybe that helped me escape the disappointment.

Truly a well crafted novel, and I enjoyed my weekend of reading. Thank you, Ms. Hellman.
(reviewed within a month of purchase)

Review by: Sandi Whiting on Feb. 10, 2011 : star star star star
This book intrigued me because this was the era in which I first became interested in politics. As a young mother during those turbulent years, I found the events described in the book bringing back so many memories of what it was like living through that time. If I hadn't been home with a small child, I may have been one of those protesters. By the time I reached the middle of the book, I couldn't put it down and found myself reading well into the night.
This was a good look into the events of a terrible time in our country.
(reviewed within a month of purchase)

Review by: Janice McLaughlin on Feb. 10, 2011 : star star star star
This book starts out a bit slowly but really picks up a few chapters in. If you're willing to bear with the slow pace at the beginning, it will pay off.

Having not been born in the late 70s, my only experience with the "hippie" movement of the 60s is what I've read or seen on tv. Part 2 of the book really captured my interest as it dealt with the past (part 2 of the books takes place in the 60s). I found reading/learning about that era to be fascinating.

My only real complaint with this book (and nobody else may feel this way) is that I felt Part 2 should have been before Part 1. I'm not going to give away any spoilers but some major events happen in Part 1 that I just didn't really care about at the time of reading them because I wasn't invested in the characters. After reading Part 2, I found myself wanted to read Part 1 again because now I cared about some of the things that had happened.

I have a few more issues with how some of the characters interacted but again I don't want to spoil anything for anyone. I'll just say that for story development the interactions made sense but I felt like it was too contrived.

Overall I would say this book is worth a read. It will entertain you and educate you to a time you may or may not be familiar with.
(reviewed within a month of purchase)

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