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Crime fiction author Libby Fischer Hellmann claims she’s “writing her way around the genre.” With nine novels and twenty short stories published, she has written thrillers, suspense mysteries, historicals, PI novels, amateur sleuth, police procedurals, and even a cozy. At the core of all her stories, however, is a crime or the possibility of one.
She is a transplant from Washington, D.C., where, she says, “When you’re sitting around the dinner table gossiping about the neighbors, you’re talking politics.” Armed with a Masters Degree in Film Production from New York University, and a BA in history from the University of Pennsylvania, she started her career in broadcast news. She began as an assistant film editor at NBC News in New York, but moved back to DC where she worked with Robin McNeil and Jim Lehrer at N-PACT, the public affairs production arm of PBS. When Watergate broke, she was re-trained as an assistant director and helped produce PBS’s night-time broadcasts of the hearings.
In 1978, Hellmann moved to Chicago to work at Burson-Marsteller, the large public relations firm, staying until 1985 when she founded Fischer Hellmann Communications. Currently, when not writing, she conducts speaker training programs in platform speaking, presentation skills, media training, and crisis communications. Additionally, Libby also writes and produces videos.
Her first novel, AN EYE FOR MURDER, which features Ellie Foreman, a video producer and single mother, was released in 2002. Publishers Weekly called it a “masterful blend of politics, history, and suspense,” and it was nominated for several awards. That was followed by three more entries in the Ellie Foreman series, which Libby describes as a cross between “Desperate Housewives” and “24.”
A few years later, Libby introduced her second series featuring hard-boiled Chicago PI Georgia Davis, which Chicago Tribune describes as, “a new no-nonsense detective …. tough and smart enough to give even the legendary V.I. Warshawski a run for her money.” There are three books in that series so far: EASY INNOCENCE (2008) and DOUBLEBACK (2009), which was selected as a Great Lakes Booksellers’ Association “2009 Great Read,” and TOXICITY (2011), a police procedural ebook thriller that became the prequel to the Georgia Davis series.
Her 7th novel, SET THE NIGHT ON FIRE, (December, 2010) was a standalone thriller that goes back, in part, to the late Sixties in Chicago and marked a new direction for Libby. Publishers Weekly describes it as “top-rate” and says, “A jazzy fusion of past and present, Hellman's insightful, politically charged whodunit explores a fascinating period in American history.” It was short-listed for ForeWord Magazine’s Book of 2010 in the suspense/thriller category. A BITTER VEIL, a political thriller set in revolutionary Iran was released in April, 2012. That was followed by HAVANA LOST in 2013, and the 4th installment in the Georgia Davis PI Series, NOBODY'S CHILD in 2014. Her historical novella, THE INCIDENTAL SPY, came out in 2015, and 2016 will see the 5th Ellie Foreman mystery, JUMP CUT.
Libby has also edited a highly acclaimed crime fiction anthology, CHICAGO BLUES (October, 2007). In May, 2010, she published a collection of her own short stories called NICE GIRL DOES NOIR. In 2005-2006 she was the National President of Sisters in Crime, a 3,400 plus member organization committed to strengthening the voice of female mystery writers.