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Set the Night on Fire

3.97  ·  Rating Details  ·  143 Ratings  ·  48 Reviews
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 ...more
Paperback, 364 pages
Published December 1st 2010 by Allium Press
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Jul 20, 2015 Jim rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2015
Another amazing read from author Libby Fischer Hellmann, "Set The World On Fire", moves with difficult heartbreak through decades for a conflicted family. Successful financial planer Lila Hilliard comes home for the Christmas holidays eager to spend time with her father and twin brother, Danny. A simple thing like Christmas lights not working on the tree will change Lila's life forever. Upon returning home from store with several new sets of lights, Lila sees her home being destroyed by fire. Li ...more
Feb 06, 2011 Patricia rated it it was amazing
Chicago in the turbulent world of 1960’s anti-war demonstrations fused with modern day times makes for an exciting book. Dar Gantner has just been released from prison. Dar was convicted and sentenced to serve 40 years for his participation in the 1970 bombing of a department store in Chicago. Although Dar was not the only one involved in the bombing, he was the only one who was caught and prosecuted. When Dar begins to touch base with his former friends things start going downhill. It seems tha ...more
Nov 24, 2011 Elyse rated it really liked it
GREAT Adrenalin Rush!!!!!

Fascinating blend of history (Chicago 1968 Democratic convention--riots--Black Panthers--Anti War demonstrations, etc.), mixed with a Semi-Sensuous-Juicy--Rollar-Coaster-Delight intelligent Mystery-thriller!

I can't remember ever reading a historical-fiction/mystery thriller before. I like the combination! Its a little different from other types of historical fiction I usually read ---an 'enlightening'-& 'fun' experience it was!!!

The characters were well developed: (
I was looking forward to reading Set the Night on Fire by Libby Fischer Hellmann, which takes place in Chicago during both the present and in the past - the 1960s, which was a tumultuous time, especially for teens and young adults trying to understand the world around them and how they fit into it, or what they need to support to make change happen.

The book is organized into 3 sections, with the first section providing the realistic fiction and suspense, the second section provided the crux of
M.A. Comley
Jun 21, 2011 M.A. Comley rated it it was amazing
This book starts off with a real bang and carries the reader along. It transports us back to the sixties with a great mystery and wonderful characterisation.

The incredible descriptions had me thinking I was actually involved in the story.

An absolute must read thriller.
Dec 07, 2011 Gayle rated it it was amazing
Recommended to Gayle by: Pascal Marco
This book was recommended by a friend and I wasn't disappointed. It captivated me from the start. I got to take a trip down memory lane when Libby introduced us to the characters in the story. It is the turbulent times of the late 60's that shaped a nation. As a teenager, I watched the news of the marches, bombings and protests. The story gave me a better perspective with the hippie movement that caused much distressed with parents across the country. (The protests and the actions of the charact ...more
Book Concierge

Lila Hilliard has reluctantly come home for Christmas; her father is recovering from hip surgery and needs her, but she doesn’t really get along with her twin brother Danny any longer. A quick errand to get some new lights for the Christmas tree takes longer than she expected, and when she returns the house is in flames. Both her father and brother perish in the inferno. The official verdict is a faulty string of lights, but Lila was certain she had unplugged the tree before leaving the ho
Dec 13, 2015 Maddy rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2011-reads
SETTING: Chicago - late 60s and present day

The late 60s were a turbulent time in America’s history, with groups such as the Black Panthers and SDS being born to address the social issues of the time. The situation explodes at the 1968 Democratic Convention in Chicago, with riots on the streets. Many social activists and idealistic students flocked to Chicago to try to change the world. As the riots rages, six young people meet in the streets and decide to share an apartment as they pu
Faith Mortimer
Sep 19, 2011 Faith Mortimer rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A Thrilling Sixties Trip and More!

Libby Fischer Hellmann's first stand-alone novel, Set the Night on Fire was a great find. The novel set in the sixties and present is part historical, part thriller and part family drama. Ms Hellmann portrayed the 1960's with its often naïve anti-Viet Nam War protestations perfectly.

Our main character is Lila, and when her father and brother are killed in a house sets off an horrendous chain of events that finds Lila on the run from an unknown killer.
Faith Mortimer
May 27, 2012 Faith Mortimer rated it it was amazing
A Thrilling Sixties Trip and More!

Libby Fischer Hellmann's first stand-alone novel, Set the Night on Fire was a great find. The novel set in the sixties and present is part historical, part thriller and part family drama. Ms Hellmann portrayed the 1960's with its often naïve anti-Viet Nam War protestations perfectly.

Our main character is Lila, and when her father and brother are killed in a house sets off an horrendous chain of events that finds Lila on the run from an unknown killer.
Carl Brookins
Nov 02, 2010 Carl Brookins rated it it was amazing
Set The Night On Fire
By Libby Fishcher Hellmann
ISBN: 978-0-98406-5-7
Trade Paperback from
Allium Press, Chicago, 2010
346 pages.

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.
Kathleen Hagen
Set The Night on Fire, by Libby Fischer Hellman, a-minus, Narrated by Diane Pirone Gelman, produced by Libby Fischer Hellman, Downloaded from

Someone is trying to kill Lila Hilliard. During the Christmas holidays she returns from running errands to find her father’s home in flames, her father and
brother trapped inside and burned to death. We also see a man, Dar, released from prison. He has served a 40-year sentence for murder, serving time since 1968, with the murders unplanned, but
Mar 28, 2012 Janebbooks rated it it was amazing
It's the year 1968. The United States of America. Civil Rights leader, Martin Luther King, Jr. has been assassinated in April in Memphis. U.S. Senator Robert F. Kennedy has been killed in June in Los Angeles. And in August the Chicago Seven have been arrested for conspiracy to incite a riot at the Democratic National Convention.

Libby Fischer Hellmann sets her genre-defying novel in the Chicago of 1968...and forty years later. The novel is a historical thriller, a "politically-charged whodunit,"
Elizabeth A.
“I believe you. And I believe you want answers. For all the right reasons. But some things are better left alone. This is one of them.” – Tom Reimer

For Lila Hilliard it’s too late to leave things alone. Not after her father and brother are killed in a house fire that would have also taken her life had she not stepped out to run a quick errand and, shortly thereafter, a mysterious man on a motorcycle takes a few shots at her as she’s walking home one evening.

That attack is foiled by another unkno
Set the night on fire is a fast pace suspenseful thriller that’s a very entertaining read.
Dar Gantner is an ex con that was convicted of an explosion of a department store 40 years ago and was recently released from prison. The people that he had associated with before his imprisonment, were mysteriously dying after or before his release.

One of his friends that was recently killed was named Casey. He and his son Daniel was killed in a house fire. Daniel’s sister Lila would have been in the hous
Dec 08, 2010 John rated it it was amazing
Shelves: libby-hellman, 2010
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 ...more
Jan 14, 2011 Beth rated it it was amazing

It isn’t possible to explain to people who weren’t young on November 22, 1963 how much the world changed with the assassination of John Fitzgerald Kennedy.

Even the attacks on 9/11 did not unify the country as did the death of the president. He was killed in the early afternoon on a Friday. From Friday evening until Monday afternoon, when the funeral ended, businesses shut down, government offices closed, stores cut their business hours, and the people went to church or synagogue to pray for thei
Feb 19, 2013 Gaele rated it it was amazing
An AudioBook Review:
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 m
Dec 13, 2011 Ns rated it really liked it
This story was a mystery thriller that was well-executed. The deeper I read the more interested I became. The key players are introduced in the beginning with a mystery obviously clouding over them all. A mystery that happened in the late 1960s and though decades have passed, not everyone has forgotten. At the center is Lila Hilliard and Dar Gantner, a convict recently released.

When Lila faces a series of unfortunate and tragic events; a house fire that kills her father and brother, a personal
Jan 11, 2011 Emily rated it liked it
My review from Gapers Block:

Most people have some ideas about the ‘60s in general: Vietnam, the protests, the “hippies.” But what about the ‘60s in Chicago? What about the ‘60s in Chicago through the eyes of the young men and women who wanted to better the world? Libby Fischer Hellmann uses her latest thriller, Set the Night on Fire, to transport her readers to a topsy-turvy time in the city’s (and country’s) history, where idealism was everything. Until
Joan Huston
Nov 01, 2010 Joan Huston rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: everyone, especially those who loved or lived the Sixties!
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 th
Dec 20, 2010 Fred rated it it was amazing
I’ve enjoyed all of Libby’s novel, but this is the best one yet. IMHO

This book brought memories, as I live about 90 miles from Chicago and was a in college at the time of the Democratic Convention in Chicago. The book is an exciting trip down memory lane.

The book starts out in the present day with Dar, who has recently been released from prison for a crime he committed during the convention in Chicago. He is able to contact one of his friends that he lived with in Chicago. One of the others is a
Aug 11, 2013 Cat rated it really liked it
Someone is trying to kill Lila Hilliard. Her house has burned down; she's been attacked by a motorcycle maniac; and a grenade has been thrown into her apartment. Each time, someone else saved her. But who? And why? This taut thriller centers on a collective of hippie activists in 1967 and 1968. Lila is the daughter of one of those hippies. Is that why she's a target. Bookended by present day narrative, the 1960s form the core of the book, offering clues (but no solution) to the riddle of who wan ...more
Georgiana Huizenga
Feb 22, 2014 Georgiana Huizenga rated it really liked it
This is the first book by Libby Fischer Hellman that I have read, and it won't be my last. The book successfully goes from the present day to the '60s, when one violent act changes the lives of five friends forever. Someone is trying to kill Lila, but she doesn't know why, although it seems to tie in with her parents' past as activists in Chicago.
Jun 01, 2011 Anne rated it really liked it
Shelves: mystery-thriller
I've read and enjoyed several books by Libby Hellmann, and I think this is the best yet. I was 12 in '68 and was equally fascinated by and fearful of the social turbulence of that time, so I particularly loved how well she captured those tumultuous days. I thought her technique of shifting time periods worked really well as she introduced us to well-formed characters. The result is that we not only understand key players in their youth--when they believed they could change the world--but we unde ...more
May 27, 2016 Pat rated it it was amazing
Really liked this book. Enjoyed the interaction between Lila and Dar. Quite satisfied with the ending. I'll be looking for more from Libby Fischer Hellman. She could become one of my favorite authors.
Sep 09, 2010 Julia rated it it was amazing
This is an excellent mystery - there is enough information to get you thinking, but not enough to give it all away - it was a wonderful page-turner and the settings were so well described, I felt like I had been transported right into the story. The historical ties were wonderful and were woven so well into the story. I have read and enjoyed other mysteries by this author, but this is my favorite, I think! Her style has matured so much, and it was wonderful to see her writing about a local setti ...more
Jun 11, 2011 Joan rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: adult
Set the Night on Fire is the first book in a long time that I literally could NOT put down. I lost a lot of sleep with this book, but it was worth it. It's part historical fiction, part thriller, and an all around well written story. It starts and ends in the present with the daughter of activists from the 1968 Democratic Convention in Chicago who is trying to deal with a family tragedy and fight for her own life with stalkers watching her every move. Eventually she finds out it all goes back to ...more
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.

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
Sep 19, 2014 Noemi rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
2.5 really but can't give it a 3 - too predictable
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After a 10 year hiatus, Chicago video producer Ellie Foreman is back, and soon entangled in a web of espionage, hackers, file encryption, and Chinese spies. A thriller about spies in the post-Snowden era, JUMP CUT will be released March 1, 2016 in print by Poisoned Pen Press and in ebook by The Red Herrings Press.

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