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Set the Night on Fire

3.96  ·  Rating details ·  171 ratings  ·  57 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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3.96  · 
Rating details
 ·  171 ratings  ·  57 reviews

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Jul 01, 2015 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
Elyse Walters
Nov 09, 2011 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: (
Jan 30, 2011 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
Jul 22, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
First time reading this author and won’t be the last. I loved this book. A wonderful historical thriller that took me back to the years I was growing up and the naive idealism of the time.
M.A. Comley
May 11, 2011 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.
Jul 12, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Set the Night on Fire by Libby Fischer Hellmann vividly recreates that sense of not fitting into a changing world which characterized both the sixties and the present. A protagonist recently released from jail struggles to understand how technology has moved on—“appalled at how disposable capitalism had become… fascinated by phones smaller than a pack of cigarettes…” Meanwhile an intriguing young woman displays a love for numbers and patterns that immediately endears her to this reader. But how ...more
Jan 12, 2018 rated it did not like it
This is a truly mediocre book, the story is predictable, totally not original and with serious issues of plausibility. One can easily spot the whodunnit at a third of the story and you see coming well in advance even what is supposed to be the last twist, the grand final surprise....what the hell!
On paper, the novel had many elements which make what a good book is for me, such as the coming of age theme, some mystery, a touch of political intrigue; unfortunately all this is treated in a very sup
Stephanie Kohen
May 06, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Very fast read! Story really grabs you and you do not want to put it down.
Dec 04, 2010 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
Jan 14, 2011 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
Carl Brookins
Nov 02, 2010 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.
Feb 03, 2011 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
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
Feb 19, 2013 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
Lis Carey
Oct 25, 2016 rated it really liked it
Forty years ago, idealistic young Americans wanted to end the Vietnam War, make a more just society, change the world. Forty years later, a secret involving one group of those once-young people is causing a string of murders.

Dar Gantner, Alix Kerr, Julie Bergman, Casey Hilliard, Teddy Markham, and Payton meet accidentally in Chicago the summer of the 1968 Democratic convention. They're all to varying degrees involved in the protests, and in the aftermath they become housemates and friends, becom
Mar 28, 2012 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,"
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
Faith Mortimer
Mar 10, 2011 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.
Faith Mortimer
Sep 19, 2011 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.
Dec 13, 2011 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
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
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
Nov 09, 2011 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
Joan Huston
Nov 01, 2010 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
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
Dec 07, 2010 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
Set the Night on Fire by Libby Fischer Hellmann

Lila Hillard had left the family home to get some new Christmas lights. On her way back her house was on fire and both he father and brother had perish in the fire. Lila is devastated and started to look into her fathers files. She spots a picture of six people including her father and mother. Lila starts to track each person down to find out anything about her mother.
Dar Ganther is out looking for his daughter the child he had given up to one of h
Dec 20, 2010 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
May 12, 2011 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
Jul 08, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: audible
Dar Gantner, recently released from prison, is looking up some of his old friends only to find that one has died in an 'accident', another has died in a home fire along with his son. His friend's daughter, Lila, was fortunate not to be home when the fire started. Another friend, Rain, had an unfortunate car accident after she has helped him with some information he needed.
Lila tries to find some information about her mother's family when she begins to think someone is trying to kill her. Dar re
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Libby Fischer Hellmann left a career in broadcast news in Washington, DC and moved to Chicago 35 years ago, where she, naturally, began to write gritty crime fiction. Sixteen novels and twenty-five short stories later, she claims they’ll take her out of the Windy City feet first. She has been nominated for many awards in the mystery writing community and has even won a few.

Her newest work is HIGH