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"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 will have unforeseen consequences for someone that I may not even know. In "Set the Night on Fire," 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.
9 of 9 people found this review helpful
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.
4 of 4 people found this review helpful