Friday, April 04, 2014

Friday's Forgotten Books, Friday, April 4, 2014

 The next special Friday on FFB, listed to the left, will be on May16 and reviewed books will be crime fiction from the 1950s.  (written then, not set then)

Of course, any review is welcome. If you haven't read a book from the fifties recently, you may find one lurking in your archives.

Six years of forgotten books this month. It's been a privilege to work with so many great reviewers.

Set the Night on Fire by Libby Fischer Hellmann (2010)

This is one of the few books I’ve read in recent years that uses sixties’ radicalism in a crime fiction plot. And uses it to good avail. Hellmann tells an interesting story with just the right amount of attention to the climate of the sixties to anchor it. Her characters are fleshed out well, and we come to care about them in the past and in the present.

Dar Gartner is newly released from jail after serving a long prison sentence for an act of radicalism. In trying to put a new life together in Chicago, he also touches base with some members of his old group of friends. Friends who begin to die after his re-entry into their lives. His life seems in jeopardy as well.
One of the friends who dies is the father of Lila Hilliard. Hilliard, along with Lila's brother, perish in a house fire seemingly caused by faulty Christmas tree lights. Except Lila remembers unplugging the lights before she went out. As she investigates her father’s business affairs and the fire, her own life is threatened and she realizes there were things about her father and his tale of her long-dead mother that never quite added up. 

So Lila and Dar begin circling each other, Lila is wary at first until in desperation they collectively put the puzzle together. Both are at risk and neither knows precisely where the threat is coming from, but both eventually conclude it's coming from past activities of the group of friends. 

The reader travels back to the late sixties and watches the group of women and men living together, making the decisions that will affect the rest of their life. Through their circle, we're treated to insight into the types of young people drawn to radicalism and what price they were willing to pay to reform society. And also, what lengths they were willing to go to to cover their trail and how that history impacts the present.

The race of Lila and Dar to piece together the plot against them and act swiftly enough to save their lives makes this a thrilling read.

This was a very fine and compelling story.

Sergio Angelini, THE TODD DOSSIER, Robert Bloch
Yvette Banek, NOBODY WORE BLACK, Delano Ames
Brian Busby, OVERNIGHT ESCAPADE, Stephen Mark
Bill Crider, A CANDLE FOR THE DEAD, Hugh Marlowe
Martin Edwards, ROSE'S LAST SUMMER. Margaret Millar
Jerry House, STRANGE GATEWAYS, E. Hoffman Price
Rick Horton, A SPORT AND A PAST TIME, James Salter
Randy Johnson, TREACHERY AT ROCK POINT, Peter Dawson
Nick Jones, RUSSIAN ROULETTE, James Mitchell
Margot Kinberg, WOLF HALL, Hillary Mantel
Rob Kitchin, THE LONG GOODBYE, Michael Lister
B.V. Lawson, A DRAM OF POISON, Charlotte Armstrong
Evan Lewis "Hop Cargo" Robert Leslie Bellem
Steve Lewis/William Deeck, FOLLOW THIS FAIR CORPSE, Laurence Dwight Smith
Todd Mason, 100 GREAT FANTASY SHORT SHORT STORIES, edited by Terry Carr, Isaac Asimov and Martin H. Greenberg
Neer, MURDER AT THE PAGEANT, Victor L. Whitechurch
J.F.. Norris, THE CASE AGAINST MYSELF, Gregory Tree
Erica Obey,  THE RED CARNELIAN, Phyllis A. Whitney
James Reasoner, THE LONELY GUN, Gordon D. Shirreffs
Richard Robinson, FINAL NOTICE, Joe Gores
Kevin Tipple/Barry Ergang, TOO LATE FOR TEARS, Roy Huggins
TomCat, MY TRUE LOVE LIES, Lenore Glen Offord


Anonymous said...

Patti, if you want a mystery with 60's activism plots you might try Roger L. Simon, Lia Matera and Wendy Hornsby.

Jeff M.

pattinase (abbott) said...

Thanks, Jeff. I have read a Simon book, the one with the movie with Dreyfus.

Nick Jones (Louis XIV, the Sun King) said...

Congrats on six years of FFB, Patti!

J F Norris said...

Mine's up now:

The Case Against Myself by Gregory Tree

Jerry House said...

Wow! Six year of books to add to Mount TBR. Congrats, Patti!

Todd Mason said...

Yeah, the politics of the THE BIG FIX might annoy you a little, but the politics of the later, neoconservative Roger Simon will drive you up a wall.

Rick Robinson said...

Six years, wow. I wish I'd been here for all of it. You do a terrific job! I have learned of, and bought, so many good books as a result of your efforts and all the ffb reviews.

I like the "decade" idea for a special, and it will be fun to browse the bookshelves to find the right thing.

Charles Gramlich said...

Set the night on fire is such a great title.

Todd Mason said...

100 GREAT FANTASY SHORT SHORT STORIES, edited by Terry Carr, Isaac Asimov and Martin H. Greenberg (Doubleday 1984)

Thanks...the years fly, no?

Todd Mason said...

And, of course, that fine McCone, TROPHIES AND DEAD THINGS by Marcia Muller...

Randy Johnson said...

I have one, Patti.

Todd Mason said...

BV's is missing its link:

Yvette said...

I've got one today, Patti. NOBODY WORE BLACK by Delano Ames. :)

neer said...

The book sounds compelling Patti.

I like the idea of the Special FFB on 16th May and will be writing a post for it.

Kelly Robinson said...

I respect your decision to stop the featured authors, but as I said in my long post when you announced it, I will sorely miss it. It was a big part of my mystery author education.

pattinase (abbott) said...

Let's see how this one goes, Kelly. I had waning interest in the single author joint posts. Have you looked at the THRILLING DETeCTIVE site. THat used to have a wealth of information.

Anonymous said...

Patti - Thanks as ever for including my post.

Kelly Robinson said...

It wasn't the information I was seeking so much, Patti, as the motivation to read a specific author—with a deadline on it. (The first themed week I didn't manage a post for, I still read a new book by Shirley Jackson.) If anyone involved here wanted to organize informal author weeks, I'd be thrilled to be involved.