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review 2017-03-19 16:26
"War, Spies. and Bobby Sox", by Libby Fischer Hellmann
War, Spies & Bobby Sox - Libby Fischer Hellmann

Stories About World War Two at Home

This novel contains three fast-reading tales that depicts the tumultuous effect of war on the home front. Chicago is the backdrop and where the action takes place.

Contents:

The Incidental Spy (a novella) was originally published in 2015.
“The Day Miriam Hirsch Disappeared” was published in 2005.
P.O.W. (a novella) will be published for the first time in 2017.

Taken at large from real events, the author has used her wild imagination to give us a glimpse on what may have happened to people caught up during this tumultuous time. The stories are short and sweet, written with passion and very engaging. “The Incidental Spy” is clever story that brush on the Manhattan Project and the spies who wanted its secrets. “POW” is a love story involving a young farm girl and a Nazi prisoner of war. Finally, “The Day Mariam Hirsch Disappeared” recounts the disappearance of a beautiful Jewish actress and a possible espionage ring days before Pearl Harbor.

I loved these stories I was drawn in from the get-go and stayed immersed into their plots till the very end. Even being novellas the stories are complete with suspense and progresses at a good pace, have excellent plot lines and well-rounded characters. A bit of romance didn’t hurt as well making the lives of the people involved all too real.

I received this ARC from the author for an honest and unbiased review

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review 2016-11-16 00:00
Havana Lost
Havana Lost - Libby Fischer Hellmann If a family saga is told about a mob family's saga, does algebra mean it ceases to be a family saga?

Headstrong teen, Francesca Pacelli, is a mob boss' daughter living in Havana at the dawn of the Cuban Revolution. Rather than leave for the USA, she falls in love with a revolutionary. Her father takes that news so well that he even sells arms to the rebels to get her back. Good thing she grows up to be a mob boss herself.

When I started Hellmann's Havana Lost I had been expecting a more standard crime novel. It took me a while to realise that this was going to be a saga stretching from the 1950s in Cuba to modern day USA. Love and tragedy fill the story to the brim, making for an interesting read. But without a protagonist to follow throughout the novel, I felt a little lost. This was partly because I wasn't prepared for the saga - should have read the blurb I suppose - and partly because there is a lot of setup to the story with Francesca's character.

So as long as you are prepared for the Pacelli family tale of love, loss, and coltan mines, you should enjoy this.
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review 2016-08-21 15:55
"Easy Innocence", by Libby Fischer Hellmann
Easy Innocence - Libby Fischer Hellmann

Book 1, Georgia Davis series

What are your teen-age daughters up to when you are too busy to pay attention and how far will they go for approval from their peers? This tightly-written mystery will have you wonder and very concerned. “Easy Innocence” is above all an intriguing and a classic detective mystery.

Georgia Davis a no-nonsense female private detective has been hired to help clear a mentally ill man who has been accused of killing a teenage girl. Through her investigation Georgia discovers the girl was killed at a high-school hazing and her death may be linked to a local teenage prostitution ring operating on the North-Shore of Chicago.

This story is quite a mystery ride played out by a multi-faceted, intelligent actress who gets herself in tight spots and in trouble while doing her job. The plot is solid with no over the top silly action, mostly realistic and delicately treated to open one’s eyes without being graphic and insensitive. Each chapter smoothly captures the moment and wraps it up before moving to the next chapter. The drama moves at a steady pace and never let go. From the opening page I was hooked.

What would teens do for money? When Georgia gets closer to uncovering the truth it becomes hard to imagine or believe children would resort to prostitution for the mighty buck.

This is a solid story built with depth, has plenty of clever twists and is populated with colourful characters. This is a page-tuner that flows nicely.

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review 2016-06-26 18:35
Jump Cut, An Ellie Foreman Mystery Book 5 by Libby Hellmann
Jump Cut - Libby Fischer Hellmann

Jump Cut, An Ellie Foreman Mystery Book 5 by Libby Hellmann is a suspense-thriller that involves corporate mystery, spies, government agencies with only initials, kidnapping & of course Ellie Foreman in the midst of it all.

 

Because it kept me guessing & entertained from beginning to end, I gave it five stars.

After Ellie's job with Delcroft ended abruptly she was tortured by her feelings of inadequacy. "The voices of my insecurity mimicked the tone & words of my late mother. 'Yes, a B-plus is nice, but where is the A?'"

 

Whenever she was stressed, she cleaned house. "I've always believed that the physical activity of cleaning, organizing, & putting things into their proper place has a similar effect on my thinking. I didn't care much whether it was real or a placebo. I needed clarity."

 

I received a complimentary copy from Poisoned Pen Press & NetGalley. That did not change my opinion for this review.

 

Link to purchase: http://www.amazon.com/Jump-Ellie-Foreman-Mysteries-Book-ebook/dp/B018UXGQ6U 287

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review 2016-05-10 16:06
from FictionZeal.com re: Jump Cut by Libby Fischer Hellmann
Jump Cut - Libby Fischer Hellmann

Ellie Foreman is a video producer in Chicago.  She’s good at her job.  No one was more shocked than she when her client Charlotte Hollander, Delcroft VP, said her newest promotional video for Delcroft was amateurish and undignified.  Charlotte fired her on the spot.  Ellie had made notes of what was on the video when Charlotte seemed to become uncomfortable with it.  When she later played the video back for herself, she realized those shots included Gregory Parks who’d introduced himself to Ellie as a Consultant for Delcroft.  On a hunch, Ellie contacted Gregory to set up a meeting.  He never made it to their meeting.  He either jumped … or was pushed … into the path of a subway train.  She finds a pack of cigarettes lying near where he was killed.  Instead of cigarettes, the pack held a flash drive.  After finding out the drive was encrypted, she seeks a hacker to decode the contents.  But, unfortunate things begin to happen to people she’s close to.  She determines someone has placed her under surveillance.

 

The Ellie Foreman series had gone dormant since 2005 (A Shot to Die For) and now realistically, the years have passed for our protagonist as well.  Pieces of this story don’t fall into place naturally, like managing to find the cigarette pack at the scene of the crime without calling attention to herself or being stopped from taking them.  It’s highly coincidental that the pack actually belonged to Parks.   The pace and the mystery are nicely complicated with espionage, murder, and tumult.  Ellie is an amateur sleuth but this not a cozy.  She makes mistakes that many of us would make if we were afraid, and there was plenty to be afraid of.  Rating: 3.5 out of 5.

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