An Image of Death
By Libby Fischer Hellmann
Hard cover from Poisoned Pen Press
285 pages, $24.95
Independent video producer Ellie Foreman is unwillingly trapped between murky political history and a murderous present.
When an unknown individual delivers a video to Ellie Foreman’s front door, she is swept into a complex and dangerous set of circumstances. The video depicts the apparent murder of a young woman. Although Ellie promptly delivers the video to the local police, the scene continues to haunt her.
The pressures of her current contract to produce an upbeat video about a foster children project in Chicago, brings her into contact with members of the cream of Chicago’s Gold Coast, a group Ellie is not entirely comfortable with. Then her relationship with David begins to come apart. Things do not bode well as these disparate elements swirl about Ellie’s existence and the normal life she is trying to maintain for her teen-aged daughter.
Fischer-Hellman has fashioned a story that intriguingly entwines two separate plots, one set in the dark days of the fall of the Soviet Union, and another in the go-go-atmosphere of upscale property development in Chicago. If there is an occasional coincidence and if some of Ellie’s activities with a friendly patrol woman stretch credibility just a bit, there is plenty of gritty dark reality to balance. That she is able to maintain a high level of interest in both, demonstrates her mastery of the genre and her skills as a writer.