An Ellie Foreman Mystery #5
Libby Fischer Hellmann
Poisoned Pen Press, March 2016
From the publisher—
Hired to produce a candy-floss profile of Chicago-based aviation giant Delcroft, Ellie is dismayed when company VP Charlotte Hollander trashes the production and cancels the project. Ellie believes Hollander was spooked by shots of a specific man in the video footage. But when Ellie arranges to meet the man to find out why, he is killed by a subway train before they can talk. In the confusion, she finds a seemingly abandoned pack of cigarettes with a flash drive inside that belonged to the now-dead man.
Ellie gets the drive’s contents decrypted, but before long discovers she’s under surveillance. Suspecting Delcroft and the ambitious Hollander are behind it, she’s unconvinced when Hollander tells her the dead man was a Chinese spy. Ellie and her boyfriend, Luke, try to find answers, but they don’t realize how far they have ventured into the dangerous echelons of hidden power where more lives are on the line―including their own.
I first met Libby Fischer Hellmann years ago, not too long after the release of her first Ellie Foreman book, An Eye for Murder, and both the book and its author called to me mightily. Through the years before I left the bookstore business, I’d run into Ms. Hellmann here and there at various mystery conventions and we always had a nod and a smile for each other but what I really enjoyed about those times is that it usually meant she had a new book out. In the early days, the books were in the Ellie Foreman series and I always looked forward to them. Alas, the last one came out in 2005 and then the author moved on to other series and standalones, all just as good but I always wished for more Ellie.
Maybe the author heard my wishes; whatever the reasons, Ellie is back and I could not be happier. She’s the same intelligent, caring, somewhat foolhardy woman she’s always been and it takes next to no time for her to become embroiled in a mishmash of espionage and murders, all because she and her video production team were unfairly fired from a job for a huge aviation company. Being fired is one thing—they’ll still get paid—but Ellie is so outraged that she can’t resist digging into what’s going on. Remember I called her “somewhat foolhardy”? Yeah, that’s the perfect term for her and it’s not the TSTL syndrome so much as her mind and her sense of integrity just won’t let it go. Unfortunately, Ellie comes to the attention of a lot of people and they don’t all have her best interests at heart.
Jump Cut is a thriller in the very best sense with explosions and missing people along with the espionage and murders and it would be easy for all of this action to turn sour in the hands of a lesser writer but Ms. Hellmann is, as always, on point. She kept me riveted, needing to know what this simple flash drive held and how it could be so very important to so many factions but, at the same time, I was pulled into her truly normal and appealing personal life. Now, I have to hope that I won’t have to wait so long for my next Ellie Foreman fix 😉
Reviewed by Lelia Taylor, February 2016.