Chicago video producer Ellie Foreman has been absent from thriller author Libby Fischer Hellmann's repertoire for almost a decade. Now, in Jump Cut, she's back...and is soon to find herself entangled in a web of espionage, murder, and suspicion that threatens to destroy what she holds most dear.
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. When Ellie's daughter is kidnapped and Charlotte Hollander disappears, it becomes terrifyingly clear that Ellie is in way over her head, and more lives are on the line--including her own.
Earn by promoting books
Earn money by sharing your favorite books through our Affiliate program.Become an affiliate
About the Author
Chicago freelance videographer Ellie Foreman's assignment for Delcroft Aviation has her filming promotional videos for the military and civilian aircraft manufacturer. While most of Delcroft's profits stem from their military contracts, Ellie's task is to produce storybook videos that will be promoted on their social media sites, revealing a softer side of the company. While reviewing shots with her editor, they notice the constant presence of one figure in the background. Gregory Parks had introduced himself to Ellie as a consultant, and although she questioned his story she couldn't help but be charmed by the handsome Asian man. So she's furious when the Vice-President Charlotte Hollander has a visible reaction to seeing Parks in the video, then abruptly fires Ellie for incompetence. Reeling from the sting to her ego, Ellie contacts Parks and demands that they meet. Instead of an explanation, Parks jumps or is pushed in front of a CTA train. Feeling guilty, but unwilling to risk losing her reputation by getting involved, Ellie refrains from coming forward as a witness. What she does do is secretly retrieve the Marlboro cigarette box Parks last held, along with the encrypted flash drive hidden inside. Using the assistance of an ethical hacker, a familiar FBI agent, as well as Ellie's own boyfriend and family, Ellie delves into the politically murky worlds of drone warfare, espionage, and religious persecution. Ellie often may act more rashly than wisely, but spurring her on is her need to use her skills to merit out the closest thing to justice as is possible in a world of gray. Hellman's considerable talent lies in educating readers while also entertaining them through the viewpoint of a very likable and engaging heroine. Previous entries have had Ellie learning about Judaism through the tales of her very sharp 94 year-old father, and here the author explores the wrenching tale of Uyghurs, Turkish-Asian Muslims being tormented by their home country of China. The very timely issue of the privatization and profiteering of our country's security is also placed at the forefront, but the politics never overshadow what is at heart a very compelling mystery led by an engaging and sympathetic heroine. This delightful series exists within the same world as Hellman's Georgia Davis novels, and the intersection of their characters continues to be a rewarding treat.--KingsRiverLife
Wow, I really enjoyed this book! And in all honesty, I didn't expect to. Typically, I don't gravitate to female authors, or to female protagonists. As a KBC (kidless by choice) and lifelong career woman, I don't often have much in common with the topics that hold the interest of Moms. I'm not denigrating their "careers" -- God bless them for the tough job they do! -- I just don't generally care about stories focusing on crimes involving children and I absolutely HATE the romance angles. So... I began reading with squinty, suspicious eyes... and surprise! I thoroughly enjoyed the main character Ellie (maybe not her style choices, such as 3" platform sneakers...ugh) and had no specific allergic reactions to her daughter, which is saying a lot. I also enjoyed her interaction with her cameraman, with witty, sarcastic little remarks zipping back and forth. Now, had the abovementioned fluff gone on for too awfully long, I'd have moved on to some other book, but Ms. Hellman knows when to get serious and work on an intelligent plot. The pace was perfect and there were enough quick, unexpected turns to keep your brain clicking happily along. Danger and suspense, on my personal scale of 1 to 10 (no one gets a 10 except possibly Daniel Silva...on occasion), garnered a 6, which is still better than average, and I'm a difficult judge. (Probably has something to do with the fact that I'm ancient and so have read millions of books. Well, OK, hundreds of books.) I will definitely consider reading more Hellmann books, and will recommend them to friends.--NetGalley
Curiosity darn near kills a filmmaker. Documentary director Ellie Foreman is making a puff piece to burnish the image of Delcroft Aviation, whose consumer branch is but a minor part of their major business of military aircraft and drones. Things are going swimmingly until Ellie meets Gregory Parks, who claims to be a consultant investigating new trends in consumer aviation, at one of the shooting locations. When Delcroft engineer Charlotte Hollander suddenly notices a surfeit of Parks in the background of the film, she unceremoniously fires Ellie, citing her lack of professionalism as an excuse. Deeply offended to be dumped in such a cavalier manner, Ellie sets up a meeting with Parks to pump him for information. But Parks falls or is pushed in front of a train. By sheer chance, Ellie picks up a cigarette package with a flash drive hidden inside that she's sure belonged to Parks. Although her boyfriend, Luke Sutton, warns her about getting involved, she finds a hacker through a friend who tries to break the drive's encryption. Then, when Hollander vanishes, Ellie becomes convinced that her phone is tapped and her computer hacked and that she's being followed. And that's hardly surprising, for she's delved into a dark world of conspiracies and hidden agendas in the dangerous underbelly of Delcroft's government work. Only her wealthy boyfriend, who has contacts through his former military service, and a sly FBI agent can hope to save her hide. After a long hiatus (A Shot to Die For, 2010, etc.) Hellmann returns to her Chicago-based sleuth with a chilling tale that may be all too close to the truth.--Kirkus
I don't usually read espionage books anymore but I have to say this book had me reading into the night because I wanted to see what happened next. The characters are likeable and plot is something else. I would definitely read more from this author.--NetGalley
Chicago video producer Ellie For an was hired to film a fluff piece on aviation company Delcroft, but she's barely begin when Delcroft vice president Charlotte Hollander kills the project. Ellie thinks it has something to do with a man who showed up on some of this footage. A meeting with the mystery man to find out what's going on doesn't happen when he's struck down by a subway train. She does however, get his encrypted flash drive. Ellie begins to fear for her life when she realizes she's being followed. She doesn't believe the Delcroft line that the murdered man was a spy for the Chinese, and when Ellie's daughter is kidnapped, all she knows is that she stands to lose everything and everyone she loves--NetGalley
With Jump Cut, Libby Fischer Hellmann unreels her fifth Ellie Foreman thriller, in which a Chicago video producer finds herself caught up in a deadly international conspiracy. Ellie and her film company have a good reputation. Even so, it is a surprise when the multibillion-dollar Chicago-based corporation and major defense contractor, Delcroft, asks her to film a candy-coated, feel-good profile. It's smooth sailing until Charlotte Hollander, Delcroft's vice president of engineering, goes ballistic when she sees Ellie's first edit, calling it "a pastiche of amateur photography." Ellie is shocked and confused. Then her intuition suggests Hollander's attack was spurred by the casual background video appearance of Gregory Parks, a mysterious "consultant" she and Hollander both met at a trade show. She traces Parks. He asks to meet her at a Loop CTA station, but as she approaches the meeting, she witnesses his apparent murder. But Parks has left a clue: a zip drive concealed in a cigarette pack. With that, Ellie descends into a labyrinth of conspiracies and cover-ups involving government alphabet agencies, rogue Blackwater-type private security operators, Uyghur separatists from China's Tamir Basin, and an ambitious Chinese general named Gao. Short chapters rocket the fast-paced plot through references to drones, encrypted computer codes, and Hollander's scientific breakthrough--DADES, Delcroft's Air Defense Energy System. Ellie races around with zip drive in hand, stopping at Chi-town landmarks like the Baha'i Temple and Northfield's famous Happ Inn, along with other restaurants, bars, and hot spots. The supporting cast adds depth, including Ellie's stalwart retired military boyfriend, Luke. Hellmann catches perfectly the nuances of an autumn romance. Other notable secondary characters are the Porsche Spyder-driving FBI agent Nick Lejeune, and Jake, Ellie's ninety-something-year-old father, "a wizened Ben Kingsley" always up for "kreplach soup, corned beef on rye, and coffee" at his favorite deli. With Hellmann tossing in IEDs, murder by car crash, kidnapping, and spooky allusions to the "Deep State," the nightmare confederation of bureaucrats, moneyed interests, and military-industrial-complex honchos controlling the US government, Jump Cut is an easy-to-read mystery inspired by the paranoia-causing NSA-Snowden headlines.--Foreward Reviews
Hellmann's writing sparkles in this latest Ellie Foreman mystery (the first in a decade). Ellie, a Chicago video producer, is humiliated when her presentation of a promotional video for an aircraft company is rejected by the company's vice president, who seems to have been frightened by the appearance of a particular man in some shots. Ellie sets up a meeting with that man, only to see him die on the El tracks. She finds his jump drive with encrypted data and has a friend try to crack it. When the friend's office is blown up hours after she told an executive she had the drive, Ellie realizes she is in over her head. Drones, military secrets, and treason all seem to be involved, but Ellie isn't sure how to connect the dots and winds up simply trying to keep herself and her daughter out of danger. There is plenty of suspense in this richly detailed thriller, but Hellmann's characteristic wit and warmth are evident, too. A nice mix of action and character.--Booklist