Authors: Libby Fischer Hellmann
“A many-layered adventure…smart writing, done in accomplished style by an author who never talks down to her readers.”
Mystery Scene Magazine
“A riveting historical thriller… This multigenerational page-turner is packed with intrigue and shocking plot twists.”
“A sprawling tale… the story of the Cuban revolution, as well as the Cuban military efforts in Angola, is fascinating…”
“Hellmann’s writing has matured considerably since her early novels. Her plotting has become more solid and assured, her characters more realistic, her settings wonderfully described. This is a fine, extremely well told novel.”
“The Iranian revolution provides the backdrop for this meticulously researched, fast-paced stand-alone …A significant departure from the author’s Chicago-based Ellie Foreman and Georgia Davis mystery series, this political thriller will please established fans and newcomers alike.”
“Hellmann crafts a tragically beautiful story… both subtle and vibrant… never sacrificing the quality of her storytelling. Instead, the message drives the psychological and emotional conflict painting a bleak and heart wrenching tale that will stick with the reader long after they finish the book.”
“Readers will be drawn in through the well-researched inside look at Iran in the late 1970s and gain perspective on what the people in that time and place endured.
A Bitter Veil
is so thought-provoking that it especially would be a great title for book clubs to discuss.”
A Bitter Veil
… is a social statement about what can happen when religious fundamentalism trumps human rights, but that’s hardly a drawback in this suspenseful, well-researched book. It might even serve as a warning.”
Mystery Scene Magazine
“A top-rate standalone thriller that taps into the antiwar protests of the 1960s and 70s…A jazzy fusion of past and present, Hellman’s insightful, politically charged whodunit explores a fascinating period in American history.”
“Superior standalone novel…Hellmann creates a fully-realized world…complete with everyday details, passions and enthusiasms on how they yearned for connection, debated about ideology and came to belief in taking risks to stand up for what they believed.”
“Haunting…Rarely have history, mystery, and political philosophy blended so beautifully…could easily end up on the required reading list in college-level American History classes.”
Mystery Scene Magazine
“Hellmann brings to life the reality of bullying among teenage girls with enough twists and turns to keep you reading. Highly recommended.”
, Starred Review
“Just what’s needed in a mystery… Depth of characterization sets this new entry by Hellmann apart from a crowded field.”
“There’s a new no-nonsense female private detective in town: Georgia Davis, a former cop who is tough and smart enough to give even the legendary V.I. Warshawski a run for her money.”
A Bitter Veil
Set the Night on Fire
THE GEORGIA DAVIS SERIES
THE ELLIE FOREMAN SERIES
A Shot to Die For
An Image of Death
A Picture of Guilt
An Eye for Murder
Nice Girl Does Noir
This is a work of fiction. Descriptions and portrayals of real people, events, organizations, or establishments are intended to provide background for the story and are used fictitiously. Other characters and situations are drawn from the author’s imagination and are not intended to be real.
Copyright © 2014 Libby Fischer Hellmann
All rights reserved.
Cover design by Miguel Ortuno
Interior design by Sue Trowbridge
Library of Congress Control Number: 2014908554
For Jan Gordon
who has my everlasting admiration and respect
I have nobody to talk to, to confide in and share my problems with. I have nobody to cheer me up when I’m down, nobody to love or love me back. I have nobody. I am alone.
hey swarmed into the store like a plague of locusts. The rows of pants, jeans, and shirts were stacked in neat piles ready to tempt shoppers. The floors were swept, the windows sparkled, and punk music flowed out of the loudspeakers. Reggie Field, the store owner, didn’t much like punk. He preferred Dylan, the Byrds, even Motown, but oldies wouldn’t work for his customers.
He sipped the last of his latte, mentally congratulating himself for finally being in the right place at the right time. A serial entrepreneur, he’d failed more than not, but last fall he’d opened a designer discount store in Evanston, a suburb just north of Chicago. Evanston was a mecca for college kids, not only from Northwestern and the teachers college whose name he never remembered, but Loyola students and high school wannabes too. The store took off, and fourteen months later, he turned a profit. He’d been thinking about opening another store.
He was contemplating whether to flirt with his new salesgirl—it was only her third day, but she was cute, curvy, and blond—when the doors flew open and a horde of young males streamed in. There had to be more than twenty, all converging on the store. Reggie froze as they surged past him without a glance and slithered down the aisles. They planted themselves beside the counters, the wall units, even the display mannequins. Where had they come from? How had they managed to appear en masse, like they’d crashed a boring party and were taking over?
Wearing oversized jackets, backpacks, baggy pants, and gym shoes, these kids weren’t the preppy college kids who usually shopped here. A few had earbuds that trailed white cords and were bobbing their heads. Others grinned and laughed and shouted over the store’s speakers. The pungent smell of weed drifted over. All within a minute.
The new girl tried to ask one or two if they needed help, but they pushed past her, knocking her off balance. Reggie set his latte down next to the register.
“Hey. Watch it!”
But no one answered, and he soon saw why. The kids were too busy raking through piles of clothes and holding them up. It was when they started stuffing them into their backpacks and bags that Reggie ducked behind the cash register, pulled out his cell, and called 911.
“Designer Discount Den. I’m getting ripped off. Right now. About twenty. Maybe more. Get here right away!”
Still behind the counter, he pushed a button and a loud alarm sounded. Any normal person would have been startled by ear-splitting blasts that sounded like the end of the world. Not these punks. They kept grabbing clothes and stuffing them into jackets and backpacks, all the while laughing and high-fiving each other, clearly enjoying the bedlam they’d created. That’s what it was, Reggie realized. Sheer bedlam. Everything he’d worked for was turning to shit.
His pulse pounding, his blood pressure sky-high, Reggie tried to think. The best thing would be to get the hell out of the store. Lock the doors with them inside. They’d be trapped. He’d heard of another guy who did exactly that, but the assholes managed to sneak out the back, smashing windows as they ran. And what about his girl? He craned his neck, trying to spot her. He finally saw her, pinned against the wall by two punks. What were they doing? He couldn’t tell, but her eyes met his. She looked terrified. Fury knifed through him. He couldn’t abandon her—Maya, that was her name—to these barbarians. With a boldness he hardly recognized in himself, he tore himself from behind the counter and shouldered his way through the mob.
“Hey! Get away from her. Right now. Leave her the fuck alone!”
Two guys spun around, releasing their hold on the girl. As she sprinted toward the front door, one of the punks grabbed him from behind, while the other hit him across the jaw. A third belted him with an uppercut to his chin. The last thing Reggie heard as he slumped to the floor was Maya’s scream.