Although Jump Cut is the first addition to the series in almost ten years, it is Libby Hellmann’s fifth Ellie Foreman book. Ellie may be a decade older now than readers remember her, but the Chicago-based video producer is as independent and tough as she ever was. Most tellingly, she is yet to buy into the old adage that curiosity has ended the lives of more than a few curious cats. And now that the huge aviation company for which she has been shooting a puff-piece promotional video fires her before it is finished, Ellie is as curious as any cat has ever been. But if she’s not very, very careful she’s going to go the way of all those overly curious cats that preceded her.
The more she thinks about it, the more certain Ellie is that video shooting was halted because of one man whose image was prominently captured in the preview footage she presented to Delcroft’s officers for review. She knows that being fired by a company of Delcroft’s stature will be bad for business, so Ellie is determined to find out exactly why she was so rudely and aggressively cut loose by the company. But when she arranges to meet with the man whose presence in the video apparently doomed it, he dies only a few feet from her. All she can salvage from the scene is one expertly encrypted flash drive she now believes the dead man intended to leave with her.
|Libby Fischer Hellmann|
And now the real fun begins. Ellie is not the only one who wants the information stored on that flash drive because, as she learns, the dead man may have been working with the Chinese to steal plans for the new anti-drone system technology Delcroft is in the process of producing. So what do the Delcroft people know about this supposed spy, and what is it about his appearance in the video that makes someone there so desperately want to kill the whole project? Ellie is determined to find the answers – if only she manages to live long enough to do it. And she is not without a few assets of her own, especially the friendship of two men (one of whom is her boyfriend Luke) who have spent their lives working in various covert roles for the U.S. government. Too, as would be expected, Ellie’s “assets” have assets of their own, and they are willing to call in as many favors as it takes to put them into play on Ellie’s behalf.
Jump Cut reads like a story snatched from the headlines of the world we live in today, a world in which war between governments is waged behind the scene to such a degree that most of us only hear about them when they are all but over. Libby Hellmann definitely has a winner in Ellie Foreman, so here’s hoping we don’t have to wait another ten years to hear from Ellie again.