How far will a candidate go to become president? Erica Sparks—America’s top-rated cable-news host— is about to find out.
Mike Ortiz is a dynamic war hero favored to win the White House. Standing by his side is his glamorous and adoring wife, Celeste. But something about this seemingly perfect couple troubles Erica. Is Celeste really who she seems? And most importantly, what really happened in that squalid Al-Qaeda prison where Mike Ortiz spent nine months?
But more than the nation’s future is at stake. Erica’s relentless search for the truth puts the life of her preteen daughter Jenny in danger, even as Erica’s own dark past threatens to overtake her.
In her latest Newsmakers thriller, New York Times bestselling author and Fox News legal analyst Lis Wiehl weaves a taut and chilling story. The Candidate is packed with political intrigue and media manipulation as the lust for power turns deadly indeed.
About the Author
Lis Wiehl is one of the nation’s most prominent trial lawyers and highly regarded legal commentators. The former legal analyst for Fox News and the O’Reilly Factor, she has appeared regularly on Your World with Neil Cavuto, Lou Dobbs Tonight, and the Imus morning shows, and was the host of the Wiehl of Justice podcast. She is also a professor at New York Law School and a host on the Law & Crime live trial network. A former legal analyst and reporter for NBC News and NPR’s All Things Considered, she also served as a federal prosecutor in the United States Attorney’s office and was a tenured professor of law at the University of Washington. Wiehl earned her JD from Harvard Law School and her MA in literature from the University of Queensland. She lives near New York City.
Sebastian Stuart has published four novels under his own name, including The Hour Between, winner of the Ferro-Grumley Award and an NPR Season’s Readings selection. He has also co-written national and New York Times bestselling books. As senior editor of e-book publisher New Word City, Stuart has written over two dozen original non-fiction e-books.
Read an Excerpt
A Newsmakers Novel
By LIS WIEHL, Sebastian Stuart
Thomas NelsonCopyright © 2016 Lis Wiehl
All rights reserved.
IT'S MONDAY MORNING AND ERICA Sparks is in the elevator at GNN headquarters in New York — going up. She's on her way to a meeting with Mort Silver, the head of the network. Silver called her yesterday and scheduled it. She isn't sure what his agenda is, but she suspects it has to do with her hopes of moderating one of the presidential debates in the fall. With her nightly news show The Erica Sparks Effect dominating its time slot, and her reputation as one of the best in the business, Erica is searching for new challenges, and the prospect of being part of America's quadrennial exercise in democracy — messy and imperfect as it is — excites her.
She feels a little shiver of expectancy as the elevator shoots skyward. Erica loves mornings — when the world is still fresh and her mind clips along, almost tripping over itself with plans, ideas, and inspiration. Her life, so tumultuous over the past few years, is finally settling down. She's achieved her two great goals: success in the news business and gaining custody of her daughter, Jenny. Yes, things get edgy at times — Erica feels like she still has the training wheels on her mothering skills — but they usually manage to work it all out. Jenny means more to her than anything in the world.
The only piece missing from her life is Greg, the man she loves. He's a world away, in Australia, working insane hours helping to launch a cable news network. It's an amazing opportunity, and Erica was supportive of his seizing it, but not having him around has been tough. There are nights — after her daughter has gone to bed, as she goes around the apartment turning off lights — when she feels almost overcome with loneliness, with a yearning to have a man by her side during these exciting and fulfilling times.
The elevator doors open on the fortieth floor and Erica gets off. She takes a deep breath. She likes Mort Silver, but his leadership style can be a little intimidating. After Erica's investigation sent GNN's founder Nylan Hastings to jail for the rest of his life, several large media companies vied to buy the network. Google was the winner, and CEO Sundar Pichai has turned out to be a demanding if distant boss. He was smart enough to hire Silver, a seasoned broadcast pro, to run the network — these men play to win, and the company's results prove the wisdom of their ways. But they're known for pushing employees to deliver — and if they don't, well, sayonara.
Silver's receptionist gives Erica a deferential smile and says, "Mr. Silver is expecting you."
Erica walks down the wide hallway and into Silver's large corner office. Unlike Nylan Hastings, who filled the space with modern art, Silver's taste is more traditional — one wall has been lined with mahogany shelving that holds his three Emmys and other awards, and the other walls are home to numerous framed articles about Silver and his successes in the news business. Modest the man isn't.
"Erica!" Mort Silver says with a big smile, leaping up from his chair and coming to greet her. He's around fifty, tall, and a little bulky, with an avuncular manner that borders on the overbearing.
"Nice to see you, Mort."
He ushers her into the office. "Can we get you something to drink, something to eat?"
"I'm fine," Erica says, sitting down opposite his desk.
Mort sits back down and leans forward, elbows on the desk. "It's always such a pleasure to see you," he says. He works hard at being charming, but it always comes across as just that — work.
"Likewise," Erica says.
Silver grows serious, lowers his voice. "Sometimes, in the hurly-burly of our daily efforts, we forget how important journalism is to our democracy, indeed, to the world." He looks Erica in the eye. "It truly is an honor to work with you."
Erica's bullcrap alarm begins to sound — platitudes have a way of setting it off.
"But as crucial as our role is in uncovering the truth and exposing injustice and criminality, at the end of the day, GNN is a business." Silver pauses, looks out the window as if he's searching for his next words — but Erica can tell this has all been rehearsed. He turns back to her. "As you know, The Erica Sparks Effect is very important to the network's bottom line. Which is why we're so concerned."
Erica is thrown. After her work in exposing Nylan Hastings as a psychopath bent on world domination, her celebrity was transcendent, and for months her show had a firm grip on the number one spot in the ratings. Erica knows it has slipped a little since then, but she avoids tracking the ratings race. She's a journalist, not an entertainer, and she's seen integrity compromised in the hunt for higher ratings. She's not about to let that happen on her show.
Silver stands up and starts to pace, his whole demeanor changing as his jaw sets and his eyes narrow. "Last month FOX beat you three times and CNN twice. That's five weeknights out of twenty-two. There were six other nights where your lead was miniscule." He stops abruptly and turns to her. "These numbers are unacceptable."
Erica knew she'd lost a few nights, but she didn't realize that her lead all month was that tenuous. And Silver's ultimatum is so stark and brutal. She feels the fiery demons of insecurity that have haunted her for her whole life flare up. She hears her mother's mocking voice. Ha-ha, smarty pants, got a little too big for your britches, didn't you? And then, after the taunts, comes Slap! Slap-slap! Take that, you little brat!
Erica feels a bead of sweat roll down from her left armpit. She crosses and uncrosses her legs. Mort Silver has taken a step closer to her, seems to tower over her.
She's starting to feel a little bullied, and Erica has never liked bullies. She sits up tall and says, "I'm proud of the show, Mort, proud of my team. I think we've become a consistent source of superior journalism. We're taken seriously across the country and around the world."
"That's a given. And your being in the top spot used to be a given. Now it isn't. And that's a problem. For me. For Sundar. For our shareholders. And for you."
"If you think I'm going to start chasing sensational stories just to give my ratings a temporary boost, you've got yourself the wrong woman."
Mort looks at her — or is that a glare? Maybe he didn't expect her to respond so forcefully. In any case, he seems to switch gears; his face softens and he sits back down. "We all have the same goal. To see The Erica Sparks Effect firmly on top. Any thoughts on how to make that happen?"
"The presidential campaign is heating up. We may well have the first woman and the first Latino nominees. This is history in the making. I want to be a part of it. Moderating one of the debates would put me in the spotlight in a whole new way and take my reputation to the next level. Let's make that happen."
Mort nods. "We'll put your name forward to the Commission on Presidential Debates. You do have a rep for being nonpartisan, which should help your chances, but there are no guarantees. Both of the eventual candidates have veto power."
"Lucy Winters has a lock on the Republican nomination," Erica says. "The Democrat will be either Ortiz or Buchanan. I'll do my best to let all three candidates know I'm interested and impartial."
"Debate moderator or not, I think we have to address the underlying cause of your slippage."
Silver drums on the desktop with his fingertips and takes a deep breath. "You've lost some of your mojo, Erica. Sometimes you seem to be gliding through your show. Other times you seem distracted. You're not as hungry as you used to be. You have to stay famished in this business."
Erica feels anger rising up in her. "I'm the top-rated cable newscaster in the country, and you're telling me I've lost my mojo?"
"I'm not telling you; the numbers are," Silver says forcefully, harshly.
Suddenly Erica's position at GNN feels, if not quite precarious, far less secure. And if her career is uncertain, so is every other aspect of her life. She feels the sweat spread to her forehead, and suddenly the room feels close and airless. Her breathing grows shallow.
Silver leans back in his chair and tries to contain his smirk. "Have you caught any of Sara Kenyon's show over on CNN? She's interesting. Bright. Driven. Incredibly self-possessed for a twenty-six-year-old."
Sara Kenyon is the new flavor of the month. Yes, she's smart and watchable, but she began her career as a meteorologist; she has no journalism training. And there's a rumor going around that she had plastic surgery — to look more like Erica Sparks.
"I'll give her a look," Erica says.
"Her ratings keep going up," Silver says, standing up, signaling that the meeting is over.
Fifteen minutes ago Erica was walking on sunshine. Now it feels more like quicksand. As she walks back down the cold white hallway, she has one thought: I need a story. A big story.CHAPTER 2
ERICA IS SCRAMBLING EGGS FURIOUSLY. She has no time, no time. It's two days since her meeting with Mort Silver. Her flight to Cleveland leaves in ninety minutes and she hasn't packed. And she still has so much prep yet to do for tonight's show. "Jenny!" she calls. If they don't hustle, Jenny will miss her school van and Erica will miss her flight.
She plates the eggs, adds a piece of toast and a slice of cantaloupe, and puts it down on the kitchen table just as Jenny walks in.
"Why the long face, honey?"
Jenny sits and looks at her breakfast without touching it.
"You have to eat, sweetheart."
"I'm not hungry."
"I have a very busy day."
"You have a very busy day every day."
Not this again. Erica bites her tongue. She wants to tell Jenny that her hard work is what pays for this beautiful apartment on Central Park West, for her tuition at Brearley, for the camp in the Adirondacks Jenny is going to this summer. Her job is what gets them invited to the movie premieres and Broadway opening nights Jenny loves. And that if she doesn't push and sweat and put in long hours, it could all disappear. Mort Silver made that pretty clear. But more than anything, she wants Jenny to understand that she loves her work — she loves the platform her nightly news show affords her; she loves the power she has to uncover the truth, to stand up to the high and mighty, to shine the light of fairness on injustice and inequality.
But she's explained all this to Jenny before — and it doesn't make up for all the late nights at the network, all the missed dinners and broken dates, all the weekend plans upended by a breaking story. Jenny feels neglected, and she can be resentful. Her transition to New York and living with Erica has been a little rocky. No doubt she sometimes feels like a fish out of water in the competitive and ultra-wealthy world of Brearley, and it's only natural that she misses her father and her old friends up in Massachusetts. And then there are those other, darker things ... things Erica can't blame her daughter for having trouble forgiving.
Erica hears that haunting echo, that mocking voice — — You'll never be a good mother; you're a fraud, a fake, a pretender. And it spreads like a toxic spill deep into her psyche. Some nights she bolts awake at three a.m. in a cold sweat, gripped by intense fear and a certainty that something terrible is going to happen. The slip in her ratings and the driving pressure she feels to deliver a big story have only exacerbated her night terrors.
Erica exhales with a gush, puts the frying pan in the sink, and sits down across from Jenny. She reaches out and strokes her hair. "Yes, I'm busy, but there's nothing in the world more important to me than you are."
"I don't believe you. You won't even raise my allowance. Morgan Graham gets twice as much as I do."
Oh — so that's what this is about. A little bit of emotional blackmail as practiced by a smart eleven-year-old. Erica feels a surge of relief — allowance disputes she can handle.
"No, Jenny, I'm not going to raise your allowance. I don't care how much Morgan Graham gets. I think twenty-five dollars a week is more than enough for a girl your age. You know that if there's something special you want, you can come to me and we'll discuss it."
Jenny looks Erica in the eye, and Erica smiles. Oh, how she loves this little girl! Jenny picks up a piece of toast and takes a bite.
"Did you get all your homework done?"
Jenny nods as she digs into her eggs.
"You remember that I'm flying out to Cleveland today to cover the final Democratic debate."
"Who do you root for?"
"Well, as a journalist, I stay neutral. But between us, I do think the prospect of a Latino candidate is exciting."
"So do I. We talked about the election in class. Senator Ortiz was a marine who served in the Iraq War. Then after he was elected to Congress he went back on a humanitarian mission and was kidnapped by Al-Qaeda and held hostage."
"And then he escaped from Al-Qaeda."
"Yes, the escape was like in a movie."
"But it was real, Jenny. He's a brave man."
"He's cute too."
"Yes, he is cute, isn't he?" They smile at each other. "Yelena will make you dinner."
Yelena is Erica's part-time housekeeper, a middle-aged Russian woman. She's dependable and a terrific cleaner, but her English is limited, making it tough for her to engage with Jenny.
"I hope she doesn't make those potato dumplings again. They're a carb-a-thon."
Erica laughs. Her cell rings. It's Eileen McDermott, her lead producer.
"Good morning, Eileen."
"We're setting up a temporary studio at Case Western, but it's across the quad from the debate hall, and neither Ortiz or Buchanan will commit to an interview."
"If they won't come to me, I'll go to them. I'll be on the ground in front of the hall as they arrive, and I'll grab each one for a few questions." Getting out of the broadcast booth — which is where the other anchors will be — will create exciting television.
"Perfect," Eileen says. "It's a big night. See you at the airport in a few."
Erica hangs up and stands. "Your van will be downstairs in fifteen minutes, and my car will be here in twenty. We're a couple of busy girls. Now, I better go throw a few things in a suitcase."
"This is our only time together all day and you're leaving."
"Oh, honey ..."
"Never mind." Jenny pushes away from the table, pops in her headphones, grabs her knapsack, and heads out of the apartment.
Erica strides back to her bedroom and opens her closet — but she can't concentrate. All she sees is the expression on Jenny's face as she walked out of the kitchen. She imagines her daughter's lonely evening, filled with homework and indigestible dumplings and incomprehensible Yelena.
Snap out of it, Erica. You're doing the best you can. Erica grabs a simple, never-fail peach dress. Nancy Huffman made it for her, and it fits like a glove. She also pulls a black suit as a backup. But her mind — and heart — just won't let go of her daughter. The demands of her job are staggering — it's a pressure cooker in a minefield — but it's what she wants to be doing. What she hasn't figured out is how to carve out enough time with Jenny. She needs help.
Erica has a terrific staff at the network, but she's resisted hiring a personal assistant, someone who would bridge her professional and personal lives. She prides herself on being able to handle it all, but the stark truth is she isn't handling it all. Not well, anyway. Pride can be a dangerous thing. Maybe it's time to relent. It would be such a relief to have someone who could handle the thousand prosaic details that clutter up her life, someone who could tie up odds and ends, engage Jenny, and hopefully anticipate both Erica's and Jenny's needs.
But it has to be the right person. Female. Young. Bright. Takes initiative. And most important, of course, clicks with Jenny. Erica has several interns on her show, kids just out of college trying to build their resumes. She runs through them in her head. There's that super-organized one — Amanda, Amanda Rees. She's a hard worker, a self-starter, upbeat. Hmm. Certainly worth talking to.
Erica calls Shirley Stamos, her amazingly efficient, dry-witted secretary, on whom she has come to depend. "Can you get me Amanda Rees's resume?"
"I've decided I need a personal assistant. What do you think of her?"
"I think she's terrific, a real go-getter, heading for big things."
"I had the same impression. If you think of anyone else, let me know. Maybe put out the word that I'm looking."
Excerpted from The Candidate by LIS WIEHL, Sebastian Stuart. Copyright © 2016 Lis Wiehl. Excerpted by permission of Thomas Nelson.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
I didn't actually finish this book, but I was given a copy by the Fiction Guild in exchange for a review, so here goes. I have read other books by Lis Wiehl that I liked, but sometimes, as in this case, I don't care for them. The reason I didn't finish it is because of one character that I just couldn't stand to read about! Personally, I really don't like to read about psycho people, and to me, this book gives way too much info about what this weirdo is thinking, doing, etc. (There is some of this in the first book in the series as well, but this one is worse.) Sorry, but as a Christian, I don't believe we should be dwelling on this kind of thing.
My thoughts: This was an interesting read for me. I found the author's style a bit different from that which I am most accustomed but I soon became acclimated to it and from then on the story flowed quite well. Being published by Thomas Nelson. a HarpeCollinns Christian Publishing imprint, I was surprised that there was virtually no element of Christianity. In fact the seductive thoughts of two of the female characters showing a creepy attraction to each other was a major put-off for me. There were not any actual scenes depicting behavior to which Christian audiences would object, but inference was there. The story takes place during an election year in the USA. This is quite appropriate as I completed reading the book on the heels of the current USA Presidential election. The plot begins with the candidate for President with his wife at a rally at which there is a bomb explosion from a backpack squarely in the crowd of onlookers and officials. Several are immediately killed. When this happens and soon after, a successful newscaster, Erica, observes the strange demeanor of Senator Mike Ortiz, one of the presidential candidates, who seems to behave as though he was under the hypnotic control of someone else. A number of events and tragedies occur which make for interesting, exciting, and even fearful reading as one considers, "Could this really happen" or "What if this should happen?" As the plot unfolds the deep depravity to which individuals could go in pursuit of the presidency is revealed. What takes place? Actions of a female investigative journalist who has earned a position on the national stage. Conspiratorial mind control used by individuals and or internationals. Murderous goals and pursuant actions to achieve high political rank. And a believable presidential campaign rife with unbelievably criminal activities. DISCLOSURE: I received a complimentary copy to facilitate a review of my opinions which are given without compensation.
The Candidate A Newsmakers Novel #2 By Lis Wiehl with Sebastian Stuart Erica Sparks rose to the rating crown when she brought GNN founder Nylan Hastings down with her investigative journalism. The pressure is on her to stay on the top and with the Presidential Campaign getting ready to enter the last months she has plenty of potential stories to keep her viewers tuning in. When tragedy strikes just feet away from where Erica is reporting the Democratic race for the Presidential nominee is drastically altered. Something is wrong, Erica just can't figure out what it is. And she is determined to uncover the truth. Erica's life is finally becoming what she wants it to be. She has custody of Jenny, she lives in a nice apartment, she's engaged, and she's the nation's top-rated cable-news host. But everything isn't the way she expected it to be. Her job keeps her away from Jenny more than she wants. Her fiance, Greg Underwood, is in another country. And her ratings aren't assured. The upcoming Presidential election is a chance for Erica to prove that she is more than just a pretty face who got a lucky break. This election will be historic no matter the outcome - the Democratics have Mike Ortiz who could be the first Latino President and the Republicans have Lucy Winters who could be the first woman President. Erica is dedicated to revealing the truth about the candidates to the American people and her integrity is not for sale. But someone is determined to keep the truth under wraps and they are willing to do anything to keep it hidden. Erica is about to find out just how far someone is willing to go to protect their secrets and she may not make it to election day! Overall the book was pretty good. The switch from first person to third person in the presentation is at times a bit jarring to the story flow. I'm not a fan of this type switch in perspective, I have no problem with the change between character voice though as it adds depth to the characters. There are a couple of characters whom one just cannot like from the first moment they are mentioned. The drive of certain people to obtain their individual goal is almost unbelievable. I can't say that this behind the scenes look at campaigning makes one want to throw in their own hat - it can prove dangerous to your health. Thomas Nelson is known as being a Christian publisher but this book like several of their other recent releases does not have a Christian element that is discernible. I was provided an advanced copy of this book by the publisher in exchange for my honest review with no expectations of a positive review.
3.5 Stars It doesn't always happen this way for me when I'm reading a book, but this one had a very clear breakdown in ratings in my mind: * The character of Erica, I give her a 3. I think I liked her a bit better in the first book. Here, there was just something about her that grated on me. One thing being her frequent phrase of "say more". Something about that just bugged me. I prefer "Do tell" or "Go on". Something about "say more" didn't flow as well and just sounded stupid. And then she had other characters doing it! Dialogue once again was an issue for me. I remember in the first book I found it pretty awkward. It's gotten better in this second book but it's still a little off for me. The dialogue often has too much of a scripted sound, the characters sometimes speaking as if they are dictating a letter rather than having a conversation. There's a small portion of the story where actor Robert DeNiro is written in as a character. Even there, I tried reading his lines in his voice and it still didn't seem to ring entirely true (believable) to how you'd expect him to speak. * The plot I give a 4. Solidly good story arc with lots of intrigue and layers. The chapters are also generally pretty short, typically running only 3-4 pages a chapter, which helped keep the pace moving at a nice clip. Overall, good fun! Soooo... I guess this makes this about a 3.5 overall for me! FTC Disclaimer: TNZ Fiction Guild kindly provided me with a complimentary copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. The opinions above are entirely my own.
Could not put book down.
Check out the full review at Kritters Ramblings The second in a series and although the mysteries are self contained in each book there is character development from book to book, so you want to start at book one. I won't spoil anything in my review, so you can read on if you would like. Erica Sparks remains the main character in this book and everything I said about her yesterday is still true in this book. I love her attitude, I love her spunk and I love what she gets into in this book.
This is a fast paced book with alot of twists and turns. Erica is doing stories on the presidential candidates. She witnesses one candidate killed in front of her. Then others who are helping her begin to die. Then she begins to look deeply into one candidate and stumbles onto some possible brainwashing. Will she uncover the story and be able to expose those behind this scheme or will she fall prey to them?
Most of this critique applies to all 3 of her books that I've read. No more! Awful dialogue, highly implausible plot. Underlying premise could have made a good intriguing novel if handled properly. Politically correct pablum throughout. Heroines are so phony, sounds like a fantasy version of author - a superhero who constantly questions herself. Low blow, cheap shots at Donald Trump & CIA. Typical left-wing obsessions
The Candidate by Lis Weihl and Sebastian Stuart is book two in the Newsmakers Series. The story was fast-paced and intriguing. I must admit, I wasn’t a huge fan of the first book in the series and was apprehensive about reading the second but it was very well done and I thoroughly enjoyed it. The present tense writing is a little strange for me and at times, distracting, but I found the story to be compelling and interesting. Erica Sparks is a brave woman unwilling to go down without a fight. She’s determined to figure out what makes the presidential candidate so strange. Digging deeper into the man’s past, Erica finds herself entangled in Ancient Chinese brainwashing techniques and powers that stretch around the globe. The Candidate is a fascinating read and I would absolutely recommend it. I received this book from the Fiction Guild and Thomas Nelson Publishers and have provided my honest opinion of the book here.
I didn't enjoy the first book of this series and I don't know why I bothered reading this one. While the plot was interesting, it was difficult for me to get through. I didn't really care about most of the characters because of the fact that I'm fed up with both politicians and the media. The story is told using the third person present tense, which I found annoying to read. I was also disappointed to see the romance that began in the previous book didn't develop in this story. Plot: In the middle of a hot Presidential race, journalist Erica Sparks begins to grow suspicious that there's more to one of the candidates than what meets the eye. Something just seems off with his interview. When another potential candidate is brutally killed right in front of Erica, her curiosity won't let her stop digging for the truth. Erica's quest may put her in extreme danger, but if she stops, they win. Content: While this book is from a Christian publisher, I'd consider it more for the general market. There wasn't any mention of God and although the author doesn't go into too much detail, a couple of the female characters are apparently in a relationship. Recommendation: I can't say I'd recommend this book to anyone. If you enjoy political thrillers, this book does have a good storyline and some interesting twists. I will not be reading any more from this author. Rating: 2/5 stars I received a copy of this book from the Thomas Nelson Fiction Guild. This review is my honest opinion.
Strange and diabolical plot of two demented women trying to take over the US Presidency. The intrepid news anchor acts foolishly to put her life in danger while following her story leads, yet has to have her wardrobe professionally coordinated. This book defines the phrase "pulp fiction." Do not recommend.
** “Isolation. Sensory deprivation. Fear. Indoctrination. Love.” ** Lis Wiehl continues the story of top-ranked TV newscaster Erica Sparks in “The Candidate,” a timely novel with its presidential election theme. As Erica begins covering the life of democratic nominee Sen. Mike Ortiz, she beings to suspect that not all is as it seems. Sensing a strange relationship between Ortiz and his wife, Celeste, Erica begins to dig into his American hero story — of being captured by and then escaping from an al-Qaeda hostage and torture situation. As she digs deeper into the situation, and tries to figure out why Ortiz at times almost seems brainwashed, more and more dangerous and fatal situations occur to those close to Erica. She must decide how far she, herself, is willing to go to get to the root of the story. “The Candidate” is a fast-paced political thriller filled with intriguing characters, bombings, espionage, murder and treason. Wiehl, with support from fellow author Sebastian Stuart, does a great job of moving the storyline along, and keeping readers guessing as to how each event is connected — and who is responsible. Fans of Vince Flynn, Joel C. Rosenberg, David Baldacci or even Mary Higgins Clark will enjoy this book. The novel also does delve into some issues we all struggle with, like insecurity, trust, determination and sacrifice. Wiehl’s latest novel could definitely be read as a standalone, although it does refer to plot lines in the first book — so I’d recommend reading it too. I will say I actually liked “The Candidate” better than the series’ first installment. Sometimes the sequel can be better! Five stars out of five. Thomas Nelson provided this complimentary copy for my honest, unbiased review.
I received this book for an honest review from the Fiction Guild. This is the second book in this series about a hard hitting new reporter Erica Sparks. She is strong and get the story put in the process she scare a lot of people. And she she doesn't pull punches. She is engaged to Greg and he is in Austrilia and they are trying to work things out while in 2 different countries and she finally has her daughter Jenny living with her full time in NY. But her new challenges is her boss about her ratings and they are going into the final stages of a Presidential campaign. 2 candidates for one party and 1 candidate for the other. While she is doing her reporting one of the candidates and his wife get blown up and it tickles something in Erica that makes her think there is something really wrong with Mike Ortiz and this starts some hard investigating and finding out what, where, why and how. The twist and turns never end in this book and its a wonderful read. Can't wait to see if we are going to get another suspenseful book out of the series. I don't see Erica giving up her hard hitting news reporting yet.
The Candidate by Lis Wiehl – A Mixed Bag - 2 1/2 Stars Since I like books with mystery and intrigue, I decided to read author Lis Wiehl’s new book The Candidate – A Newsmakers Novel written with Sebastian Stuart. I’ve watched Lis on Fox News and like her keen legal analysis and hoped that would translate into a good book. Unfortunately, I found The Candidate to be a mixed bag. What’s good? I found the plotline intriguing. Is top Presidential candidate, Mike Ortiz, as good as he seems at first glance? Or will Erica discover there is something nefarious going on behind the scenes when she takes a closer look? Coming on the heels of a very contentious election cycle this should be a very interesting book. The story is action packed and the main character, Erica Sparks, is somewhat interesting. Her background is revealed during the course of the story but there was not a lot of depth to this character. I liked her fiancé Greg, while not perfect, he showed himself to be there for Erica in the end. But overall I found the characters were not well developed. What the reader learns about the characters is very surface level details, some action of course, but there seemed to be an obsession with physical appearance. In fact, it was almost to the point of distraction. What’s not so good? The story was predictable. After the first big event in the book, I found myself guessing what the next plot development would be throughout the book. While somewhat veiled, there were some rather sick sexual relationships in this book that cross the line in a book released by a Christian publisher. While not described in detail, enough is said that makes it clear what’s happening. Also, Lis took a swipe at Donald Trump by including a nasty comment from one of the characters about him. It was unnecessary to the story and not value added. My overall impression was Lis tried to be edgy. If this book had been published by a secular publisher, I would only put a cautionary note about some of the content which may be offensive to people of faith. I have higher expectations from Thomas Nelson Publishers. On their website, this publisher is self-described as, “Thomas Nelson is a world leading publisher and provider of Christian content and has been providing readers with quality inspirational product for more than 200 years.” There was nothing whatsoever Christian about this book. There was nothing about faith. There was one curse word as I recall and I appreciate that there was very little profanity. But some of the content of this book was not fit material from a Christian publisher. I would like to thank BookLook for the opportunity to read The Candidate by Lis Wiehl. I was under no obligation to give a favorable review.
I am reading this book behind closed doors in my bedroom and just thinking this could happen has every hair on my neck raised and I can't even begin to count the goose pimples. It's like every other chapter someone is being murdered. And the people doing it are nobodies. They are just coming out of the woodwork. The presidential candidate is looking like a puppet and his wife is looking like she holds the strings. Erica Sparks is going way out of her way to figure out what exactly is going on with what looks to be the next president. This is definitely a book you cannot put down. With people being killed and others being blackmailed, you just never know what's coming next. I was worn out just keeping up with Erica chasing all the leads trying to figure it all out. The ending with the debate was crazy good. Congrats to Lis Wiehl on a great job. Thanks to Thomas Zondervan for sending me the book to read and review. I thoroughly enjoyed it!
How far will people go to see their candidate elected? How long will people wait to spring the trap on the American people? Given the election this year, this book was perfectly timed. Only Erica Sparks has the insight, integrity and determination to reveal the manipulation and intrigue in this election. Will it cost her her family and her life? For someone who is sick of politics, I thoroughly enjoyed this book.
How far will a candidate go to become president? Erica Sparks—America’s top-rated cable-news host—is about to find out. But more than the nation’s future is at stake. Erica’s relentless search for the truth puts the life of her preteen daughter Jenny in danger, even as Erica’s own dark past threatens to overtake her. In her latest Newsmakers thriller, Fox News legal analyst Lis Wiehl weaves a taut and chilling story. The Candidate is packed with political intrigue and media manipulation as the lust for power turns deadly indeed. It is hard to believe that I would of my own free will choose to read a book about a political election when a) I am so tired of the political commercials on television and b) I am one of the most unpolitical people you would ever meet. I do not talk or debate about candidates or issues. But I was drawn to this book. And knew a short way into it that I was really going to like it. That was when I had the urge to turn to the last chapter to see how it ends. No, I did not turn there. The story was well done and the characters were well developed. There were family tensions to deal with and some subplots to keep it interesting and moving along. I also enjoyed moving around New York City which I personally had recently visited. Being a visual person, I could see the places mentioned in the book. The only disappointment that I experienced was figuring out who the bad guys were before the main character did. I thought it was just a little too obvious where things were heading long before we got there. Still it did not dampen my enjoyment of the book as there were a few twists up until the end. So even if you aren’t political, this is a very readable, enjoyable book. I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.
Congratulations Ms. Wiehl you have another winner!!! What a fantastically courageous story in today's environment - how true this could be. Erica is a reporter who believes there is a story regarding the presidential candidate Mike Ortiz. Mike Ortiz is married to Celeste who was rich and powerful. Mike was captured by Al-Qaeda. He takes all his cues from his wife - and I do mean all his cues. The closer she gets to finding out all about his past and her past the closer she gets to death - and someone hurting her daughter - so - what will happen to her? what happens to her daughter? will she ever truly find out the truth - the whole truth? was he really captured? why does he listen to her every word? You will not believe the answers. I received a copy of this book from NetGalley to read in exchange for an honest review.
This is a thrilling update of the Manchurian Candidate. It's cleverly thought out and, sadly, quite believable if you are at all cynical about politics. It is not for those who prefer a light read.
VERY INTRIGUING! Erica Sparks is back and more inquisitive than ever as she is following the Campaign Trail for the Presidential election. The beginning of the novel is shrouded in a horrific act of terror that is witnessed firsthand by Erica as well as many other innocent bystanders. She is able to observe one of the candidates' responses/reactions as the terror unfolds right in front of him and his wife. Erica begins to formulate some opinions that she will continue to research and seek validation on as to whether or not she is on the right track or simply grasping at straws. As the novel continues, Erica comes to discover many things - about being a Mother, her daughter, her friends, her fiancé, making new friends, dealing with her past, what is ultimately important to her and just what THE STORY is worth. Wiehl certainly gives you much to ponder in this novel. From the moment you start the first page until you finish the last, you really can't help but wonder, "What if ... ?" I would rate it at 4.5 due to one part I found way too implausible (no spoiler here) but it is a really great read otherwise. The whole Chinese "mind control" tactics remind me we're but a generation away from people being able to testify that went on/happens! I want to thank Netgalley and Thomas Nelson for the review copy provided. I was not required to write a review and the thoughts expressed are my own.
POLITICAL THRILLER. 3.5 stars. This is the second book in The Newsmakers series. The Candidate is the first novel by Lis Wiehl that I have read so I wasn't sure what to expect. What I found was a well written political thriller. It is a standalone but continues the story that started with The Newsmakers book. There is violence. The book blurb adequately describes the storyline so I'm not going to repeat all of that info here. The author did a good job of summarizing Erica Sparks background and story from The Newsmakers for new readers. The Candidate is well written and the characters are multi-dimensional and complex. Even though the storyline was somewhat predictable, there are enough clues to keep you guessing to see what twists and turns will be revealed next. It kept me reading and couldn't put it down until I finished the book. I will read more of Lis Wiehl's books, including reading the first book in this series. I received an ARC of this book from NetGalley and Thomas Nelson and chose to write a review.
Loved this book! Another winner in the Newsmakers series. This is a very fast paced mystery that grabbed my attention from the first page. It is a disturbing look into an attempt to infiltrate the presidency. Erica, a top journalist, is drawn to investigate oddities that she observes. That investigation leaves a trail of bodies in its wake as she gets closer to the truth. If you enjoy political mysteries/thrillers, you will love this book. It is a must read for fans of the genre. If you've never read a book by this author, you are really missing out. She is on my must read authors' list. While this is part of a series, this is a stand alone novel.
News anchorwoman Erica Sparks is at the top of her game with her snappy reporting that engages the public. That is, she thought she was at the top but her boss calls her in to tell her that ratings for her show on GNN are slipping, a fact that restores her fears from the past and a life she wishes would never appear in memory. Add to that she knows she’s neglecting her daughter Jennie for the job and they are beginning to drift apart. The first problem will change and the second demands some immediate action but certainly not what Erica envisioned for their family. Erica is covering the appearance of the candidates, Senator Mike Ortiz and Fred Buchanan, when a bomb rips through the crowd outside the venue for the appearance. Fred and Judy Buchanan, among numerous others, are instantly killed. But Erica is not only struck by the horrendous tragedy. She notices that before Senator Mike Ortiz makes any comment, he seems to look at his wife, Celeste Pierce Ortiz, for approval before continuing. Worse yet, he seems to smile at inappropriate times and otherwise has no affect regarding the circumstance that is tragic to say the least. As times goes by, including a personal interview with Ortiz, Erica begins to delve further into his background, believing something is very wrong with this man. This then is the story of Erica’s tendency to be in the right place at the right (or wrong depending on one’s point of view) time and a powerful intuitive skill in being able to sniff out a potentially explosive story. Add to that the too perfect image of Celeste Pierce Ortiz and her association with Lily Lau. But readers will never be able to figure out what’s going on behind the scenes that has pathologically dangerous elements that Erica is investigating, actions that will put her own life at risk. Add to that a choice Erika makes for her daughter will turn out to be very dangerous for Erika and Jenny. Even the savviest of journalists can’t always be sharp about all looming dangers. The Candidate: A Newsmakers Novel is a sharp novel about outside efforts to control the democratic process of elections in America. Those plans are designed to change the American government and are all more frightening for the viable possibility that comes too close for comfort! Fast, exciting, nerve wracking plot that provides a great read! Superbly done, Lisa Wiehl and Sebastian Stuart!
One minute the main character is super smart and saves the world and the next minute she is so stupid it's a wonder she can function at all.