The Separatists

The Separatists

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Overview

The Separatists by Lis Wiehl

After getting the green light from her network to launch an investigative news show, Erica flies to Bismarck, North Dakota, to investigate Take Back Our Homeland, the largest secessionist group. What she finds is profoundly disturbing—a growing threat to the future of our union.

Back home, her husband Greg is drinking more and talking less—and taking an unusual interest in the glamorous author Leslie Burke Wilson. Erica’s teenage daughter has also begun acting out in troubling ways.

Then she discovers a potential informant murdered in her Bismarck hotel. Take Back Our Homeland might be even more dangerous than she had thought—and she’s unwittingly become one of the key players in the story. Her fear and anxiety escalate—for her marriage, her daughter, and her own life.

Bestselling novelist and former legal analyst for Fox News Lis Wiehl takes us behind the anchor’s desk in this gripping look at high-stakes reporting in a country torn apart.

“BREAKING NEWS! Lis Wiehl has written another blockbuster—using her insider’s eye to nail the dangerous mix of media and politics. The Separatists is bold, timely, thrilling and a simply stunning read.” –Linda Fairstein, New York Times bestselling author

“Political high jinks and unusual escapades always mark a Lis Wiehl novel. Eric Sparks is a highly trained, top-notched, alpha-female—totally reminiscent of her creator. This one is a smart, sexy, reflective read and I highly recommend it."

—Steve Berry, New York Times bestselling author

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780718037697
Publisher: Nelson, Thomas, Inc.
Publication date: 06/27/2017
Series: Lis Wiehl's Newsmakers Series , #3
Pages: 352
Sales rank: 644,000
Product dimensions: 6.30(w) x 9.30(h) x 1.20(d)

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

The Separatists


By LIS WIEHL, Sebastian Stuart

Thomas Nelson

Copyright © 2017 Lis Wiehl and Sebastian Stuart
All rights reserved.
ISBN: 978-0-7180-3891-5


CHAPTER 1

ERICA SPARKS IS STRIDING DOWN the hallway at GNN, heading for the executive conference room. She's got a big ask, and the half dozen men and women she's about to face have the power to grant it. She's keyed tight and her heart is thwacking like a metronome — there's a lot at stake. Yes, her nightly show, The Erica Sparks Effect, is still at or near the top of the ratings, but she's getting antsy stuck behind a desk night after night. She's beginning to feel more like a newsreader than a journalist. And that's just not acceptable.

She walks into the conference room, with its walls of windows looking out at midtown Manhattan, the buzzing heart of the American news business.

News business.

Remember that word, Erica.

It's a word that Greg, her husband, drilled into her as he helped her with the pitch. They may not be working together at GNN anymore — Greg has started his own consultancy, which has led to some major friction in the marriage — but the man knows how the industry works inside out.

"Good morning, Erica," Mort Silver, the head of GNN, says. He's sitting at the head of the table looking avuncular and self-important. On one side of him are the CFO and her top lieutenants, on the other the COO and his. They're all poker-faced and expectant.

"Good morning, Mort." Erica nods and smiles. It's a tight smile. She's anticipating some resistance to her proposal. She's girded.

Charm, Erica, charm. You attract more flies with honey.

"Good morning, everyone," she says, this time with a warm smile, the smile that has helped her win millions of loyal viewers. Without waiting for an invitation, she sits at the end of the table opposite Mort, whose eyes narrow. She's going to take this meeting by the horns.

"Coffee, water, how about a little nosh?" Mort asks.

Erica hates these silly niceties. She looks at the plate of soggy Danish. Man has evolved. Why do depressing Danish platters persist?

"I'm fine, thanks. First of all, thank you all for coming. I hope everyone knows how committed I am to GNN. This is my home." If there's one thing Erica doesn't romanticize, it's home. Home is where the pain was. "This network has given me extraordinary opportunities." She takes a pause and slows her cadence. "And I think the benefits have flowed both ways." She takes another pause to cue up the money shot. "Now I want to take our relationship to the next level."

The suits around the table remain impassive. Considering the millions she pumps into the network's bottom line, Erica was hoping for an encouraging smile or two. But this is a don't-rock-the-boat-or-kill-the-goose crowd, paid to keep the gravy train running on time. What a bore.

Erica stands up. Mort tries to disguise his discomfort.

Sorry, Mort, but go-along-to-get-along isn't my style these days.

"I feel very strongly that fearless, muckraking journalism is a lynchpin of our democracy. It has been for our entire history. The Founding Fathers understood how crucial a free press is, and they wrote its protection into the Constitution. In the search for the truth there can be no sacred cows. And I feel that all the news networks have been intimidated and defanged by political pressure, corporate pressure, ratings pressure."

Erica turns and takes a few steps, letting the tension in the room build. Then she wheels around. "Look at the Iraq War. It was based on lies. Lies that the press for the most part accepted, cowed by the bullying and belligerence of the White House. And our nation is still paying a price for that acquiescence. This isn't theoretical or hypothetical." Erica can feel her emotions rising, anger and sadness — she is passionate about our veterans.

"Tens of thousands of young men are scarred forever, missing their limbs, their eyesight, their sanity. Disfigured, disabled, and traumatized. Their lives have been reduced to endless struggle. I remember one vet I interviewed when I was working at a local station up in New Hampshire. His name was Ryan Taylor. He was nineteen years old. His family had no money, and he'd enlisted so he'd be able to pay for college. He was sent over to Iraq, and one cold morning an IED exploded beside his patrol. He was blinded and lost both arms below the elbow." Erica feels another wave of emotion sweep over her — she will never forget the despair on Ryan Taylor's face. She never wants to forget it.

Around the table, eyes look down, papers are shuffled, someone coughs. This wasn't what they were expecting first thing on a Thursday morning. Too bad.

"Ryan Taylor's happiness, his future, was snatched away from him. And we in the press bear some responsibility. We didn't do our job. And that's why I asked you here today."

Now the room is pin-drop silent, statue-still. Erica slowly sits down, leans forward on the table, lowers her voice. "I would like GNN to be in the forefront of a new American journalism. One that is truly fearless and follows a story wherever it leads — even if it's right to the Oval Office. I propose a monthly, single-issue program dedicated to finding the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth. Each month we'll cover a different subject, and we'll go deep, toppling pedestals and speaking truth to power." Erica slowly scans the faces around the table, looking each one in the eyes, bringing them on board.

"I'd like to call it Spotlight — on whichever topic we're covering that month. Corruption. Malfeasance. Greed. Lies. We won't go searching for the controversial and sensational, but if we find it we won't look away."

The room remains quiet. Mort eyeballs Erica, and she sees a mix of skepticism and admiration in his eyes.

Time to hit the bottom line. "I believe we can make great television together. Television that, not incidentally, will have sponsors clamoring for ad time. Television that will also, quite frankly, keep me engaged." It doesn't hurt to remind them that she's the network's number one asset. Erica leans back and softens her voice. "You'll all find a mock-up of Spotlight's budget and organization in your mailboxes. As well as a half dozen potential stories." She stands. "I want all of us here to be part of something we can be proud of, something bigger than ourselves. At its best I hope Spotlight will not only report news, it will make news." Erica pauses. "And maybe even history."

Without loosening the screws, she smiles at the room, a welcoming, even conspiratorial smile. The expressions that meet her are 180 degrees from what they were ten minutes earlier — there are nods, murmurs of approval, smiles of encouragement. "Thank you for your time, and I'm hoping to get a green light within forty-eight hours. Now, I've got a show to prepare."

Erica strides back down the hallway with only one thought: Onward!

CHAPTER 2

IT'S LATE THE FOLLOWING AFTERNOON, a little more than two hours before the start of her show, and Erica is in her office at GNN. She's going to lead with a horrific story — the sinking off the coast of Greece of a boat carrying over six hundred Libyan refugees, drowning all onboard. The dead bodies are washing ashore in waves. It's a big story with powerful visuals, one more sad chapter in the largest refugee crisis since World War II. On her computer screen Erica watches footage of the lifeless bodies bobbing in the surf. It's the children that get to her the most; she imagines their last uncomprehending moments as the boat listed, took on water, and then sank in a matter of minutes. And their doomed parents, unable to protect them. Sometimes it feels as if the world is coming apart at the seams.

Erica turns from the screen, picks up her well-worn playing cards, and deals a hand of solitaire — something about the tactile feel of the cards and defined parameters of the game always helps to calm and center her. The world may be a swirl of chaos, but her cards are manageable and familiar. Why hasn't she heard from Mort Silver? Her presentation was flawless. But she knows those people have built their careers on caution. Give them a little more time. Yes, the start-up and production costs of Spotlight will run into the millions. So what? The rewards for the network, both monetary and in prestige, are worth it. Still ... her left leg is bouncing and she feels that familiar restlessness, the one that's tinged with claustrophobia, anxiety, and even panic. It's been her constant companion since her childhood in that leaky doublewide in rural Maine, soggy with booze and pot and pills and mold and rage. Her restlessness drives her, yes — but sometimes it drives her all the way to the edge.

Erica loses the hand of solitaire, stands up and paces, goes to the window. She looks down at the city below — Sixth Avenue is jammed with pedestrians who look like they're moving in three-quarter time, trapped in a blazing hazy, sticky May day when the temperature is approaching ninety-five. Didn't May used to mean flower buds and birdsong? Maybe most disturbing is that temperatures in the low forties are projected for the weekend. When it comes to the climate, all bets are off. And yet still the ostrich chorus denies the science and stymies action. Erica thinks of Jenny, her thirteen-year-old daughter, who lives in Massachusetts with her father. Last summer her favorite swimming hole was closed due to a toxic algae bloom triggered by the brutal heat. This is an issue Spotlight won't shy away from. But why hasn't Mort called? What will she do if they nix her proposal? She has no Plan B.

Erica turns away from the window and goes into her small galley kitchen. She turns on the coffeepot and then turns it off again. More coffee is the last thing she needs. She opens a cabinet, and there sits a package of sublime macaroons, those little brightly colored French ones that melt in your mouth. But she needs a sugar rush — and its inevitable headachy crash — even less than she needs coffee. She shuts the cabinet and turns away, then she turns back, opens the cabinet, reaches up and grabs the package, tears it open, and devours one macaroon. Then another. Then a third (they're so small). Feeling triumphantly defiant, she goes back to her desk.

She's been able to book former secretary of state John Kerry and United Nations secretary-general Ban Ki-Moon to discuss the refugee crisis. Now she needs to work on asking them the right questions. Erica prides herself on really delving into an issue, engaging both her viewers and her guests. Just as she's starting to write out questions, Eileen McDermott, her lead producer, appears in her doorway.

Eileen is tall and thin, with enormous darting eyes behind blocky black-framed glasses; her thick auburn hair looks like an afterthought, and her blouses are perpetually half untucked from her pants. But she keeps The Erica Sparks Effect running like a well-oiled machine. Right now she looks alarmed. "Supreme Court Justice Mark Rothman was killed in a car accident."

Erica goes still for a moment and then, "When? Where? How?"

"About an hour ago, in Richmond, Virginia, blindsided by a drunk driver making an illegal U-turn."

"Is there footage?"

"Of the aftermath, of course, but none of the actual accident. At least none has turned up yet, and there are no surveillance cameras at the intersection."

"Shoot me every detail we have, including Rothman's bio. I'll start writing a new lead."

"We'll move Kerry and Ban Ki-Moon to the second spot and cut the segments on the Zika virus and that secessionist standoff in Texas. We can run them tomorrow," Eileen says.

"Rothman was the court's one centrist, the fulcrum between the left and right. We can't ignore the politics of this," Erica says. "President Winters has an opportunity to reshape the court for a generation."

"Will she pick a tough conservative to appease the right wing of her party or stay true to her moderate instincts?"

"She's going to be under enormous pressure from the right," Erica says. "Who can we get to comment on Rothman, and on the decision facing the president?"

"I can think of a couple of dozen senators who would jump at the chance," Eileen says.

Moths to a flame, senators to a camera. They bore Erica with their predictability, always toeing the party line. She wants to go deeper and book a guest who could put the challenge facing President Winters in historical context. "How about Leslie Burke Wilson?" Wilson is one of the country's most admired historians and writers, Pulitzer Prize and every-other-prize winner, bestselling author, and one of Erica's idols.

"She'd be perfect, but she's tough to book. She doesn't like to spread herself too thin," Eileen says.

"Can you get me her contact info?"

Eileen is already out the door. Erica takes a moment to gather her thoughts. She remembers Justice Rothman — humble, thoughtful, universally respected, with a fair and brilliant legal mind. The nation has lost one of its preeminent jurists, his family has lost a man they love, and here she is, focusing on the politics of his death and the best way to report it. Erica exhales. The morbid truth is that for journalists, death is one more story that has to be covered. And covered well.

Shirley Stamos, Erica's assistant, appears in her doorway. Shirley has proved herself invaluable — she has an uncanny knack for knowing what Erica needs before Erica does, and she's always happy to work late and take on tasks that border on drudgery. Around forty-five, plump and slightly matronly, with short gray hair and a round face that has never known makeup, she's a very private person. All Erica knows about Shirley's personal life is that she lives alone in Kew Gardens.

"Jenny is on the line," she says. "Are you available?"

This isn't the best time for Erica to take a call from her daughter, but if she doesn't she'll have one of her bad-mother guilt attacks. She nods at Shirley, who leaves. Erica picks up her phone. "Hi, honey. Can't wait to see you this weekend."

"Do you mind if I bring a friend?"

"Of course not. Who is it?"

"Her name is Beth. She's in my class."

"Look forward to meeting her."

"She has a YouTube channel with thirty-five thousand followers."

"That's impressive. What does she focus on?"

"Mom, all YouTubers focus on themselves. That's the deal."

"You mean she just sits there and talks about herself?"

"Yeah, pretty much. I mean, she gives her opinions on music and movies and clothes and boys and stuff. We were thinking it might be fun to do a segment with you."

"Seriously?"

"Yeah. Maybe makeup tips or visit the station or something."

"My GNN contract is an exclusive. And they enforce it." Erica notes that Leslie Burke Wilson's phone number just appeared in her in-box.

"I guess you're super busy."

"A Supreme Court justice was killed today. It's a big story."

"Get to work!" Jenny says with a laugh. A laugh with an edge.

"Greg will pick you up at LaGuardia. Love you." Every time Erica thinks her relationship with Jenny is on an even keel, it gets thrown off-balance, usually by the demands of her job. But Jenny seems fairly happy, and she's doing well in school. They see each other for at least two weekends a month — and with Jenny racing into adolescence, she seems more grown up every visit. It makes Erica both proud and sad. But she has no time to dwell on it right now. She dials Wilson's number.

"Is this Erica Sparks?" Leslie Burke Wilson asks.

"It is. Thanks for taking my call."

"Of course."

"I'll get right to the point. Is there any chance you could come on my show tonight to discuss Rothman's death, President Winters's options, and how former presidents have dealt with similar crises?"

"I have a benefit for the public library tonight. I'm on the committee."

Erica fiddles with a pencil and then says a mild, "I understand ... It's just that I feel you're uniquely qualified. Your biography on Oliver Wendell Holmes is a classic."

Leslie Wilson laughs, a throaty laugh that sounds sophisticated and ironic. "You know how to reel them in, don't you, Erica? I am intrigued by which direction the president is going to take the court."

"I'd love to hear your thoughts, and so would my viewers."

There's a short pause and then a snippet of that laugh again. "So I'll arrive late at the benefit. No one will notice. And if they do, who cares? What time do you want me at the studio?"

"No later than seven thirty. And I owe you."

There's another pause, and then Wilson says in a lower voice, "That's one chit I'll be sure to call in."

In addition to her intellectual accomplishments, Leslie Burke Wilson is known for being a member of New York's cultural elite. She's pals with the nation's most respected writers, actors, artists, entrepreneurs — the beating heart of the most exciting city in the world. Her husband, Stan Wilson, founded the cutting-edge ad agency. Definite power couple.


(Continues...)

Excerpted from The Separatists by LIS WIEHL, Sebastian Stuart. Copyright © 2017 Lis Wiehl and Sebastian Stuart. 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.

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The Separatists 3.9 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 23 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
OK - first off this book is clean but it is not really Christian. The story is good and exciting but the ending is sort of anticlimatic. Erica is again starting a new TV show and wants to do a story on the Homeland movement in North Dakota. She flies out and is then embroiled in several deaths. It seems no one can get the information to her before they get killed. She is still dealing after 2 other books with all her emotional baggage - she never does deal with it. She finally finds out what is going. Will she be able to fine the truth and stop the evil in the background? Will her marriage survive? What about her daughter? The ending is not what you think and is not believable.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
OK - first off this book is clean but it is not really Christian. The story is good and exciting but the ending is sort of anticlimatic. Erica is again starting a new TV show and wants to do a story on the Homeland movement in North Dakota. She flies out and is then embroiled in several deaths. It seems no one can get the information to her before they get killed. She is still dealing after 2 other books with all her emotional baggage - she never does deal with it. She finally finds out what is going. Will she be able to fine the truth and stop the evil in the background? Will her marriage survive? What about her daughter? The ending is not what you think and is not believable.
Freddikb More than 1 year ago
BREAKING NEWS- NORTH DAKOTA HAS SECEDED FROM THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, CAUSING A CHAIN REACTION OF OTHER SECESSIONIST GROUPS TO FORM IN OTHER STATES. News journalist Erica Sparks is right there capturing every moment of this historic event. This is the biggest story in a very long time. If these groups are successful in separating from the USA, a second civil war could be declared. How far are these groups willing to go? And when Erica uncovers more and more, the stakes are raised to a very dangerous level. Lis Wiehl did an exceptional job in taking me behind the scenes of Washington and journalism. Her ‘Newsmaker’ series keeps me riveted, as if I really am watching a true news event unfold. I was glued to the pages of this story the same way I would be glued to the TV if this really was happening. And that ending? Goodness! What more could happen?? *I received this book free from Thomas Nelson and The Fiction Guild in exchange for my personal honest review. I was not compensated in any monetary way.*
Cherylkochbooks More than 1 year ago
I am very sadden to have to rate this book so low. I have enjoyed these books a lot. Yet, this time I struggled a lot with this book. Although, I like that it seemed to tackle current events. For example, the story seemed to be inspired some from the Bundy standoff with the FBI in Oregon as well as the Dakota Access Pipeline project. So, I like the modern feel that this book had with current events. Yet, none of the characters were interesting or had a strong, loud voice in the story. Even Erica was muted and not herself this time. It felt like forever for me to get to the half way mark. After that, I had no desire to continue on with this book. In fact, I can't even remember most of what I read. Not a best showing in my opinion of this author's talent. I hope that the next book is better.
AngelaBycroftNZ More than 1 year ago
Lis Wiehl’s The Separatists was a brilliantly suspenseful reading experience. With a premise that could have been ripped from this morning’s newspaper headlines - we follow reporter Erica Sparks as she forges ahead with a brand new show on her news network which promises to ask the hard questions and uncover the true facts. When she begins to look into a current secessionist group Take Back Our Homeland based in North Dakota, she begins to see that what is truth and what is lies can blur quickly and become dangerous and potentially lethal. I found the narrative compelling and scary at the same time. It was alarming just how easy it appeared to be for a group of extremists to take over a state, get themselves in power and make an indelible mark on any nations structure and founding ideals. The Separatist’s is a hard hitting look at just how ‘main stream’ extreme views can quickly take hold and change the world we live in forever if left unchecked. I worthy and timely read indeed.
Glorysong2 More than 1 year ago
I received a free copy of this book to read and review. I probably would not have chosen this book to read on my own since the subject matter is not what would ordinarily interest me because the events could really happen. The author takes a news item or event and runs with the idea, making it into a very interesting book. North Dakota wishes to succeed from the Union and join Canada. There have been both peaceful and riotous demonstrations in various states denouncing the USA. There's action, murder and an abduction to intensify the story. It's a bit on the scary side because it is so believable.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
After reading the NewsMakers I could not wait to read this book. I was not disappointed. Waiting for what seems to be a third in this series?
KrittersRamblings More than 1 year ago
Check out the full review at Kritters Ramblings The third in a series and I would warn that you should start with book one, as I said before the mysteries are self contained but there are character developments from one book to another, so you will want to start at the beginning. There is an uproar in the United States and some states have decided that want to break away and form their own government with their own set of rules, North Dakota has moved forward the most and by political means and that is where the drama starts for this book. Erica Sparks takes it away again in this book and she wants to get down to the foundation of Mary Bellamy and her reasoning for spearheading this movement, it seems like there are a few reasons!
sesquius More than 1 year ago
This is the third book in a series about Erica Sparks, an investigative reporter who seems to find herself in the midst of trouble as she uncovers disturbing facts. Erica is covering a story in North Dakota where Mary Belamy is running a campaign to break North Dakota from the United States. She is getting the required votes and now she just needs to see it happen. People, Pioneers, are moving into the state willing to cast their vote to this new republic. In the meantime, people are dying and they seem to be linked to Mary and her crew.  The first book I read of Lis Wiehl was The Candidate and was thoroughly impressed with her writing. I thought the storyline was strong and well thought out. It read well and while I missed the second book about Erica Sparks (The Newsmakers), I was able to catch up with Erica in this book. For me, this book just didn't connect with me as well as the first book I read. The things I didn't like, was the blatant descriptions of someone "put the gun in the mouth, and blows the brains out". Blech. Didn't really need to be THAT descriptive. Since when is a "corporal" in the military rise so high in the ranks to be second in command. From my understanding, the corporal is a bit further down the chain. Plus, I didn't like the end relationship between Erica and her daughter, Jenny. It seems like Erica cares only for her career and making the pieces and people of her life fit into her formula of success. Lastly, for Thomas Nelson to be a supposed "Christian publisher" I didn't find very much within this book that would really classify it as a Christian book. There were bits here an then about God, just enough to perhaps classify it as Christian. But honestly, not really. This is more or less a mainstream book attempting to crossover into Christian publishing. All in all, I really didn't like this book. While I was able to read it and enjoy the drama within, I truly doubt that this would be a book that I would keep on my bookshelf to read again in the future. Would I recommend for others to go out and buy it? Probably not. I'd suggest going to the library and checking it out first and formulate your own opinion before shelling out the money. This review contains my own thoughts and opinions. I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher.
SemmieWise More than 1 year ago
** “Democracy is messy and hard, just look around the world, but somehow we’ve made it work. Because men and women of goodwill, no matter what their differences, came together, compromised, and took actions that kept us united and moved us forward, kept the arc of history bending toward justice.” ** Erica Sparks, GNN anchor, is at the top of her game — with even bigger professional dreams. She wants to create a new “Spotlight” program, where she’ll be at the forefront of a new form of American journalism, one that’s fearless and follows the story wherever it leads, highlighting one topic at a time. In Lis Wiehl’s “The Separatists,” Erica follows that new fearless form of journalism to cover the story of secessionism within the United States — particularly in North Dakota, where Sturges and Mary Bellamy are set to challenge the governor in a recall election and “take back the Homeland.” What follows is an intense, high-energy story filled with twists and turns — and bombings, kidnapping and murders. The action never stops in “The Separatists” as Erica tries to determine the meaning and purpose behind the Bellamys’ attempt to take over North Dakota and leave the union. Wiehl’s novel is an extremely timely novel, reflecting the dissension and feelings of hopelessness and anger that exists at the moment in the U.S. Secessionist movements are a very real thing right now, and her plot definitely seems in the realm of possibility. It’s an eye-opening reminder to be ever vigilant to protect our rights and freedoms. Besides being a political thriller, “The Separatists” does delve into some other issues — overcoming one’s past, no matter how toxic it was; family dynamics and determining the value and importance of family versus one’s career; learning who one can trust; and finding worth in one’s self. Some negatives: at times Wiehl’s writing can get a little intellectual, with odd verb tenses at times and sprinkled with vocabulary like “meritocracy” and “insouciance.” And it does feature alcohol and drug use, as well as several references to sexual situations — but never in a gratuitous manner. But overall, “The Separatists” is a great political thriller, ripped right from today’s potential headlines. Four and a half stars out of five. Thomas Nelson provided this complimentary copy for my honest, unbiased review.
Deana0326 More than 1 year ago
The book is a very timely book and could easily be front page news today. In recent months we have seen groups start to become more vocal in their stance against the government. The author explodes with a heart pounding standoff right in our backyard. I found Erica to be a very strong character. I love her gutsy attitude and fierce determination to bring news in an honest and direct way. Erica has her work cut out for her in this story that draws a line between the government and a small group that is willing to go up against a power that has the backing of the president of the United States. Has Erica found more going on with this group that could be a threat to the safety of American citizens? I wasn't that thrilled to read about Erica's daughter and her rebellious attitude. Erica's husband sounded a bit jealous of his wife's raising stardom and tension can be felt between them. With Erica focused on her new tv program, her marriage starts to suffer. I think Erica has ruffled some feathers with her new program and her investigation into a woman who wants to take the senate seat away from someone up for re-election. Can this woman win? Does she have a secret agenda? With all this going on, Erica starts to feel the pressure as bodies start piling up. I loved the intense drama in the story and the twists that the author throws at readers unexpectedly. Overall a good book with enough action to keep readers interested. I received a copy of this book from The Fiction Guild. The review is my own opinion.
Deana0326 More than 1 year ago
The book is a very timely book and could easily be front page news today. In recent months we have seen groups start to become more vocal in their stance against the government. The author explodes with a heart pounding standoff right in our backyard. I found Erica to be a very strong character. I love her gutsy attitude and fierce determination to bring news in an honest and direct way. Erica has her work cut out for her in this story that draws a line between the government and a small group that is willing to go up against a power that has the backing of the president of the United States. Has Erica found more going on with this group that could be a threat to the safety of American citizens? I wasn't that thrilled to read about Erica's daughter and her rebellious attitude. Erica's husband sounded a bit jealous of his wife's raising stardom and tension can be felt between them. With Erica focused on her new tv program, her marriage starts to suffer. I think Erica has ruffled some feathers with her new program and her investigation into a woman who wants to take the senate seat away from someone up for re-election. Can this woman win? Does she have a secret agenda? With all this going on, Erica starts to feel the pressure as bodies start piling up. I loved the intense drama in the story and the twists that the author throws at readers unexpectedly. Overall a good book with enough action to keep readers interested. I received a copy of this book from The Fiction Guild. The review is my own opinion.
bookstoregal More than 1 year ago
Lis Wiehl is really a good author. The story is very suspenseful and keeps you wanting to know what happens next! If you have read and liked the first 2 stories in this series, I am sure you will want to read this one!! The drawbacks I have are this: 1)there is nothing really Christian about these books, at all. (I feel like I should say this because it is by a Christian publisher, and there are people who will be expecting a Christian story.) 2)there is too much info on the "bad" characters-sick people-for my liking. I personally do not like to put too much of that kind of stuff in my mind, as God's word tells us in Phil. 4:8 what kind of things we should think on/dwell on. (However, this book is not as bad about that as the 2nd one was.) 3)the book is about PG-13, in my opinion. If you don't have any problems with those things, this is a great story! I was given this book by the fiction guild in exchange for an honest review. My opinions do not express those of the publisher or the fiction guild
Cynthia181 More than 1 year ago
I received this book from The Fiction Guild. I was not required to give an favorable review, all thoughts are my own. Another hit for Lis and the wonderful character she has developed with this series. Each book touches on something that a lot of people don't talk a lot about unless something has happened and involved government intervention. But it keeps you on your toes all through the book and makes you realize that when you have someone who is trying to get answers often puts themselves and people close to them in dangerous situations. Lis makes you think about the subjects she writes about. Thank you for another wonderful book.
joyful334209 More than 1 year ago
The Separatists is a thigh slapping, mind blowing, action packed story. It is a bout Erica Sparks who gets herself into ALOT of trouble, boy do you have no clue - and I mean that - as to how many problems she gets into and how serious they are. This book pulls you in by the neck and it forces you to stay put until you get to the end, no matter how hard you try to get away. This story is so unreal because it is almost like how something is happening in the news right now, it is so shockingly fun and enjoyable to see how what is happening for real could happen like what is in here - sick - I want to tell you what it is but you have to read it. I received a complimentary copy of this book from the Publisher and NetGalley; all the opinions in this review are all my own.
Virginiaw More than 1 year ago
This has a great storyline. I love the characters. They are so real. Each of these characters are so like real people. They all learn some valuable lessons along the way. This story has many twists and turns. There are way too many people out there that can be led so easily by someone who is charismatic. It is a spooky thought. I look forward to the next book in this series. I received a copy of this book from Smith Publicity for a fair and honest opinion that I gave of my own free will.
SBMC More than 1 year ago
This book had a different feel from her Triple Threat Club books. I did not read the previous two novels of The Newsmaker series prior to reading this book, which is third in the series. Perhaps reading the first two novels would have helped me bond more with Erica Sparks and feel empathy. I didn't really connect with any of the characters in the book. Erica seemed selfish, self-centered, too ambitious, and heartless. Maybe it's because I don't know a thing about the world of newsmaking. Perhaps it's because I have a completely different mindset from Erica as a mother and a professional. Her husband Greg had a very minor role in the book. There were multiple side characters at the beginning of the book that I got somewhat lost trying to follow how these characters all fit into the story. The plot was slow at first and confusing as well. That being said, by the halfway point of the book, all the side characters fell into place, the plot picked up its pace, and the story unraveled in its fascinating glory. The use of present tense in the book was genius and the intricately crafted plot was a pleasure to read. The theme of North Dakota's secession from the United States of America was horrifying yet intriguing at the same time. It was an interesting read. I received ARC of this book from Thomas Nelson via NetGalley. I was not required to give a favorable review. All comments and opinions are solely my own.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This is a "stay on the edge of your seat" novel! What would happen if a narcissist makes plans to take over a large part of the USA and form a new nation? Erica Sparks finds herself embroiled in the story. She is not merely reporting the news, she is influencing the outcome of history. Throw in some family drama and you have a riveting story that will keep you engaged all the way to the end.
bookbloggerKB More than 1 year ago
The Separatists by Lis Wiehl Erica Sparks is at it again. Her nose for a good story keeps her heading toward danger. This time it is uncovering the secrets of a separatist group that wants to secede from the United States. Of course, this story couldn’t come at a worse time for Erica. Her marriage is stretched to the breaking point by her husband’s lack of comparable success, and her daughter’s rebellion. She needs to focus on her family, but the murders that surround her divert her attention and cause her to fear for her family’s safety. In addition, they all seem to point to the leader of the secessionist movement, Mary Bellamy. Can Erica successfully navigate between the demands of her career and the needs of her family and manage to stay alive, too? Lis Wiehl keeps us on the edge of our seat with another Erica Sparks story. However, after having read two of her previous Newsmaker Novels with Sebastian Stuart, this one was a bit predictable. The strong female villain, the last second escapes, and the challenges she faces trying to balance her priorities have all been introduced in the previous books. Wiehl uses interesting backgrounds in her books and this book is no exception. The fact that a state wants to secede from the Union may be more like real life than we might suspect. This book does have a satisfactory conclusion, but leaves room for another sequel with another complication. Over all, I enjoyed the book and think suspense readers will too.
Linda__ More than 1 year ago
Loved this book! Another winner in the Newsmakers series. This is a very fast paced mystery that grabbed my attention from the first page. This begins with Erica pitching a new show concept to her station executives. Once green lighted, her first task is to hire a producer and put a team together. Despite many qualified candidates, none seem just right until Gloria is interviewed. Before long, the show progress is humming along and Erica has a compelling concept for its debut. It seems like a normal political story, but with a curious twist to be revealed during the show premier - a state plans to secede from the union. They don't concern themselves with laws or ethics and believe their sovereignty justifies all actions. Before long the bodies are piling up, even as Erica's personal life is veering wildly off course. It is a disturbing thriller and the lengths that some might take to achieve power. 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.
Ellen-oceanside More than 1 year ago
THE SEPARATISTS by Liz Wiehl and Sebastian Stuart, the 3 rd book in the Newsmakers series. Another political thriller, with Erica a successful newspaper reporter, about North Dakota secede from the U S. Giving the readers the inside scoop, the dangers involved, revealing the truth as she sees it. While dealing with a rocky marriage and family at home. About the intiatives of Bellamy, will they succeed. Gripping story, can be read separately from series. The story flowed, characters good. Given book by Thomas Nelson and Net Galley for my voluntary review and my honest opinion.
hes7 More than 1 year ago
In the third and final Newsmakers novel from Lis Wiehl, Erica Sparks and her investigating are once again at the center of political intrigue and danger—and fans of the series will surely enjoy the dramatic story. As she uncovers some interesting information about a large secessionist group in North Dakota, The Separatists takes Erica through a fast-paced series of twists and turns (with an expected dose of family conflict). It’s an exciting (albeit over-the-top sometimes) page-turner that follows The Newsmakers and The Candidate well. Over the course of these three books, I have enjoyed following Erica Sparks and her suspenseful and thrilling media experiences, which made The Separatists an easily interesting and enjoyable read. Thanks to BookLook Bloggers, I received a complimentary copy of The Separatists and the opportunity to provide an honest review. I was not required to write a positive review, and all the opinions I have expressed are my own.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Here.