The Candidate

Title:  The Candidate (The Newsmakers #2)
Author:  Lis Wiehl with Sebastian Stuart
Pages:  335
Year:  2016
Publisher:  Thomas Nelson
My rating is 4 stars.
Erica Sparks is a tough, ambitious journalist who will stop at nothing to get to the truth.  She will risk offending people, stepping on toes, even her very life in her tireless efforts to bring the truth out in the open before the American public.  This dogged approach has led her to risk her life before as seen in book one of the series, The Newsmakers.  In this second book, her nose for news leads her to pursue a conspiracy plot to gain control of the White House.  Erica is also now dealing with her daughter living with her as she has gained custody of Jenny.  Jenny faces adjusting to having a celebrity mother, going to a private school with wealthy peers as well as her mom being gone a lot for her job.
As Erica’s rating dip below #1 in viewership, her boss demands she get a lead story to catapult her to the top again.  The presidential race is heating up, so Erica decides to do in-depth interviews with the candidates.  Tragedy strikes before Erica can interview all the candidates, but once she meets Mike and Celeste Ortiz she knows something strange is going on.  She has a gut instinct about this couple that something is very off about them and her gut is rarely wrong.  The woman in charge of Celeste’s company and Celeste’s best friend, Lily, also adds another ruthless and weird dynamic to the relationship between Celeste, Mike and Lily.  As Erica digs deeper, more people in her life die.
This is a good secular story, so I’m wondering why it is published by a Christian publisher and marketed toward a Christian audience.  There is nothing about faith or Christianity in this entire book.  Just a note to readers, in the prologue there is a risqué scene between Celeste and Mike.  There is a great deal of emotional and psychological manipulation at work between Celeste and Lily.  Their relationship is disturbing as Lily is a psychopath who thrives on being in control, and Celeste worships her, depends on her and will do anything Lily says.  Also, the character of Becky, Erica’s personal assistant, was especially creepy!  The mind games were multi-layered and involved many of the characters.  The writing was well done and the book moves quickly, keeping readers engaged from beginning until the end.  I thought the plot plausible and some of the events that happened in the story could have been pulled from any headline in any major city, which added realism.

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