The Candidate (Newsmakers #2)

by Lis Wiehl

I’ve been given the opportunity to read and review Lis Wiehl & Sebastian Stuart’s second Erica Sparks novel: “The Candidate”.
As a lover of political thrillers, I must say that this novel disappointed me, I will explain why soon after the summary of the plot.

Sparks is a rising star in GNN, a fictional CNN like network, after apparently exposing a shocking plot related to Nylan Hastings GNN’s tycoon owner, in the first book (I have not read the first book of the series so excuse me if this is a poor account of the events).
In “The Candidate” the rising star covers the presidential campaign, with the elections only a few weeks away. With a catastrophe hitting the democratic summit, it looks like Sen. Ortiz – the movie star like war hero – is on his sure path to the presidency. But in Erica’s opinion something’s amiss: is it Ortiz mechanic like conduct? His wife Celeste who seems to be holding a tight leash? or the Ortizes’ all mysterious advisor and fried Lily Lau? While struggling with her own personal life: custody of her daughter and distance relationship with her fiancée, Sparks will stop at nothing to get to the bottom of the case!
In short (why I was disappointed): The characters are weak, I could not relste to anyone, especially not to Erica Sparks, not to mention the bond villain like Lily Lau. The plot is farfetched, and highly implausible. The writing is too fast paced for my liking and lacks needed imagery. On the bright side: it’s a gripping tale, which would make a good Hollywood movie someday.
I was especially put off with the recurring references to the first novel, I deemed it unnecessary to establish Spark’s current stardom, nor was I impressed with Sparks love-life: she “falls” for one of her daughter’s friend’s dad, then takes back her alleged cheating fiancée… uncharacteristically.

I awarded the novel 2 star, which is somewhat lower than my usual ratings, and had it not been flowing and thrilling despite its problems – It would have gotten an even lower score. Lis Wiehel is a very talented writer, and I feel that the pressure of publishing a second Sparks book in due deadline took the better of her here.