The Candidate (Newsmakers) by Lis Wiehl and Sabastian Stuart

Reviewed by Allen Hott

The CandidateErica Sparks (who has appeared in several of Lis Wiehl’s books) is a top flight newscaster and is very keyed up about the upcoming presidential race. She realizes that this type of excitement just adds to her show’s audience and thus her ratings. She decides that she will spend a lot of time checking out all the possible candidates and see who is most likely to bring her more listeners.

It turns out that two of the top runners very quickly put just about all the other hopefuls behind and therefore make them of little value to Erica and her network. Erica is also mindful of the fact that her boss is constantly watching the ratings battle and truthfully is always looking for results whether they come by way of Erica or someone else.

To help solidify her position and hopefully even add to it substantially she decides to hone in on Senator Mike Ortiz one of the Democratic candidates. He is currently locked in a battle with Fred Buchanan of Pennsylvania and would make a prime candidate for a moderated debate on Ericka’s show. She begins making arrangements although it means that she is going to be spending quite a bit of time away from her eleven year old daughter, Jenny. Jenny has begun giving her grief anyway because since the divorce of her parents Jenny doesn’t feel either Erica or her former husband care enough about her wellbeing.

Erica begins working on Celeste Ortiz, the senator’s wife, and her cohort, Lily Lau. Lau is of far-eastern background and has been a constant source of help to the senator ever since he got back to the states. Part of the reason that he is being looked at as such a strong contender is that he not only was a renowned veteran of the last war but he recently went back to Middle East and was captured and appears to have been brutally brain washed or something while in captivity.

As Erica begins familiarizing herself more with the Ortizes and Lau she feels something is not quite right. Under the cover of planning for a well-publicized debate she begins doing a lot of searching more and more into what went on in Ortiz’s captivity and also what really is Lau’s purpose in her position.

Bringing more intrigue into the story is that Erica decides she needs to hire someone to not only help around the house while she is away but to become something like a big sister to Jenny. She hires a young associate who works at her TV station to do that job. Later on she discovers that the associate has also been doing some strange things like spying around the house and especially around Erica’s area. The question is for whom and why?

The book digs much deeper into not only that association but it begins as Wiehl starts working Erica more and more into the background of Ortiz because therein lie some very strange things that appear to have possible long term effects on the presidential race and possibly even the country’s safety.

Personally I felt that it was a great book through about eighty or ninety percent of the telling. However some things happen toward the end of the story including characters of importance who show up to do something and then just quietly do not return and fulfill their spot in the story. Also it also kind of builds Erica into some sort of a super woman with some of her actions that are used to rev up the excitement of the story. Overall a good story but a few let-ups I believe!

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