The Candidate by Lis Wiehl – A Mixed Bag

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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.

A Deadly Business – Mixed Emotions

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I’ve watched her on Fox News and I’ve seen her mystery books in Christian bookstores, but this is the first novel I’ve read by author Lis Wiehl.

A Deadly Business in the second book in the Mia Quinn mystery series by coauthors Lis Wiehl and April Henry.  The main character Mia is mother of two children, widowed and a prosecutor in Seattle.

This is a fast-paced novel, filled with action from the get go.  Starting on page two, buckle you seat belts because you are on a roller coaster ride as Mia, her family and coworker are thrust into danger, mystery and intrigue.  Questions arise on her husband’s death seven months earlier, that may indicate murder not an accident.  In the middle of dealing with that duty calls as Mia is assigned a case prosecuting juveniles who critically injure a woman by dropping a shopping cart on her from two stories up.  Mia has to make the tough decision to prosecute these criminals as juveniles or as adults in a highly volatile and politically charged atmosphere.

Now what did I think of the book…well the book held my attention.  I found that I didn’t have a chance to get to know the main character early on because the action started so abruptly.  I connected with two of the characters, Detective Charlie Carlson and Mia’s fourteen year old son Gabe because they seemed good and real.  There were times I found myself put off by Mia’s thoughts and approach to the criminal justice system.  Rather than punishing criminals for their acts, the character approached it as a place to help rehabilitate criminals.  I wondered is that the authors view point or just what they wrote about the character?

Another question that came up, as I was reading this novel, is that I’m not sure what would qualify this book as “Christian Fiction”.  If a writer is a Christian does that mean what they write is Christian fiction?  I don’t think so.  There was precious little in the book about God, faith or prayer and nothing that would stand out to suggest it was a Christian book.  I wouldn’t have guessed this book was from a Christian writer unless I had known this was put out by a Christian based publisher.

Nevertheless, I did appreciate the fact that the book did not contain filthy language or promote sexual immorality, etc.

Would I recommend this book?  I would advise customers to read the book synopsis, reviews, and choose based on an informed decision if it sounds like something you might like.  I wouldn’t necessarily recommend it for someone who likes to read books that include characters dealing with God, scripture, prayer and wrestling their faith.  But if you are looking for a good mystery you might like it.

I would like to thank the people at BookLook for providing me with a free copy of this book to read in exchange for an honest review.