13 February 2016

Review: The Newsmakers by Liz Wiehl

Amazon Description

TV reporter Erica Sparks has become a superstar overnight. But is it due to her hard work and talent? Or is she at the center of a spiraling conspiracy?

Erica Sparks is a beautiful and ambitious reporter who has just landed her dream job at Global News Network in New York. And while it was hard to leave Jenny, her cherished eight-year-old daughter, in the custody of her ex-husband, Erica is determined to succeed in the cutthroat world of big-time broadcasting. She can only hope her troubled past won’t come back to sabotage her dreams.

Although the wounds from her divorce are still fresh, Erica can’t deny the chemistry between her and her new producer, the handsome and empathic Greg Underwood. But a relationship is the last thing she wants right now.

On her very first assignment, Erica inadvertently witnesses—and films—a horrific tragedy, scooping all the other networks. Mere weeks later, another tragedy strikes – again, right in front of Erica and her cameras.

Her career skyrockets overnight, but Erica is troubled. Deeply. This can’t just be coincidence. But what is it?

Erica will stop at nothing to uncover the truth. But she has to make sure disaster—and her troubled past—don’t catch up with her first.

My Review

While The Newsmakers is published by Thomas Nelson, a division of HarperCollins Christian Publishing, I wouldn’t classify it as Christian fiction. None of the characters have any faith, there is no underlying Christian theme, there is one oblique sexual reference, and it’s obvious the heroine has no issues with sleeping with someone she’s not married to. Having said all that, it’s still “clean”, but definitely on the edge of what I normally see in Christian fiction. I’m not a fan of the term “clean” as a description for fiction without sex—it implies sex is dirty, which isn’t how God intended it. However, alternative labels such as family-friendly or wholesome also don’t apply to The Newsmakers, which has violence and adult themes I wouldn’t recommend to children.

The Newsmakers is mostly told from the viewpoint of Erica Sparks, the damaged reporter who is given the opportunity of a lifetime with her recruitment to Global News Network. GNN is the newest kid on the cable news block, established by social media mogul Nylan Hastings. Erica is a recovering alcoholic who lost custody of her daughter in her divorce, so she’s got something to prove, and something to hide.

The story gets going quickly, and the pace barely slows down throughout as Erica both chases the news and tries to prevent becoming a part of it. Someone is after her, but she’s not sure if it’s a jealous colleague out to make her feel out of place in her new role, or something more serious . . .

I guessed the identity of the evildoer pretty early on, which turned The Newsmakers from a thrilling suspense novel to a more sedentary tale of when-will-she-work-out-the-obvious (and I suspect anyone else who watches James Bond movies will draw the same conclusion I did). I also found the writing style of third person present tense made for uneven pacing. The action scenes were fine, but Erica’s interior monologue was jerky and pulled me out of the story and overshadowed otherwise excellent writing.

But the final line more than made up for any stylistic shortcomings, as they promise a sequel even more exciting! Recommended for suspense fans looking for a good story without any overt sex or violence.

Thanks to Thomas Nelson and NetGalley for providing a free ebook for review.

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