Book Review | The Newsmakers

The Newsmakers
Lis Wiehl

Television reporter Erica Sparks has just landed her dream job at Global News Network. Beautiful, talented, and ambitious, Erica grew up dirt poor, worked her way through Yale, and is carrying a terrible secret. She moves to Manhattan to join GNN, leaving Jenny, her adored 8-year-old daughter, in the custody of her ex-husband. Erica’s producer at the network, Greg Underwood, is handsome and compelling. Scarred by her divorce, Erica is wary of romance, but there’s no denying the mutual attraction.

On one of her first assignments, Erica witnesses a horrific Staten Island ferry crash. Then she lands a coveted interview with presumptive presidential nominee Kay Barrish. During the interview Barrish collapses. Erica valiantly tries to save her with CPR. The footage rivets the world—GNN’s ratings soar and Erica is now a household name.

But she’s troubled. What a strange coincidence that both events should happen on her watch. It’s almost as if they were engineered. Is that possible?

Erica’s relentless pursuit of the truth puts her life and that of her daughter in danger. Her investigation leads her into the heart of darkness—where the future of our democracy is at stake.

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WARNING: Possible Spoilers

{The Basics}
First off, lemme say I enjoyed Ms Wiehl's Triple Threat series.  Those mystery thrillers were the gripping, intense, can't-put-it-down kind of stories.  With that said, I must now relay just how disappointed I am with this one.  There is an ALARMING amount of language contained in these not-so-innocent pages.  Not to mention unconcealed sensuality and a twisted sociopath.

{Positives}
Erica Sparks has a rather tragic past with abusive, druggie parents, and an alcohol addiction.  She has now been sober for about two years, but has suffered a divorce and lost custody of her only daughter, Jenny.  We know right away just how much she loves her baby girl and that she would do absolutely anything to protect her and to be a good mother.  She tries her best, and while she doesn't always succeed, we also know she won't give up even when the world is screaming at her to.  

{Negatives}
Very strong in feminism.  But I won't go into detail.

One character thinks of a mean-girl co-worker as a witch, you understand why.

A woman receives a bouquet of red roses, but as a sick prank, it is infested with water bugs.  (She promptly flushes them down a toilet, flowers and all.)

One mention of a minor character as being "gay," and she along with "her wife and three kids" attend a birthday party.  

{Spiritual Content}
Hardly any.  Erica quotes the Serenity Prayer countless times, but other than that, there is absolutely no depth of faith.

{Violence}
A ferry boat with passengers crashes into a wall, killing some and injuring many.  We see blood and gore, screams, tears, and bodies.  A child who is covered in blood and has a broken limb is comforted by a woman, then taken by EMTs.

A man is mugged and ends up in a coma, a woman is poisoned and dies on live TV, and a teenager is killed by a bullet to the head.  A man is shot in the chest.  During a rehearsal for a new TV show, some lighting equipment falls from the ceiling, narrowly missing a woman.  A film crew and news reporter are recording during a horrific hurricane, we see debris and houses being torn up by the storm.

In a gesture to fully scare Erica and as some kind of twisted "prank," a half-dead rat is left on her desk and she sees it pulling itself across the surface, leaving a blood trail.  She later vomits from the fright.

{Language, Alcohol & Drugs}
[WARNING: to my younger readers! Mature Content below.]

One use of "b-----d" and "kick-a--." One mention of "bullcrap," not used directly at someone, but in the narrative.  A hispanic hair-dresser uses the word "cojones," which when looked up on the online dictionary means either a reference to "testes" or "courage."  . . . Which one?? It's rather unclear.

"H---" is used at least seven times by a variety of characters.  The word "a-holes" is referred to ex-husbands, at one point.  By itself, "a--" is mentioned at least twice.  Other words such as "white trash blonde" and "trailer trash" are used referring to a woman.  At least one mention of "d---."  One use of "son--------."

Countless use of alcohol, wine, and champagne.  A character is a recovering addict and she still feels the temptation.  At one point, she breaks and gives in to sneaking gulps during a dinner with a "friend." (That friend calls her best friend and encourages her to be strong.)  Numerous druggies.  Some needing a fix, others snorting coke, etc.

A funeral "wake" is held for a dead Irish woman.  Lots of drinking there. 

{Love-y-ness}
We see a man in his underwear on a Skype video.  There is one outrageously sensuous and sleazy scene that I cannot describe due to the content.  Just mentioning now so that others are aware.  In another scene, we see three prostitutes, but again, I will not go into detail.

Erica is obviously a very attractive woman.  She gets many lustful and admiring looks.  Dresses and clothing are short and sometimes revealing.

A bad guy, there's no doubt he's the bad guy, has hidden cameras in Erica's office (which doubles as her dressing room. . . Yep, you guessed it.).  He has video loops of her undressing and in her unmentionables.  [Needless to say, he is a twisted, messed-up, billionaire genius who needs to be committed to an insane asylum.  And I am dead serious.]

There is obvious attraction between Erica and her producer Greg.  They share dinners and kisses and embrace a time or two.  Once, while at his apartment on the outdoor balcony, they kiss and get rather passionate and he starts to lead her back inside, but she resists and says she's not ready.  

{Conclusion}
Overall, I was completely and wholly disappointed in this novel by Lis Wiehl.  The story plot and mystery itself had potential for being an amazing, gripping thriller.  But there was a ridiculous amount of language and alcohol and sensuality that made it far too distracting to enjoy.  I am sad to say, and am completely surprised having read Ms Wiehl's other novels, that this one is barely worthy of even two stars.  But that is all I will give it.

Set in New York, with all its diversity and culture and such, I can understand how the writer would wish to capture the good and the bad of that city (or any other city for that matter).  But I also know what makes an awesome story, and there are things that are best left out, no matter how true to reality they are now.  With all that said, the ending was rather cheesy.  [SPOILER] Erica gets a call from the president saying "Your country needs you." And she responds with, "I'm listening."  I mean, really?  Okay, okay, simply my opinion.  But that turned me off.  Very predictable.  

I will say this, I noticed she co-authored with someone I had never heard of before.  And while I am hesitant to lay blame, remembering how much I enjoyed her Triple Threat series (and yes, they are murder mysteries also, so there are crimes and blood and a wee bit of content in them as well, but nowhere NEAR as much as in this one. . .), I can't help but think the language and content can be "credited" to the co-author.  However, I simply do not know.  What I do know, is that this novel will never have a home on my shelves and that I would not recommend to anyone.  


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Recommended ages:  20+
(due to content and an immense amount of language)


All the writings above are purely my own personal opinions and no other.  I apologize for the content to my younger readers, but felt that it must be shared should any happen to pick up this book.

Wow.  It's been awhile since I've read something so disappointing.  But there's nothing left to do but move on! So, I'm now enjoying Shannon Hale's Ever After High A Wonderlandiful World.  ^_^

On a brighter note, I should have another phase of Operation Overland soon!  And hopefully a happier book review or three.  :]  'Til then!  Have a lovely week.

xxx,
Sarah


2 comments

Aidyl Ewoh said...

The book sounded like it had some really interesting parts, but I didn't end up reading the whole review cause you did a good job of showing me it wasn't going to be something I was okay with. Thanks for your thorough review. :)
Aidyl from Noveltea

Sarah Elizabeth said...

It did! But definitely not worth it. I know I give away many spoilers in long reviews like this, but I felt it important to share just what a reader will get into with this. Thanks for commenting!!