The Separatists by Lis Wiehl and Sebastian Stuart (A Newsmakers Novel)
This is the very first novel I have read by Lis Wiehl. I rarely review fiction, but I made an exception for this book.
I found THE SEPARATISTS to be a reasonably fast-moving novel, with an interesting plot. The main character, Erica Sparks, is a high-powered journalist and anchor of the highest-rated news program in the entire country. She pitches a new show, similar to "60 Minutes," and for her first episode, she features a separatist movement in North Dakota.
The movement seems non-violent, but Erica is suspicious of the charimatic couple leading the cause. Before long, bodies start turning up, including one victim who had just called Erica with important information. Other deaths appear to be accidental, but Erica doesn't believe it.
Naturally, Erica feels compelled to investigate these murders. She can't really trust everyone around her, and so decides to keep most of the information private. This includes her husband, and especially her husband's business "friend."
Besides putting in 70 hour weeks, Erica must cope with the drama of a teenage daughter and a husband who appears to be wandering a little bit far from home. Erica's own insecurity is always close at hand, with disturbing memories from her sad childhood and a dysfunctional relationship with her mother. Her past problem with alcohol adds to the mix.
So overall, I found THE SEPARATISTS to be a good read, just right for a day on the beach or beside the pool. The book kept my interest, and the pace seemed about right.
In the "needs improvement" department, the book was filled with "comma splices," which are rare in books from major writers and publishing houses. These were so numerous, that they distracted me. To be fair, it's possible that these grammatical lapses will be corrected before the final book release.
Finally, I appreciated the "bite-sized" chapters; like so many American readers, I have a short attention span, and the small chapters are a big help. (Must be from watching too much of "24.")
Advance Review Copy courtesy of the publisher.