The Separatists by Lis Wiehl (Review)

Separatists Lis Wiehl

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From New York Times bestselling author Lis Wiehl comes the final book in her Newsmakers series. Journalist and newscaster Erica Sparks is only planning to report on an explosive story—until she gets caught in the middle of it.

After getting the green light from her network to launch an investigative news show, Erica flies to Bismarck, North Dakota, to investigate Take Back Our Homeland, the largest secessionist group. What she finds is profoundly disturbing – a growing threat to the future of our union.

Back home, her husband Greg is drinking more and talking less—and taking an unusual interest in the glamorous author Leslie Burke Wilson. Erica’s teenage daughter has also begun acting out in troubling ways.

Bestselling novelist and former legal analyst for Fox News Lis Wiehl takes us behind the anchor’s desk in this gripping look at high-stakes reporting in a country torn apart.



Even though Lis Wiehl’s first person present tense writing style is a little awkward and takes some getting used to (mostly because most fiction is not written this way), and I’m not a huge fan of discussing politics, I keep coming back to these books. They are interesting, engaging, and fast-paced. An intriguing look at what could become very real scenarios and situations in today’s disillusions and discontent within our federal government.

In The Separatists, the third book of the Newsmakers series featuring journalist Erica Sparks, North Dakota is on the brink of secession. As Erica scoops the rest of the news industry on this breaking story, she discovers there’s much more hiding under the surface.

While Wiehl’s story gives an excellent case of how this state can separate itself from the rest of the United States, the heart of this story for me was about the masks people wear for their public. Whether it’s someone trying to present a spotless image for their potential constituents while hiding a heart of darkness or a successful news anchor doubting herself in other areas of life, many of the characters in this book are hiding secrets.

Separtists Lis Wiehl

As the body count climbs and Erica Sparks races to find the truth behind the secessionist movement, readers are taken along the journey fraught with danger and suspense.

I had to backtrack a bit at the beginning in order to keep track of all the players but had them straight about a quarter of the way through. The ending seemed a bit abrupt to me. I would have liked a little more detail about the wrap up other than the short epilogue. It drove me absolutely crazy that Erica would not talk to her husband about her doubts. I understand that not communicating is a common issue in romances but this was not a romance and that communication issue is usually taken care of during the dating/courtship stage. Erica and Greg have been together long enough that they should not be faced with this issue.

Overall, it was an okay read for me. If you’re a fan of political suspense with lots of intrigue, backstabbing, and subterfuge, this is a keeper. As the body count climbs and Erica Sparks races to find the truth behind the secessionist movement, readers are taken along the journey fraught with danger and suspense.


Warning: There are several references to sexual situations (allusions to the act, mentions of words associated with it, and a few homosexual relation mentions).

My Rating:


Disclosure statement:
I receive complimentary books for review from publishers, publicists, and/or authors, including NetGalley. I am not required to write positive reviews. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255. 


Who Controls the News?

I enjoyed reading Lis Wiehl’s Mia Quinn series, so I jumped at the chance to read her newest in a little different setting than the courtroom. And the suspense is ratcheted up from the first chapter in The Newsmakers (written with contributor Sebastian Stewart).


Ambitious reporter Erica Sparks is determined to move out of the shadows of her past. When she’s handed her dream job at an up-and-coming news network in New York City, it looks like she is finally making forward progress.

Out on her first assignment, she encounters and reports a tragedy that shoots her into the public eye. People are now recognizing her. Determined to get to the bottom of the cause for the accident, she continues digging into the story—even when her story is handed off to someone else.

And then another assignment that comes catapults her into the eyes and hearts of viewers once again. Is it just coincidence that Erica was in both places at once or is there something more going on? And if there’s more, who’s behind it?

Suddenly, the job Erica’s dreamed of becomes a nightmare as she faces threats from an enemy she can’t prove is behind any of them and races to find the answers before it’s too late for her—or worse, her daughter.

While Wiehl’s writing style takes a little bit to get used to (she writes in third person, present tense as opposed to past tense like the majority of authors), the action and suspense quickly overshadow this. And while parts of the book are predictable, I never knew what was coming next for Erica—what kind of “warning” was going to be left for her or who was watching her and when.

If you’re looking for a book with a strong spiritual message, you’re not going to find it here. There’s a passing mention of how Erica found solace in God while in recovery and she says the serenity prayer a couple times, she doesn’t turn to God when things get dark and she feels overwhelmed. There are no discussions about God between Erica and her co-workers. It’s almost as if making her a “good” person who wants to find justice is good enough. There are also a couple of curse words in the book that may offend some readers who believe they’ve picked up a Christian fiction book.

None of those things took away from the suspenseful story for me personally, but I have to mention it as it will upset some readers.

***BookLook Bloggers and Thomas Nelson Fiction provided me with a complimentary copy of this book in exchange for an honest and fair review. All opinions expressed are my own.

Lethal Beauty by Lis Wiehl and April Henry (Contributor)

leathal beauty cover

Mia Quinn is the prosecuting attorney for what seems like an open and shut murder case, but when the jury comes back without an agreement, she is forced to find a reason to re-file the case. Dandan Yee was murdered but the man who stood trial claims she attacked him. Bo Yee, Dandan’s mother, is convinced a member of the jury was paid off and takes it upon herself to seek justice. Mia’s own investigation leads her to a group of Chinese immigrants who refuse to talk to her. There is more going on with this group than meets the eye. Kenny Zhoung, the owner of a Chinese restaurant wants to protect all aspects of his business at whatever the cost. How do all of these paths diverge? When Mia’s family becomes involved, things take a personal turn.

As you can probably tell, there was a lot going on in this book—many different perspectives and several characters. Once the main players are introduced, the reader is able to follow along well. Wiehl delves into the world of human trafficking in the U.S. (a timely read considering police in my hometown just arrested seven people for this exact thing and freed five others). Readers get a peek into the lives of the immigrants, the police investigation, and the justice system as well as the family life of Mia. This is the third book in the Mia Quinn series, but you will not be lost if you pick this one up first. Great mystery with almost no romance if that’s what you’re looking for.

Available March 3, 2015

Thomas Nelson provided me with a copy of this book (via Netgalley) in exchange for an honest and fair review. All opinions expressed are my own.