Liz Wiehl’s new novel The Candidate featuring star news reporter Erica Sparks uses America’s presidential election as the backdrop for nefarious and increasingly unbelievable events. Erica interviews presidential candidate Mike Ortiz and his glam wife Celeste for her show and leaves both impressed and vaguely troubled. Something seems off about Ortiz and the couple’s relationship; in fact, Mike seems to look to Celeste for answers, not a good sign for a president.
Erica is standing right in front of the next two horrifying scenes, first when Ortiz’ leading opponent for the nomination is assassinated and then in the courtroom when the assassin is himself murdered. Both trouble her because neither culprit has any background to indicate a problem and both have months-long gaps in their history which they cannot account for.
The novel is all plot and it’s increasingly ridiculous. How many times can Erica be the target for something? And how will she fight back when no one else was able? How would she hire a personal assistant/nanny without seriously investigating her?
Wiehl tries to build in a romance/family conflict as Erica worries about and wants to spend time with her daughter Jenny but continues to answer ambition’s call to be that top-rated news show host instead. She hires an intern to be her assistant and to take care of Jenny, not realizing that the assistant is loony. These interpersonal conflicts seem pasted on in order to make Erica likable and to give an opening for the personal assistant’s betrayal.
Overall The Candidate could be fun if you can suspend all belief and look at Erica as a cross between Wonder Woman and Brenda Starr. I didn’t care for it once the basic plot was uncovered.
I received this from NetGalley in exchange for a review.