cover image The Separatists

The Separatists

Lis Wiehl, with Sebastian Stuart. Thomas Nelson, $26.99 (352p) ISBN 978-0-7180-

A plot to break up the United States is at the center of Wiehl and Stuart’s rather predictable third and final Newsmakers novel (after 2016’s The Candidate). Erica Sparks, a broadcast journalist in New York, has risen to the top of her field in a desperate attempt to outrun her dreadful childhood. Her husband, Greg, is unhappy with his work, and her 13-year-old daughter, Jenny, feels neglected. It’s clear to readers, if not to Erica, that both these relationships will suffer. As Erica pursues a big story involving a well-financed group in North Dakota planning to make the state the centerpiece of a new country, she notices an inexplicable coldness in the eyes, speech, or demeanor of certain people she interviews. That turns out to be the mark of the devil—and bad guys are everywhere. The more she pokes around, the more people die. There’s not much in the way of mystery or thrills; the only questions are how Erica will stop the plot from coming to fruition and how high the body count will be. Agent: Todd Shuster, Zachary Shuster Harmsworth. (June)