Book Reviews

The President is Missing

Author: Bill Clinton and James Patterson
Published: June 4, 2018 by Little, Brown Company and Knopf
Genre: Thriller / Suspense, Political Thriller
Hardcover: 600 pages
My Rating: 4 stars

“Towers above most political thrillers.” –Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
“The plotting is immaculate . . . the writing is taut.” –Sunday Times (London)
“Ambitious and wildly readable.” –New York Times Book Review

The President Is Missing confronts a threat so huge that it jeopardizes not just Pennsylvania Avenue and Wall Street, but all of America. Uncertainty and fear grip the nation. There are whispers of cyberterror and espionage and a traitor in the Cabinet. Even the President himself becomes a suspect, and then he disappears from public view . . .

Set over the course of three days, The President Is Missing sheds a stunning light upon the inner workings and vulnerabilities of our nation. Filled with information that only a former Commander-in-Chief could know, this is the most authentic, terrifying novel to come along in many years.

The pages of The President is Missing are filled with the common traits of a good thriller: a ticking countdown clock, spectacular shootouts and car chases, code words and passwords, undercover disguises, a traitor in the White House, cyber terrorists, computer hackers, and a female assassin with the code-name of Bach because of the classical music she likes to listen to in her ear buds while on a job.

About to be unleashed on America was a virus that “would have crippled our military, erased all our financial records and backups, destroyed our electrical grid and transmission networks, broken our water and water-purification systems, disabled our cell phones, and more.” It was kind of a scary thought on how reliant we’ve become on the internet. What if the internet was destroyed? This books explores that in a fictional setting.

Don’t let the size of the book or the number of pages put you off. As is the norm for James Patterson, the chapters are very short, so practically every other page is a half page as a new chapter starts. I thought it had masterful plotting and the clipped prose amps up the suspense. It’s a conventional edge-of-your-seat thriller and I enjoyed it. It was an easy read and kept me interested and turning the pages. It slowed a little for me in the middle, but I blew through the beginning third and the last third.

I used to read James Patterson pretty regularly, but I haven’t picked up a book of his in years. They became a little formulaic, but with President Clinton co-writing this one it was enough to entice me to read it. Will I go back to reading James Patterson? Probably not, but I did really enjoy this one. It should come as no surprise then that The President is Missing has been acquired by Showtime with plans to turn it into a TV series.

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