Review of “The President is Missing” by Bill Clinton and James Patterson

Clinton, Bill, and James Patterson. The President is Missing. New York: Little, Brown and Company/Alfred A. Knopf, 2018. 

Hardcover | $30.00 USD | ISBN-13: 978-0316412698 | 513 pages | Political Thriller

4 stars

While I have never read anything by James Patterson before, and don’t read a lot of books, fiction or nonfiction, that directly relate to contemporary politics, I was curious abut the hype around this book, especially considering the environment we are currently in. Considering how well-known Bill Clinton is, and the events not only of his presidency, but relating to his life over the past few years, it could have been easy for the book to be another book to incite controversy, the way some other books released recently have.

But I don’t think it does that. I feel like it provides the answers to what I wanted to know when I heard Clinton and Patterson discussing the book: depicting the stresses of the job of the president, while also depicting a man of good intent filling the role and taking on a major security threat. As for the latter, it is shocking how real the possibility is that if something can take down an entire nation’s Internet access, it could cripple them worse than ever before, and the way this element was executed and resolved was excellent.

I admit I was a bit concerned when I first opened up the book to see it was written primarily in first person present tense (with the occasional chapter from other significant characters in third person present tense), as I still have difficulties with this style of writing. But the style works here, especially as it is a fast-paced thriller, told in an almost minute-by-minute fashion, ensuring I continued turning pages to find out what would happen next. While there were definitely some cheesy moments and it’s by no means a masterpiece of writing, I enjoyed this book, especially with its poignant final chapters summing up the importance of working together.

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