The President Is Missingby Published 04 Jun 2018
|The President Is Missing.pdf|
|Publisher||Little, Brown and Company and Knopf|
President Bill Clinton and bestselling novelist James Patterson have written a spellbinding thriller, The President is Missing.
As the novel opens, a threat looms. Enemies are planning an attack of unprecedented scale on America. Uncertainty and fear grip Washington. There are whispers of cyberterror and espionage and a traitor in the cabinet. The President himself becomes a suspect, and then goes missing...
Set in real time, over the course of three days, The President Is Missing is one of the most dramatic thrillers in decades. And it could all really happen. The President Is Missing is Bill Clinton and James Patterson's totally authentic and spellbinding thriller.
"The President Is Missing" Reviews
This is literally the most ridiculous collaboration I've ever heard about. And part of me desperately wants to read it solely for that reason.
Actually good! I’m more surprised than anyone. When I first heard about this book a year ago I thought it was a joke.
It reads like most popular thrillers, and I’m sure Patterson wrote 95% of it, but the added voice of an experienced president shines through. It’s not JUST a thriller, it’s a scenario of what-ifs. The commentary on how a president has to make tough decisions (they elect to avoid the phrase “hard choices”) is the most intriguing part of the book while the conventional edge-of-your-seat plot kept me eagerly reading. I rarely “devour” a book, but I really did tear through this one. Only took 4 days to finish.
Admittedly there are cheesy moments - but that comes with the genre. The bits of reality make it significantly more intriguing than similar race-against-time stories.
Are you missing out on something monumental if you skip it? Nah, but if you’re even a little interested, I think you’ll be pleasantly surprised.
The CIA can relax. Surely, no black felt-tip pens went dry redacting classified material from this manuscript. “The President Is Missing” reveals as many secrets about the U.S. government as “The Pink Panther” reveals about the French government. And yet it provides plenty of insight on the former president’s ego.
The novel opens with the commander in chief, President Duncan, preparing for a House Select Committee. His staff has strongly advised him against testifying. “My opponents really hate my guts,” Duncan thinks, but “here I am”: just one honest man “with rugged good looks and a sharp sense of humor.” Facing a panel of sniveling political opportunists intent on impeaching him, Duncan knows he sounds “like a lawyer” caught in “a semantic legal debate,” but darn it, he’s trying to save the United States! Although Congress insists he explain exactly what he’s been up to, he can’t reveal the details of his secret negotiations with a terrorist set on destroying the country.
As a fabulous revision of Clinton’s own life and impeachment scandal, this is dazzling. (One only wishes Rep. Henry Hyde could have lived long enough to attend the book party.) The transfiguration of William Jefferson Clinton into Jonathan Lincoln Duncan should be studied in psych departments for years. . . . .
To read the rest of this review, go to The Washington Post:
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”They aren’t going to ask for something.
They aren’t seeking a change in our foreign policy.
They don’t want prisoners released.
They aren’t going to demand a ransom at all.
They’re just going to detonate the virus.
They want to destroy us.”
On top of all this, which fortunately the American public is blissfully unaware of this impending national computer virus crisis, the President is also missing. While his arch enemy, the Republican Speaker of the House, is gleefully trashing him in the press, even insinuating that POTUS has had a nervous breakdown, President Jonathan Duncan has moved his operation underground. Normally, the President of the United States has at his disposal all of the best resources and the greatest minds in the country, but he has a problem.
There is a traitor.
And that traitor is in his inner circle.
By not being able to trust his most trusted friends and allies who are running departments that are crucial to his investigation, it is pretty hard to access those wonderful resources he would normally have available to him. On top of all this, the people who are trying to turn the United States into a third world country are also trying to kill him.
”The concussive whump of the impact knocks the breath from me, sends stars dancing before my yes and a shock wave through my body. The grille of the truck caves in the front passenger side, flinging Ontiveros into the driver, Davis, like a flopping doll, the back end of the SUV twisting right at a sixty degree angle while the front end stays locked to the grille of the truck in a crunch of whining armor. Hot wet air invades the rear compartment as the SUV desperately tries to hold itself together in one piece.”
The secret service are doing what they can to keep President Duncan alive, but they are undermanned, and the people coming after them are relentless. Can Duncan figure out who the traitor is? Can he find a counterplay against a virus that has already burrowed into every critical server and computer system in America before the terrorist Suliman Cindoruk pushes the destroy America button? Meanwhile his career, his legacy, everything he once cared about are being roasted on a bonfire of vile, invective, distorted conjecture by his enemies.
He doesn’t care.
None of it will matter if he can’t keep America from being sent back to the Dark Ages.
At the beginning of the book, Jonathan Duncan is squirming under the criticism of his most ardent detractors. I could see the mind of Bill Clinton guiding his responses. I can only imagine the simmering anger that Clinton still has for his enemies from the 1990s who tried to destroy his presidency. He wanted to lash out then, but he had to remember the office he represented and the responsibility he had to that position. Unfortunately, the current, thin skinned holder of the office doesn’t feel the same way. If you are worried about Duncan being a surrogate of Clinton, don’t worry. He is very much a different personality from the former president.
The message at the end of the book is an expression of concern that the political divide between the Republicans and Democrats that has widened with each election cycle will keep our representatives in Washington from pulling together if there ever is a national crisis that requires everyone, including the voters, to put country before party. Hoping for the opposition to fail just because they are from a different party is counterproductive to the wishes of the people. If the President fails, we all fail. We used to be able to pass bipartisan legislation in this country if a bill was for the universal good of the people. Now, one of the parties needs a majority in both houses and the Presidency to make any meaningful changes. We see currently, even with that being the case, that the divided Republicans can not even agree among themselves to pass legislature. The days of Tip O’Neill are, unfortunately, becoming a distant memory.
I’ve never read James Patterson. I am probably the last reader on the planet to have never cracked one of his books. He dominates bookstore shelves. I’ve been joking with my writer friends that I need to write a thriller in the Patterson style and change my name to Jamie Patterson so my books will be right next to his on the bookstore shelves. The chapters are short, staccato blips that push the reader to continue reading the book. I sat down and read about 400 pages in an afternoon, which, normally, if I’m having a good reading day, I might read 200. At the same time, I was aware of many moments when he does something like this: ”I reach the lot where my car is parked. I hand over my ticket and cash, and the attendant hands me the keys.” I am not a reader that needs that type of information. It is rather irrelevant information that does nothing to advance the plot. If he takes me from the bar to the character driving a car away to a rendezvous, I’m happy to skip all the insignificant small actions in between.
The question that bothers me the most as I read the book is, whether Clinton or Patterson, either one, had anything to do with the writing. Did they use a cutout, a mercenary, or more standardly what is called a ghostwriter to compose in the Patterson style? Were they just consultants lending their name to a book without actually spending a moment in the trenches of conceiving it? It is along the same lines of an argument I frequently have of whether a singer is a musician if that person only sing songs written by other people. I see a musician as someone who writes their own music. A person who sings songs written by other people is just a performer in my eyes. So if Clinton and Patterson didn’t write this book, do their names on the front cover mean anything, except as a marketing ploy?
James O’Sullivan wrote this intriguing article for The Guardian about the analysis they were able to do of the text of this book to determine who wrote how much. https://www.theguardian.com/books/boo... This may put to rest some of my specualtion about how much was written by Bill Clinton. I do still wonder, given the same analysis showing that Patterson’s other collaborative efforts in the past have been tilted heavily to his co-writer, whether Patterson’s part of the book was written by Patterson or by his hopefully well paid ghostwriter David Ellis.
So another question I have is, have I read a James Patterson book or not? Or am I still that unicorn reader who still hasn’t read a James Patterson book?
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Truthfully, I figured this would be a so-so book - cobbled together simply because two very well-known names would be a sure thing sales-wise. Well, folks, I figured wrong; I absolutely loved it!
Make no mistake, though - there's plenty of political "stuff" in here. I've read that when Patterson writes with a co-author, they send chapters back and forth for additions, corrections, etc. In this case, it's fairly easy to spot the Clinton influence. In fact, for those who don't share his political bent, I'd strongly suggest skipping the final chapter entirely (President Jonathan Lincoln Duncan's address to a joint session of Congress). I happen to agree 1000% with what he says, but even so, it's a bit heavy on the rhetoric. In contrast, though, are insights as to the inner workings of government at the highest levels and even a few bits of humor, such as when the aforementioned President muses, "God, I sound like an ass. Worse yet, I sound like a lawyer."
Political leanings notwithstanding, it's the story that kept me on the edge of my seat - first and foremost because it tackles an issue that concerns a ton of other folks: Our country's nearly total dependence on the Internet. Remember the y2k scare back in 2000? Well, multiply that by a hundredfold. President Duncan is right in the middle of the situation, having been sent a dire warning about what's to come via his daughter in Paris (his wife died of cancer a year or so earlier and he's personally dealing with a serious blood disorder, adding a bit more tension as the story progresses).
The warning comes as the President is facing a House Committee hearing that his enemies hope will end in impeachment (hmmm, that, too, has a familiar ring to it). The hearing comes because he's accused of preventing the almost certain capture or killing of an international terrorist named Suliman Cindoruk (think Osama bin Laden). Duncan is acutely aware of what really happened, but for national security reasons, he cannot reveal the truth. And as he learns more about the imminent cyberattack that would effectively shut down the entire country for years to come, he discovers that there's a traitor in the worst possible place - his own cabinet.
Can the President and his carefully selected team find the solution and save the world for democracy? Well, you'll just have to read the book to find out. Highly recommended!