Our Book of the Month for September is The President Is Missing by Bill Clinton and James Patterson. Can the President stop a terrorist attack on America when a traitor in the White House means he has to go it alone?
The President Is Missing – the blurb
The President is missing.
As an unprecedented cyberterrorist attack cripples the United States, the President must face an unthinkable truth:
There is a traitor in his Cabinet. His life is in danger.
And the only way to stay ahead of the shadowy forces tearing at the heart of America is to go off the grid, leaving behind his presidential protection. The President must go missing – and he may never resurface…
The President Is Missing – our review
This review is written with the expectation you have read The President Is Missing. If that’s not you yet, bookmark the page and come back.
American thrillers are not really my cup of tea, I find them all very samey. Yet the inclusion of ex President Bill Clinton added an extra frisson of excitement.
It wasn’t long before you noticed the book could be split into two parts (due to the two writers perhaps?) First up were the parts all about the White House. We learnt a lot about it’s staff, it’s inner workings, the campaigns, even the underground bowling alley! At times this was interesting, but to a non American who struggles to understand British politics (who doesn’t at the moment?) the detail was lost on me. I found the level of detail really slowed down the second side to the book – your more traditional thriller, with its ticking clock and end of the world scenario. For this to work successfully you need pace, so the two parts seemed to work against each other, making it a jarring read.
Was he ever really missing?
I found the concept of the book – the President going AWOL to single-handedly sniff out the traitor in his camp and save the world frustrating as he never really went missing. He had a car, arranged by his second in command which presumably was traceable via number plate recognition. There was also his phone, which again would have been traceable. His staff even had first sight of the baseball ticket he was given. Yet despite all this the President expressed surprise when his security team knew where he was! Even though he had a beard!
I also found the President’s supreme perfection annoying. He was a widow, a single father, a war hero and was life threatening ill. I bet he even leaves the toilet seat down. The speech in the last Chapter was cringe worthy and should never have been included. Either make it a thriller, or go with the inner White House workings but don’t end on a long winded speech about America. The book was never going to be believable and that I could have gone with if that was the only issue. It had some good one liners and I almost choked on my tea when I read the line “You got caught with your pants down.” being addressed to the President. Yet the book wasn’t for me. and I will be interested to know what those at book club make of it.
Book of the Month
If you would like to get involved with our book of the month try answering our book club questions published every month. We will also be reviewing a new book in October so keep an eye out for the Lowdown on it soon.