Monday, 6 August 2018


On June 4th, the former President Of The United States, William Jefferson Clinton, published his first novel. He co-wrote it with thriller writer James Patterson. Hardback copies then cost £20. Less than 8 weeks later, I picked up a pristine copy for just £1 on a secondhand bookstall in Lower Marsh, London.
Despite the excessive heat last weekend, I read the whole thing over the course of 3 days.

Reviews have been extremely mixed - this British one is quite sniffy about it [Guardian Review].
The publisher's  blurb stresses that because it is written by an ex-Pres, it has 'insider knowledge' of the White House. But the Washington Post review suggested that "the CIA can relax...'The President is Missing' reveals as many secrets about the US Government as 'The Pink Panther' reveals about the French Government...Yet it provides plenty of insight into the former President's ego"

Real life parallels - William Jefferson Clinton lost his father early, but rose from difficult circumstances to become state governor. He met his brilliant wife in law school, and has one daughter- Fictional Jonathan Lincoln Duncan has exactly the same bio.
The story is told in the first person - so the POTUS is never really missing, as the reader [and many other characters] always knows where he is! Much of the action centres on one room full of computer nerds. Inside that room, Duncan and co are aware that the USA could be destroyed at any moment - but outside the rest of the world plays baseball, eats lunch, and carries on as normal. There's a bit of media interest in the President's whereabouts, but no sense of National Panic. 
Bob read it equally quickly when I got back from London. We felt it was enjoyable - but not brilliant. Some ends were tied up a little too neatly for me, and other parts of the plot were too guessable.  I am not sure if anyone has started planning the film yet, I am sure they have. [Ryan Gosling is too young, George Clooney is too old. Possibly Ben Affleck?] 
I think it is the sort of light summer holiday fiction which you read once, and then discard. 
Fun, but not a keeper - I'd award it *** Get it from the library, but don't buy it. Ziffit have paid me £2.18 for it, so I think I've done OK there [If I could give half-a-star, I'd give it 3½* just for the resale value]


  1. I love that your review includes a comment on the resale value. WS x

  2. Thanks for the review! I shall look for the book in the library!

  3. It's on my library waiting list. It would be interesting to know just how much input Clinton had... Cheers

  4. HOH has read it - also quickly. Asked what he thought and he said "Er...good?" Which I think is probably a very good review


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