BOOK REVIEW: The President Is Missing by Bill Clinton and James Patterson


Title: The President is Missing

Author: Bill Clinton and James Patterson

Book Length (Audiobook): 13 hours 5 mins

Rating: 3 out of 5 stars

Genre: Thrillers, Fiction


Brief Summary of the Plot: US President John Lincoln Duncan has huge problems. When the book opens, he is rehearsing for an impeachment hearing (I guess Bill Clinton’s experience came in handy for these scenes). Duncan is being alleged both with negotiating with known terrorist Suliman Cindoruk, (the leader of a group called the Sons of Jihad), and then later calling off the assassination of Cindoruk. In addition to these personal troubles, the United States is facing an imminent threat from the Sons of Jihad, who plan to launch a devastating cyber attack (a.k.a. “Dark Ages”) against the United States.

Duncan becomes aware of this sinister plot against the United States when a woman with insider knowledge approaches Duncan’s daughter at school to deliver a message about Dark Ages. The message basically reveals that there is a mole in the White House (because no one outside of a few people knew of it). In an effort to save the day, the President doesn’t go “missing” as much as he goes incognito, disguising himself with the help of his deceased wife’s friend, who is conveniently a famous actress (doesn’t everyone have such a friend?). He isn’t missing because his secret service team figures out where he is going and follows him. Additionally, he remains in contact with various people in his cabinet.

As he remains in “undisclosed” locations, the cyber attacks on various locations begin, building up to the final event. Will President Duncan be able to foil the plot in time to save the country?

The Writing: As with most Patterson books, the writing has a “fun beach read” quality. I couldn’t really tell where Bill Clinton’s influence might have come in, except for the descriptions of the White House and some of the more political aspects. I felt it was written mostly by Patterson, but Bill Clinton was given a prominent by-line due to his famous status. It was clear that Bill Clinton wrote the last speech given by Duncan at the end of the book. Even though I have liberal leanings, the speech was a big turn off. Please don’t preach at me in my fiction book that I read for fun.

The Audiobook Recording: The Audiobook is read by several people, including Denis Quad (who plays the President). I find his impression of a Russian, Israeli and German to be flat-out hilarious. They do not even remotely sound correct (and I live in Austria and work with Austrians and Germans, so I know what I am talking about). The Israeli (woman) impression, sounds like a botched attempt at a Mel Brooks movie. Additionally, the classical music which was played during the assassin scenes was distracting, and often played over the words so it was actually hard to hear what was happening in the book.

Expectations: My expectations were met. Since I’ve read many Patterson books, I knew what to expect, and I knew what I was getting into.

Recommendation: Would I recommend this book? Sure, if you are looking for a book that is a fast, easy, and entertaining read. I usually read Patterson books on the beach, or on the plane. I read this book while running / walking, or doing chores around the house.