Book Review: The President Is Missing, by Bill Clinton and James Patterson

Details: Official site is

Score: 7/10

The President Is Missing is a fairly standard political thriller reminiscent of shows like The West Wing and 24. While James Patterson is obviously one of the most successful writers of our lifetime, the main draw here is Bill Clinton. Not many books can say that they are told with the perspective of one who has actually been president of the United States and there are clearly many points in this book where you can feel Clinton’s voice in the story.

The story takes place in an alternate version of present day America. The president in this world is not Trump, but a former member of the special forces and a morally upright guy whose primary concern is protecting the country. When the threat of a cyber attack threatens the entirety of the nation, the president must go rogue in hopes of discovering who is responsible and diffusing the threat.

The political thriller part of this story is pretty standard and reminds me of many similar stories I’ve seen before. There’s your standard tropes of there being a traitor and assassins and political machinations and all that. The worst trope of all is how they handle a technological crisis in an overly simple way so that readers can comprehend it. In real life, programming can be very complex and there is a lot of math involved.

The more interesting parts are simply the parts that express the presidents feelings on internal aspects of the presidency. For example, the opening part of the book is a mock congressional hearing that does a great job conveying the frustrations a president has to deal with domestically while trying to deal with external threats that actively seek to weaken or destroy the country. There are lots of little insights and opinions like that. These insights aren’t beyond the realm of imagination, but having an actual former president give opinions on being president instead of having a writer just make things up is new and interesting.

Overall, this was a fairly standard political thriller, except that it had Bill Clinton lend it more credibility as an actual former president. The authenticity and opinions given by Bill Clinton is welcome, though this is still a standard James Patterson novel through and through.

Score: 7/10

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