Saturday, July 27, 2019

The President is Missing Book Review


I am not an American nor am I particularly political. However, I do love some James Patterson novels and this book, The President is Missing, which is co-authored by Patterson and former President Bill Clinton, came to the top of my reading list for my book club recently. It is a fictional work, billed as a thriller and, as the tagline says, is one that only a president could write. Here's a short, engaging trailer for the book:


According to a USA Today interview on the video that follows, Patterson and Clinton sat down to create the best book about the presidency that has ever been written. I do not think they achieved that goal. They did write a sometimes entertaining fictional story in which the President of the United States struggles to deal with a potential cyber attack and the possible destruction of the American way of life when a terrorist sets out to destroy the internet, its servers and all the computers in the United States. The President attempts to do so with the help of a small handful of trusted staff members.

I found the book a bit hard to get into and at times drawn out. In particular, I found the last section, where the President’s address goes on for far too long, unnecessary.  However, the book does give us a look into the inner workings, though obviously no secrets, of the U.S. government and it includes some humorous moments and a very likable though not perfect President.

The Guardian calls Clinton’s involvement one of the great things about this book and says that it is almost a “guarantee of political authenticity.” They go on to say that it feels like the “outcome of a conversation between one writer with an unusual skill at thriller plotting and another with an exceptional grasp of global politics.” I agree and I believe that there is value to the reader who is interested in that authenticity.

On a more serious note, The President is Missing deals with our dependence on the internet. Take a moment and think about what we could or could not do without the internet and computers. You will come up with a long, long list that includes banking, healthcare, transportation and so much more. After reading this book, you may decide to keep some cash under your mattress.

Despite having a hard time starting the book and the sometimes drawn out parts, I did enjoy it. It was not a favorite though and I cannot give it my ‘Highly Recommended’ rating but I would recommend it if you are interested in a peek into the government, you enjoy reading thrillers and are willing to tolerate the slow parts.

What Did Others Think?


For starters, the book was a Number 1 New York Times, USA Today, Wall Street Journal and Amazon bestseller though that is I am sure in great part due to the two names on the cover.

You will find that Amazon customer reviews are all over the place with 77 percent of them being 5 or 4 star. I do not think that is great but nor is it really that bad.

The Washington Post calls the book an awkward duet and writer Ron Charles calls it our for the being the obvious marketing ploy that it is. Two big names, one book. True, I suppose.

To the detriment of the book, The Guardian says, "This novel is indeed missing several things, including a believable plot and even the remotest sense of narrative tension." I would counter with it is a fictional thriller.

The Independent calls it “absurdly boring.”  I think that is an extreme position though the book had its moments.

Despite the comments and reviews from those parties, I believe that the following interview from Today with both of the authors may help you decide you want to read the book despite the shortcomings.


Once again, I can and do recommend this book if you are interested in the inner workings of the government, you enjoy a thriller and James Patterson and you can tolerate the slow parts. You can find your copy of The President is Missing on Amazon by clicking right here. Of note, The President is Missing may soon become a movie or television mini-series.

If you do read this book, be sure to come back and let us know what you thought. Was it a good read? Was it interesting despite the issues mentioned above? Would you recommend it to a friend?

See you
at the book store!
Brenda
Treasures By Brenda

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9 comments:

  1. I've liked some Patterson books and some just don't grab me. This one probably isn't my cup of tea. However, I enjoyed your excellent review and laughed at the comment about our dependency on the internet: "After reading this book, you may decide to keep some cash under your mattress." I agree! Our dependence on all things internet could be debilitating.

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  2. Fortunately, I do not believe what is proposed in the book in terms of taking down all computers everywhere is possible but still a few days even without electricity can be a problem for obtaining basic necessities in the world today. Thanks for your visit, Dawn Rae.

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  3. I'm not a big fan of either James Patterson or the thriller genre, so this book probably isn't for me. But I do like the idea of relying on a former president to bring authenticity to a book about how a president would likely respond to a fictional crisis, within the bounds of our political system. Thanks very much for the evenhanded review!

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  4. Like Dawn, I read James Patterson 'sometimes' and have very much liked many of his books. Plus, I enjoy the thriller genre. But stories about politics do not excite me and Clinton was never one of my favorites. Therefore, although I have seen the title of this book, I most likely will not read it. Very fair review, Brenda, giving both the pros and cons of your recommendations to read.

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  5. This book definitely has a catchy and intriguing title. When I first heard the title only, I thought I would like to read the book and assumed it would have an awesome plot. Later, when I heard it was co-authored by Bill Clinton, I knew it would be liked or disliked by Americans along political party lines instead of being judged by the content of the book itself. I loved reading a honest review by you because I know the American political party lines did not influence your opinion of the book. It was nice to know if the book itself as literary merit. Thank you!

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  6. Thanks for your comments, ladies. You made me chuckle, Cynthia, with your comment about the review "being honest because political party lines did not influence my opinion of the book" and you definitely have that correct.

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  7. Thank you Brenda for a great review. I saw this on the bookshelf and passed it by. I do enjoy Patterson stories, but I really don't like political stories. I find that even in story telling, you will never ever get the truth. I will put it on my "to read" list, but not in any hurry to do that. Plus I hate putting any $$$$ into a politician's pockets!

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  8. I did see a number of the promotional interviews on this book when it first came out - I actually think I would enjoy it. In high school back in the 1970's the book '1984' was required reading and with the security risks with the internet, computers, robots etc, it's like 1984 coming to life. For that reason, this one I may actually read.

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  9. When I read this book, I found it a bit underwhelming. I didn't feel it lived up to the hype. It could have been exceptional, but I feel some of Patterson's latest books have not been of the caliber of his earlier writing. Really appreciated such an honest review. It can be harder to write this type of review than a rave review.

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