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Bill Clinton groups up with James Patterson for political thriller The President Is Missing, Arts News & Top Stories

FICTION

THE PRESIDENT IS MISSING

By Bill Clinton and James Patterson

Hachette/Paperback/513 pages/ $28.89/Major bookstores/

three stars


To write fiction extra melodramatic than the fact of at the moment’s White House is a tall order. For his first novel, former United States president Bill Clinton pulls out all of the stops.

He has teamed up with veteran thriller author James Patterson, the Guinness World Record holder for essentially the most No. 1 New York Times bestsellers, for pulpy political thriller The President Is Missing.

This title boasts unprecedented star high quality, which is probably why the novel, solely partially a page-turner, is allowed to get away with greater than it ought to.

President Jonathan Lincoln Duncan has vanished – from the general public view, that’s.

In truth, he has gone off the grid to run round untangling a terrorist menace, a virus that might cripple the US any time on Saturday.

He has an impeachment hanging over his head, a traitor in his interior circle and a blood illness that might act up any second.

Clinton is already a best-selling writer, because of his 2004 memoir My Life.

He shouldn’t be the primary president to strive fiction. In 2001, his predecessor, Jimmy Carter, wrote American Revolutionary War novel The Hornet’s Nest. But even with Patterson’s enter, it’s clearly not Clinton’s sturdy go well with.

At greater than 500 pages, the novel is much longer than it needs to be. Its first half is a slog, slowed down with political jargon and garden-variety metaphors, such because the Speaker of the House “looking forward to the select committee hearing more than a college boy looks forward to his 21st birthday”. There is even some appalling poetry.

Duncan is a cookie-cutter hero-president of the Hollywood mould that has populated the likes of Air Force One (1997) and White House Down (2013).

He is an Iraq warfare veteran, a person of honour, a technological dinosaur who can nonetheless out-think one of the best millennial minds in cyber-security.

He is the form of man who says issues like “I didn’t betray (my country) because I couldn’t. I love my country too much” with a straight face. He can be curiously widowed, which individuals are sure to learn an excessive amount of into.

Arrayed towards him are Suliman Cindoruk, a mercenary terrorist who talks like a film-poster tagline; and the extra intriguing Bach, a ruthless, pregnant murderer with a style for classical music whose destiny is one thing of an anti-climax.

The novel kicks into gear midway by way of – not that the writing will get any higher, however at the least it stops getting in the way in which of the plot.

A virus that originally seemed like a malware McGuffin seems to have frighteningly well-thought-out penalties.

If you thought a half-hour blackout within the Central Business District final Friday was dangerous, that was a stroll within the park. This e-book will have you freaking out in regards to the cashless economic system.

Policy wonks may even be fascinated to be taught in regards to the interior workings of the White House in occasions of disaster, in addition to how Duncan ropes in different world leaders – from allies Israel and Germany to the keep-your-enemies-closer involvement of Russia.

The writers get in some well-aimed jabs at present President Donald Trump.

Duncan’s chief of employees Carolyn Brock lost an election as a result of a unclean phrase she stated in a non-public dialog was caught on a dwell microphone.

“If a man had said it,” she notes, “it wouldn’t be an issue” – as certainly it was not when Mr Trump was caught on tape boasting of grabbing girls by their genitals.

The final result of all this reads like wish-fulfilment fantasy, a nine-page handle to Congress that runs by way of a laundry record of hopes and desires – combat local weather change, immigration reform, higher gun-safety legal guidelines and extra.

It is much simpler to jot down about presidents than to be one.

If you want this, learn: Executive Orders by Tom Clancy (Berkley, 1996, $17.12, Books Kinokuniya). Agent Jack Ryan out of the blue finds himself President of the US after a nuclear assault wipes out the government.




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