The President’s Daughter by Bill Clinton and James Patterson

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The President’s Daughter Book Review – Three years ago, an unlikely literary pairing took place, as former U.S. President Bill Clinton teamed up with mega best selling author (and human writing machine) James Patterson to write a political thriller called The President is Missing.

The book, which could have easily been dismissed as a publicity stunt, became an immediate best seller, and topped many fiction lists. In fact, the concept proved to be so successful, that former First Lady (and former U.S. Senator, Secretary of State, and Democratic presidential candidate) Hillary Rodham Clinton teamed up with Quebec-born best selling mystery author Louise Penny to come up with their own collaborative political thriller called State of Terror, which will be released on October 12.

And to prove that The President is Missing was no fluke, President Clinton and James Patterson decided to do another collaboration in the political thriller genre, and the end result is The President’s Daughter. And after reading it, I can certainly say that the term “fluke” has no place in what I have to say about this book.

In fact, The President’s Daughter was quite the incessant, race-against-time page-turner, with plenty of intrigue, action, and a nice little twist at the end.

The story focuses on Matthew Keating, a newly-retired President of the United States (thanks to the stab-in-the-back maneuvers during the primaries by his vice president Pamela Barnes, who is the newly elected POTUS), and has just settled into the life of a past president at his home in mountains of New Hampshire, while his wife Samantha resumes her pre-White House career as an archaeology professor, and daughter Melanie goes to college.

Bill Clinton & James Patterson

So as the Keating family is becoming familiar with their more quite, normal family life, something happens that practically throws a wrench into their idyllic post presidential plans in the wilds of northern New England. During a visit to the Keating home from college, Melanie is suddenly (and violently) kidnapped and taken hostage by a small group of terrorists led by Asim Al-Asheed, who is bent on dealing out vengeance against Matthew Keating, who during his administration, ordered a bombing attack on Al-Asheed’s home in Libya, which killed his wife and three daughters.

Getting lip service help at best from the dragon lady who is President Barnes (and her much too influential husband/chief of staff Richard), Matthew Keating decides to use his skills and know-how that he obtained while serving as a member of the Navy SEALs, as he goes behind the backs of President Barnes and his Secret Service protective detail to create his own SEALs-type commando unit to follow Asim Al-Asheed’s tracks and rescue his daughter Melanie before Al-Asheed exacts his planned murderous revenge.

The President’s Daughter has the required elements for an enjoyable political thriller novel: intrigue, backroom moves, clash of egos, vengeance, violence, a lot of secret intelligence, technically sophisticated tools and weaponry, action and the element of real time in order to accomplish the mission is question. And like The President is Missing, the reader can distinguish who wrote what chapters (the mystery/thriller elements by Patterson, and the politically-oriented elements by Clinton), although that line becomes much foggier about three-quarters through the novel; however, thankfully, that doesn’t impede the novel’s breathless pace, not to mention the pace of the narrative.

With the current success of The President’s Daughter on the best-seller lists, we hopefully can look forward to more literary collaborative efforts between Clinton and Patterson. And in a way, it can open the door to the other surviving past presidents that when it comes to writing post-White House books, they don’t have to restrict themselves only to memoirs or political issue-oriented times. 

Stuart Nulman
By: Stuart Nulman – info@mtltimes.ca

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