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The President Is Missing
The book opens with a charged scene in which President Jonathan Duncan is participating in a mock hearing to prepare for a congressional inquiry investigating the botched attempt to capture a terrorist. When the president loses his temper, he vindicates the advisers who have cautioned him not to appear before the actual committee. After kissing the photo, he enters the subterranean tunnels beneath the White House, emerges in an underground Treasury Department parking garage, gets behind the wheel of a sedan and drives himself first to the apartment of an old friend — who helps him with a disguise — and then to a Capitol Hill bar to meet his daughter. The young man earns instant credibility with the president when the two are nearly gunned down. Bach, so named for her devotion to the classical music constantly playing in her earbuds, is an assassin. She has assassinated generals, activists, politicians and businessmen. She is known only by her gender and the classical-music composer she favors.
Collaboration is a murky trade, and it covers quite a range. But no joining of forces is more difficult to fathom than the partnership between two writers. Writing, like dying, is one of those things that should be done alone or not at all. So, when two writers decide to merge, what do they actually do? A tidy scheme for twin souls but otherwise, assuredly, a prelude to divorce. Fletcher, who liked to get by with a little help from his friends, later conjured a play with three other writers.
Observer review: My Life by Bill Clinton
During this perambulation, he somewhat loftily observes the books his fellow passengers are reading and thus is able to boost his increasingly wobbly amour propre. Partly this had to do with its self-important cover, on which we find gold embossed letters and a stirring image of the White House at night; you can just picture it splayed open across the soft belly of some knackered executive as he sleeps in his club-class bed, having taken one too many champagne refills with his wagyu steak.
Duncan is facing possible impeachment for allegedly having a telephone conversation with Cindoruk and striking some kind of deal after letting him escape during a special forces attack. Did he? And why? All becomes tediously clear soon enough. Duncan is a stoic boy scout. A former governor of North Carolina, he served and was wounded in Iraq. Having him narrate most of the book from his point of view is also promising.
James Patterson is an advertising executive turned author who has achieved an industrial rate of production m-plus copies sold , often by using co-writers, but getting a former president on the ticket is his greatest publicity coup yet. The role of the protagonist inevitably prompts the reader to engage in a game of ticks and crosses, noting overlaps between Duncan and Clinton. The fictional president is a former governor of a southern state tick , shares a middle name with a great US leader Lincoln rather than Jefferson: tick , has an intelligent and impressive daughter tick , and faces impeachment proceedings that he insists are a conspiracy by opponents tick. However, Duncan is also a former war hero cross and a widower possibly making Hillary cross , two attributes that would have spared Clinton from being attacked as a draft-dodging adulterer. The report of special prosecutor Kenneth Starr into the Lewinsky business revealed that Clinton once gave his Secret Service detail the slip by removing a shoe that contained a GPS tracker; that moment of security truancy may have informed the titular premise of The President Is Missing , which is unusual among US political thrillers in including few scenes at the White House and none at Camp David.