Recommendation: Sorry Bill, Hillary won this round
Where to read: Disgusting wet weekends
Read with: Whatever American craft brew you can find
In brief: Silly thriller is silly.
This is Clinton’s second joint effort with James Patterson and, I am afraid to say, is inferior and less interesting (not that the first was amazing), if more of a conventional action thriller. Unlike the more cerebral hero of The President is Missing, former one-term President Keating is an only-slightly-out-of-shape former Navy SEAL with a bunch of buddies ready to go on the rampage when his daughter is kidnapped by an unhinged terrorist bent on revenge. If we are being honest with ourselves, the whole book is basically Taken if Liam Neeson had to dodge a Secret Service detail before engaging in shenanigans. There is also something vaguely resembling a “China subplot” because you would expect the geopolitical angle from Clinton but it is, frankly, thin at best.
Unsurprisingly given the authorship, it is better written than most of its competitors, the very notable and obvious exception being Hillary Clinton’s co-write State of Terror, which was released in the same year and which is infinitely superior. This comparison is not entirely fair – Hillary/Penny place much more emphasis on both the politics and the characters while Bill/Patterson aim for and deliver a much more straightforward airport novel – but there is no doubt which is the better book.