A former president writes a book about a fictional president, I said, I have to read this! With one of today’s bestselling mystery writers. The result is a lot of political intrigue, with a quarter of it being a thriller. When the thrills to come, they are exciting and fast paced, unfortunately this novel only has three thrilling moments, the rest is talk; talking in person, talking on the phone, and talking on computer screen, the talk is for the most part interesting but there’s far too much of it. I will say when the conversation is at the White House, with Clinton’s knowledge and descriptions you do feel like you’re an insider peeking in to something we normally wouldn’t have access to, the escape tunnel was pretty neat. If you care about Clinton’s thoughts on Immigration, African Americans and police, Russian election hacking, and veteran affairs through his presidential character John Duncan.
The plot: President Duncan is scheduled to sit down with the House Select Committee, about seeking the articles of impeachment for the President calling the leader of terrorist of a group called Sons of Jihad, and stopping a mission to kill him, where the terrorist got away. The president can not speak of the events because of national security. A two weeks ago threat was made a terrorist organization hacked in to the pentagon and took over every computer for a matter of seconds, a bug was revealed, that can wipe out everything and is set to release the next day. They call the Bug the Dark Ages, because it as the power to send who ever it targets back to the Dark ages shutting down every system that uses a computer. The presidents daughter was intercepted by the group and whispered the code word that only the top of government know. The president is set to meet the one who whispered the night before the deadline. The president not knowing who to trust must go alone to try to figure out the conspiracy and the hacks, and meet the mysterious whisper who says they can help, but help who? What agenda? is all this tied to the president’s possible impeachment?
What I liked: The last 100 pages are very exciting and edge of your seat thrills. There’s a really good twist at the end that I didn’t see coming, it reminded me of the excellent Along Came the Spider twist, it’s but that’s a high caliber twist in my book. The inside access we get to the White House. The president’s wife cancer gets used at the end, I like how it tied up to the situation. The Dark Ages plot has been used before, Revolution the tv show, but I like how well all the horrors it would bring in astonishing detail. I like the character of Bach and how they wrapped up that character.
What I disliked: This novel takes too long to get going, it’s long for a James Patterson title clocking in at 510 pages, where he rarely writes too far over 400 pages. There’s a decent amount of filler that was not needed. There’s one scene where he’s supposed to be meeting the whisperer to possibly stop a terrorist treat, and he stops to have a meal with a homeless veteran, and then later he comes late to the meet because of it. That whole short chapter should have been gone and the make up disguise chapter before it as well. The politics, I have no problem with the politics in this book, in fact I agree with most of them, but the way the information was presented was not well done. It was extra scenes just made for the politics and not for the ongoing story. Clinton obviously wanted the politics into the story, but I think they could’ve been ingrained into the story instead of durning a State of the Union address. Note: if you do want to read this book for Clinton’s politics turn to the second too last chapter and read to the end.
I would recommend this for Patterson fans, I have been a fan of Patterson and his Alex Cross character, I have read 15 books in that series, there’s some great, there’s good and there’s some that are just okay. I feel this falls in the good category. Fans of President Clinton as the man and his politics. If you like political intrigue then this is the book for you, thriller’s catchier than saying political intrigue but it’s way better fitting here. I had a hard time between giving this 3 stars or 4 at the end I decided giving it 3 for it being good but too much filler slowing down the pace.