Century | 2018 (13 December) | 339p | Bought copy | Buy the book
President Harrison Tucker is a popular president and his First Lady, Grace, is well-respected for the work that she does for the country’s disadvantaged children. Tucker’s first term is about up and the country is due to go to the polls shortly. Everyone is confident of a second term. Until Tucker is ambushed by the media with his arm around his mistress. If asked, though, Tucker would say that she’s more than his mistress. Tammy Doyle is the love of his life. The scandal threatens to consume the government. The Chief of Staff Parker Hoyt is the man tasked with trying to pull it all back together. Much depends on the response and attitude of Grace Tucker. Can they win her round? But Grace has had enough. The First Lady manages to give her security detail the slip and she disappears. But, as questions begin to be asked, a terrible possibility raises its head – perhaps the First Lady did not vanish by choice.
I’m such a fan of James Patterson’s thrillers and I loved the premise of this one, particularly as it’s not that long since I enjoyed The President is Missing. This time it’s the turn of the First Lady, although both books (and characters) are unrelated.
As you’d expect from a JP thriller, The First Lady sets off at a pace that sets the speed for the rest of the book. What starts off as a simple scandal becomes something very different indeed. We’re introduced to various people who are involved in the hunt for the First Lady – some to help her, some with other intentions – and they’re quite a bunch. Parker Hoyt stands out but he isn’t alone. For sympathy, though, we’re on the side of the special agent in charge of protection at the White House, Sally Grissom, who has to combine such a stressful job with raising a young daughter alone. Sally is tough and uncompromising. Many of the people who work for her are scared of her. But she’s certainly the type of person you’d want looking after you and trying to find you. I did like her.
The authorship of The First Lady is split and with this thriller it felt more evident than in others. It isn’t the best written of the thrillers, certainly not as good as the excellent The President is Missing, and some of the characters are a little wooden and some of the developments a bit implausible. All in all, it just feels less ‘Pattersony’ than some of the others I’ve read recently. But, having said all that, I had no desire to put it down once I started and I thoroughly enjoyed myself reading it over the course of just one day. I’ll take that!