The President’s Daughter by Bill Clinton and James Patterson

Century | 2021 (7 June) | 620p | Review copy | Buy the book | Listen to the book

The President's Daughter by Bill Clinton and James PattersonThere is a new administration in the White House. Matt Keating, ex-President, ex-Navy Seal, has retired to New Hampshire, while the former First Lady Sam has taken up an academic post. Their daughter Mel is flourishing away from the public eye, old enough now to have had her security shadows removed. But Keating is about to learn that a President is always a President and now, away from the protection of the White House, he is more vulnerable than ever and, more to the point, so is his family. This is brought home in terrifying fashion when Mel, out on a camping trip with her boyfriend, is kidnapped and, when the demands come in, Keating has no choice but to put his faith in his political rival, the new President, once his former Vice President, Pamela Barnes. But, as Matt and Sam grow increasingly desperate, perhaps the former President has options after all.

I can’t believe it’s three years since the last collaboration between Clinton and Patterson was published, The President is Missing. Time has flow by. But I remember vividly just how much I enjoyed it and I am so pleased to see another novel by this duo who marry together thriller expertise and presidential insight perfectly. We have a different President, a different situation, but The President’s Daughter is every bit as thrilling as its predecessor. I read it as soon as I could and also listened to the audio review copy. And that is staggeringly good. There’s money and influence behind this project and that shows in the quality of the audiobook and its cast.

I am a massive fan of action thrillers, especially those with a hint of politics about them and so The President’s Daughter could have been written for me. I’ve found James Patterson’s thrillers a bit hit and miss over the years but the collaboration brings a depth, authenticity and focus that, in my opinion, is very successful.

It’s a great story, very punchy and told through short chapters that alternate perspectives, including those of Keating, Mel, President Barnes, foreign agents, villains. It moves fast for such a substantial novel and we get close to several characters. I particularly liked Mel, who is in such a horrendous situation and deals with it as best as she can. She has coping mechanisms taught to her by her father’s security chief, David, who is himself one of my favourite characters in the novel. It’s not a complicated plot but it is a thrilling one and it is driven. And there are moments of out and out shock. Blimey…..

It is fascinating watching the relationship between Keating, the new President and her husband, her chief of staff. While the plot isn’t complex the relationships are and the benefit of Bill Clinton’s input here is invaluable. He knows what it’s like to leave the White House and what it’s like to be that strangest of political beings – a former President who still remains a President for the rest of his life. What does that mean? This novel explores that.

I can recommend the audiobook, which has a number of narrators and really adds to the pace and immediacy of the plot, which crosses borders and packs quite a punch. A couple of blows had me in tears, they were that powerful. I really, really hope that there is more to come from Clinton and Patterson, and soon.

Other reviews
The President is Missing

James Patterson
Target
With Marshall Karp – NYPD Red 5
With Brendon DuBois – The First Lady

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