A collaboration between James Paterson and Bill Clinton was too intriguing to be ignored. I’m not a massive fan of the modern adventure novel but I thought I’d give it a go because I don’t believe in being stuck in a book rut.
Firstly, there is a lot going on in this book, some might say a little too much. We have a US President at the mercy of a terrorist with a mystery threat that will destroy America. Sounds like a bad enough situation but add to the mix the recent death of his wife, a debilitating blood disease and a traitor in his closest allies and he’s having the worst day at work imaginable.
The book goes along at a hell of a pace and is an easy yet gripping read. In my opinion, the President has too much jeopardy thrown at him and we only get to examine each in very slight detail rather than getting to the root of the story. This is a great tale, it doesn’t need red herrings and distractions.
The characters are pretty one dimensional. The President is a stereotype war hero comes to office and is totally infallible. There is literally nothing bad about this character, barely a raised voice when he’s facing his version of Armageddon and even remembering to shower.
The satellite characters are not developed in the slightest and the whodunit element of the story is blindingly obvious. It could have been so much better if the excess had been stripped away and this element was the driving force of the story rather than the weak action scenes which seem to prevail.
Another thing that really annoyed me were the chapter lengths. There are over 120 chapters in this bad boy and in some instances a scene can span over two or three chapters which is really distracting. I assume it is to appeal to commuters who can dip in and out of the book but we can manage to last more than a few pages.
The most interesting part about the book are all the presidential facts. With Clinton being a co-author, you just know these are the real deal or as close to as we’re ever likely to get. This gives the book an air of authenticity which is fascinating. The speech at the end is also very poignant, you get the feeling that Clinton was given carte blanche at this point and it feels like it is written straight from the heart.
Overall it’s an enjoyable read if you don’t expect too much, sadly by putting Clinton’s name on the front, I did expect a bit more than this but when it came down to it I guess the former President was missing.