BOOKS: The President's Daughter: Bill Clinton & James Patterson

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Jun. 26—Readers may expect President Bill Clinton and James Patterson's latest book, "The President's Daughter," to be a direct sequel to their 2018 thriller, "The President Is Missing."

It is not.

"Missing" featured the fictional President Duncan. "Daughter" features the fictional President Keating.

The names and situations are different but the characters are remarkably similar — both were war heroes before taking office and both seem to have the same temperament. Think of it as being similar to seeing John Wayne or Harrison Ford in a movie, the characters may have different names but they are still essentially John Wayne or Harrison Ford no matter the movie.

In "The President's Daughter," President Keating is an accidental president — one who served as vice president taking office after the death of the president. As president, Keating orders a strike on a terrorist — only the terrorist is not present and the terrorist's wife and daughters are killed during the mission.

Keating apologizes. The terrorist vows revenge. Keating's vice president, Pamela Barnes, strengthens her plans to run against Keating — she does come the next election and wins.

Now, a former president, Keating and his teenage daughter, Melanie, live in a secluded portion of New England. The terrorist kidnaps Melanie and Keating goes into action not only as a former president but also as a one-time Navy SEAL.

He eventually vows to find and rescue his daughter.

Like "The President is Missing," Clinton and Patterson combine forces to create a compelling read. Clinton draws on his experiences as a former president and politician while Patterson is a master of writing taut thrillers.

Also, like "Missing," "Daughter" shakes up some of the familiar rhythms of a James Patterson book. The chapters are a little longer. The book is a couple of hundred pages longer than most Patterson books. And Patterson takes second billing — which he rarely does with any of his dozens of other co-authors — to Clinton.

There is also the weird, even creepy, realization that a real former president who has a real daughter is writing a book about a fictional former president whose fictional daughter is kidnapped by terrorists.

All that said, "The President's Daughter" is solid escapist summer reading.

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