Clinton’s new thriller

Bill Clinton has lent his name to the hired hands grinding away in the factory Jonathan Mahler dubbed James Patterson Inc. The factory’s newest production is The President’s Daughter, logging in at 608 pages (and 136 chapters). The publisher touts a quote from the New York Times review by Sarah Lyall: “This novel offers tantalizing clues into the unconscious of Clinton…”

Even if life weren’t short, that would probably be sufficient to induce a reasonable person to take a pass. The novel also comes with a blurb from Walter Isaacson, in case you ever thought him just another left-wing blowhard who valued his image as a credible journalist and historian.

This is Clinton’s second novel with James Patterson Inc. For younger readers who missed the study of ancient history and older readers with a short memory, the publisher serves up Clinton’s track record: “Bill Clinton was elected President of the United States in 1992, and he served until 2001. After leaving the White House, he established the Clinton Foundation, which helps improve global health, increase opportunity for girls and women, reduce childhood obesity and preventable diseases, create economic opportunity and growth, and address the effects of climate change.”

I can confirm the accuracy of the years of Clinton’s presidency. We may want to ask for a fact check on the Clinton Foundation stuff.

Doing the work that I suspect Isaacson may have skimped on, Washington Free Beacon humorist Andrew Stiles has read the book in its 755-page large print edition. He reviews it here.

Stiles notes one gratifying element of the thriller: “It is decidedly anti-woke, refreshingly problematic. Keating’s daughter, Melanie, is appalled by her Dartmouth classmates, whose ‘ignorance and apathy about the real world’ enable them to ‘drone on and on about how the real roots of terrorism were poverty, despair, and inequality.'”

I wish the novel had placed Melanie at Stanford rather than Dartmouth, but that observation is uncannily accurate. Stiles adds: “Characters pray to God and quote the Bible. Then there’s Jiang Lijun, the sadistic and openly racist Chinese intelligence officer who pals around with terrorists. Film studios would never tolerate it in its current form.”

Stiles draws on the book’s back cover for this hilarious line: “Every detail is accurate—because one of the authors is President Bill Clinton.” Stiles cautions, however, that “maybe they’re onto something.”

Both the Times and Isaacson endorse the book as entertaining or riveting (as “only the partnership of Patterson and Clinton could produce”). Despite their endorsement, I have no intention of finding out for myself. My guess is that Stiles’s review is more entertaining than the book.

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