Updated: Aug 8, 2018
An entertaining cyberterrorism thriller with quick pacing and relentless tension
The novel opens with President Jonathan Lincoln Duncan, preparing to testify before a House select committee. His staff has strongly advised him against testifying. The panel of political opportunists are intent on impeaching the president. Congress is insisting that he explain his actions of the past week. According to phone records released by a French newspaper, President Duncan placed a direct call to Suliman Cindoruk, head of the Sons of Jihad terrorist organization. Duncan refuses to reveal to the country that this terrorist organization has threatened to activate a devastating computer wiper-virus within days, that will infect every server, computer, and electronic device in America. Once activated the country’s financial, legal, security, and medical records will be totally erased in just a matter of hours. The transportation and electrical grid’s will crash and the water system will no longer be potable. It’ll be the dark ages and the U.S. will immediately become a third-world country. But President Duncan is working tirelessly to stop the terrorist, identify the country supporting the terrorist, and find a traitor in the West Wing. But can he do it in time?
“The media knows what sells—conflict and division. It’s also quick and easy. All too often anger works better than answers; resentment better than reason; emotion trumps evidence. A sanctimonious sneering one-liner, no matter how bogus, is seen as straight talk while a calm, well argued response is seen as canned and phony.”
The unique writing partnership between Patterson and Clinton has drawn us all in like a moth to a flame. Both men have at least a couple of books under their belts, and one even has a few years experience as the President. My advice is don’t go in with expectations, just read it for entertainment. Don’t look for any special meaning or significance in the plot or in the characters and you will enjoy it all the more. The duo has expertly delivered a thought-provoking cyberterrorism thriller that will leave you worried about internet dependence.
Short chapters propel the dramatic story along quickly. From the moment the President goes missing from the White House the tension is unrelenting. President Duncan narrates the drama so you are with him every step of the way as he goes undercover to a Nationals baseball game, and it’s game on from there. And just in case the wiper-virus isn’t enough to hold your interest, there is an pregnant female assassin who goes by the name Bach on the loose, and the President is without his security detail.
I listened to the audible version of the book and found it interesting. Most of the voices were great, but there were a few minor characters that left a lot to be desired. Very stilted and strained and painful to hear. Thankfully those voices have very limited roles and detracted only slightly from the overall enjoyment of the book.
Showtime cable network has acquired the dramatic rights to the book and it is expected to be a TV series next year. You are going to want to read the book first. The book is always better!
Publisher Little, Brown/Knopf/Random House Audiobooks
Published June 4, 2018
Narrated Dennis Quaid/Bill Clinton