Bill Clinton pens ‘unique’ political thriller with James Patterson

White House novel boasts the inclusion of ‘details that only a president can know’

Former American president Bill Clinton at the funeral of Martin McGuinness in March. Photograph: Ben Stansall/AFP/Getty Images

Former American president Bill Clinton at the funeral of Martin McGuinness in March. Photograph: Ben Stansall/AFP/Getty Images


Bill Clinton is adding a new line to his resumé: novelist. The 42nd American president is teaming up with thriller writer James Patterson on The President Is Missing, which will hit bookshelves in June 2018.

The book is being jointly published by the two men’s respective publishers, Penguin Random House’s Knopf and Hachette’s Little, Brown, in an unusual alliance of rival companies.

It is being billed as “a unique amalgam of intrigue, suspense and behind-the-scenes global drama from the highest corridors of power. It will be informed by insider details that only a president can know”, the publishers said.

Financial terms were not disclosed. Knopf and Little, Brown hold the rights everywhere but the UK and Commonwealth countries, where the book will be published by Penguin Random House UK’s Century imprint.

Mr Clinton and Mr Patterson are both clients of Robert Barnett, the go-to Washington lawyer for power brokers seeking lucrative book deals. Barnett represented former president Barack Obama and his wife, Michelle, in their recent $65 million deal with Penguin Random House for their separate memoirs. He has also represented Hillary Clinton, George W Bush and his wife, Laura, Alan Greenspan and Tony Blair, among others.

His life

Mr Clinton has written a number of books, including a 2004 memoir, My Life, for which Knopf paid a $15 million advance – a record at the time, brokered by Mr Barnett.

“Working on a book about a sitting president – drawing on what I know about the job, life in the White House, and the way Washington works – has been a lot of fun,” Mr Clinton said.

Mr Patterson has sold more than 350 million books and holds the Guinness World Record for the most books to reach the New York Times bestseller list. He said working with Mr Clinton was “the highlight of my career”.

While Mr Patterson’s works have been criticised for being lowbrow thrillers, the author has frequently cited Mr Clinton’s appreciation for his series as proof of their merits.

The former president has a long-running love of crime fiction and has often cited his appreciation for Patterson’s Alex Cross series.

“I love these crime-fiction novels, I just devour them. I’ve got one with me all the time,” Mr Clinton told NBC News after leaving the White House.

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