Bill Clinton Teams With James Patterson to Write First Novel

The President is Missing Cover by Bill Clinton and James Patterson - Publicity - P 2017

The biggest summer blockbuster of 2018 might just be a book.

Former President Bill Clinton is writing his first novel in collaboration with prolific best-selling author James Patterson. The President Is Missing will be released in June 2018 and is being jointly published by Alfred A. Knopf, Clinton’s publisher, and Hachette, Patterson’s publisher. The deal was announced by Knopf Doubleday chairman Sonny Mehta and Hachette CEO Michael Pietsch in a joint statement.

Beyond the title, details on the plot are scarce. The president at the center of the story, which is pitched in the announcement as featuring “a unique amalgam of intrigue, suspense and behind-the-scenes global drama from the highest corridors of power,” is a completely fictional invention of the authors. (No word yet on whether that’s a Mrs. President is missing or a Mr. President is missing).

“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,” said Clinton in the statement. “And working with Jim has been terrific. I’ve been a fan of his for a very long time.” The former president has long been known as a voracious reader of thrillers and mysteries, including Patterson’s books.

Patterson added, “I’m a storyteller, and President Clinton’s insight has allowed us to tell a really interesting one. It’s a rare combination — readers will be drawn to the suspense, of course, but they’ll also be given an inside look into what it’s like to be President.” He called working with Clinton “the highlight of my career.”

When the book publishes the pair plan to go on a national book tour and do interviews to promote it

Hachette's Pietsch, who is jointly editing the book with Mehta, said in the statement that the pages he has read so far are “riveting” and “full of intricate plotting and detail.” He called it a “blockbuster collaboration. He added, “This is a book that promises to entertain and delight millions of readers around the world, and we are thrilled to be working on it together and with our esteemed houses supporting us.”

Knopf and Hachette acquired world rights excluding the United Kingdom and Commonwealth, where it will be published by Century, which also holds European English rights.

Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed. Clinton and Patterson are both represented by Washington lawyer Robert Barnett, a partner at Williams & Connolly.