The President Is Missing

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The President Is Missing Audiobook

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Review #1

The President Is Missing audiobook free

This is the kind of novel after you have read it you ask yourself if you should have read it or just continue to have your head buried in the sand. In October 2017 I read another novel like that.

If you haven’t read Blackout by Marc Elsberg , I suggest that you do so before you read this book. It was about computer crime related to power grids. It began in Italy but when it “crossed the pond” and arrived at Nuclear One near Russellville, Arkansas, it was a little too close for comfort – since I live just a little over a hour’s drive from there.

And now there is The President Is Missing. I don’t know what I expected but this wasn’t it. This is my first Patterson novel and, to be honest, I think I decided to read it because Bill Clinton, Arkansas’ politician extraordinaire, was the co-author even though I am not a fan. I think, however, you can see where his knowledge of the presidency was of great assistance.

A well-liked President who is a former Marine and a prisoner of war in Iraq, with an ultra-competent Chief of Staff , a Vice President who was his opponent for his party’s nomination, a Speaker of the House from the opposition party who is a pain in the President’s a _ _ (see Chapter 1), and a hemotologist that wants the President to follow her directions but can’t bring get him to do so, and a group of individuals the President trusts and who he brings into his confidence.

The President has recently lost his wife to cancer, his only child, a daughter, is in Paris studying at Sorbonne, and he is dealing with an exacerbation of a blood disease that comes on him occasionally and all but renders him useless. Then comes a look at any President’s greatest fear, a peekaboo computer virus that is very dangerous.

It’s not there long enough for anything to be done about it but long enough for those who have the technological knowledge to know it’s dangerous. Then the President gets a message that was delivered to his daughter in Paris that has to have come from one of his trusted advisors. What is he to do?

Since, as Harry Truman was careful to point out when he was POTUS, the buck stops with the President. He must make the final decisions in matters of national importance. What kind of decision is a President who is not technologically proficient to make? President Duncan devises a plan that upsets the entire country and has the news hounds guessing what is happening.

Will the President’s plan work? Can the President and his team stop this menace? They know that someone who has access to the inner-working of the President’s top 8 advisors has leaked information to one of the individuals who planted the virus. But who planted it and how can they stop it before it does real damage, reveal the traitor, keep his blood disease from killing him, and prove to his political enemies that he was not “consorting with the enemy.”

This novel has insights into things with which a President must deal and the difficulty finding individuals he can trust. I’m sure there are a lot of young men and women today who dream of becoming President of the United States but I think a lot of them will change their minds if they read this book and realize the nature of a President’s daily existence – I would not call it a life because forever after there will be the ever present Secret Service and the “fourth estate,” and no enjoyment of the simple pleasures of life before the Presidency.

I happen to know that while she was growing up, Gov. Bill Clinton used to take Chelsea to climb Pinnacle Mountain on the weekend. This would not have been a father/daughter outing once he became President and he will never get to do such a simple thing with his grandchildren.. He even jogged around Little Rock. When he became President this meant tying up traffic and holding people up from getting to their jobs – ask me how I know this.

I left my office – on foot, as usual – one morning to walk the two blocks to the Post Office to get our mail, and as I crossed the street I had to hesitate because of a jogger in my path. I said hello and was ignored. I realized after that it was Vice President Gore. I don’t know whether he wasn’t allowed to say hello to me or whether he was just that unfriendly. I do remember wondering why I was permitted to get that close to him, but have no answer for that.

At any rate, this takes Blackout further and opens up a whole new look at what goes on behind the scene in the Presidency and forces us to take a look at our dependence on computers and the internet (which, if you recall, Al Gore said he invented) for everything we do.

Review #2

The President Is Missing audiobook Series

Let me just start off by saying that I first encountered this book at a local barnes & noble (Where it was being sold for full sticker price) I read the first 3 chapters or so of the book and was hooked, so I went home and ordered it on amazon where it was substantially cheaper. I’ve been reading it rather intensely the past few days. While the book is certainly captivating, it loses steam towards the end and descends into a series of completely illogical plot twists that will leave the informed reader disappointed with the book’s conclusion. At this point people who don’t want spoilers should stop reading, but if you want to do more than take my word for it, a more detailed review is below.

Let’s begin at the beginning, the book starts off with an initial encounter in a simulation of a series of impeachment hearings (I wonder who wrote this part..) that are later revealed to be just an exercise. The stage is set very nicely here, where all of the characters with a little bit of depth are introduced in a nice manner. Suspense is building as the main villain, Suliman Cindoruk, was apparently contacted directly by the president in an attempt to stop a plot known internally as “Dark Ages” which is later revealed to be a sophisticated computer virus. In the beginning the paint is obvious, however the main villain is never really developed much as a character. We get some allusion to his large financial gains, his hedonistic lifestyle, and more (it’s obvious we aren’t meant to like him) but beyond disliking him, there isn’t much to suggest he’s a maniacal person seeking to overthrow the world order, and what motivations he might have beyond simply being a terrorist. For most people this is probably a little to nitpicky, so I’ll be sticking to broader points in the next section.

As the plot moves forward the president decides to operate from a remote area in Virginia, with a limited security detail so as not to attract attention. We are introduced to the so-called “best computer experts” the country has, who for some reason never come up with the idea that the computer virus can simply be tricked into thinking there’s nothing left to wipe on a PC, and therefore just decides to shut itself off. This overly convenient plot moment drives several chapters worth of suspense as the team fails after iteration upon iteration to replicate the virus through reverse-engineering it. This part here isn’t difficult to buy, as it seems standard to want to take it apart to see how it works in order to find a solution. For reasons unexplained, when running their trials on new computers, the team decides to use their reverse-engineered copy of the virus rather than using an actual copy of it. Perhaps they would be afraid that copying the virus from an actually infected computer would somehow detonate it, a reasonable concern, and they didn’t have any sacrificial computers they were able to lose in this attempt. None of this is explained to the reader, but it could also simply be a lack of obvious creativity. Furthermore, the virus, by design, is doomed to fail from the start by design.

The final chapters of the book are probably the most underwhelming, because of one simple thing: a password. For some reason, Nina, the virus’ architect, decides that a failsafe key should be offered up as a way out of deploying the virus completely, and it has a 30-minute timer on it (how convenient). Predictably the team solves it with not much time to spare, but the entire device of using a keyword flies in the face of everything we know about these characters. Nina is beyond sophisticated in her skills, so sophisticated that the entire DoD staff and presidential team had weeks to discover it but were unable to for some reason. Once the virus is accidentally triggered by an attempt to remove it (the deletion thing didn’t end up working) the virus reveals itself to have a keyword to shut it off. The president and his team after this reveal immediately start guessing random passwords that seem to make sense all in vain. This step in particular is unbelievable from a technical standpoint, as it ignores the rather high probability that the virus would detonate itself upon too many wrong guesses. Much like how we have to call customer service after we type in a wrong password too many times in an attempt to retrieve it in vain, someone as sophisticated as Nina could have easily triggered a detonation after a number of attempts, and would have been smart to do so in order to ensure an even greater need for her leverage (the keyword itself). None of the technical experts in the room ever consider this, which makes absolutely no sense given that they all are supposed to be the “best of the best.” Sure it might be plausible that under the circumstances everyone rushes to do the exact wrong thing, but it seems laughably unrealistic given all of the character development that ocurred so far. This password mechanic in and of itself introduces a gaping logic error in Nina’s (who we are made to believe is an incredibly intelligent woman) thinking. If the keyword was allowed to be guessed with unlimited attempts, then her leverage never really existed. Brute force software is relatively commonplace in the world, and is used to guess passwords by randomly entering strings of characters into a text box until it opens. Governments ostensibly would have access to such software, and the vast computing power needed to make it efficient. However, even though the president seemingly brings this up, he is told it would take too long to setup and deploy to working on the password (which is complete nonsense). Because she decided to hinge the fate of the US on a password, her plan was doomed from the start because of course people would be able to figure it out in a 30 minute timeframe, that was never in any doubt by anyone. This double whammy of the timer and password makes no sense, and leaves the ending of the book feeling overly contrived and lacking in detail.

Review #3

Audiobook The President Is Missing by Bill Clinton

James Patterson is one of my favorite authors and pairing with former President Clinton was a great idea. The insights into the behind the scenes problems in the government were eye-opening and the very real possibility of what could happen as portrayed in this book was frightening. I’ve given it to others as a gift and I’ve recommended it to many of my friends.

Review #4

Audio The President Is Missing narrated by Dennis Quaid

A rollercoaster ride over a long weekend when the very existence of everything American faces a cyber-threat of such magnitude it will return the country to the ‘dark ages’. This key word is known only to POTUS and his six closest aides: the NSA head, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs, the Secretary of Defense, the CIA director, the secretary of homeland security and the Vice President – and yet… someone has leaked this trigger to the enemy.

President Jonathan Duncan is facing a select committee hearing. The Speaker of the house seems determined to have him impeached for allegedly having a ‘phone conversation with the world’s most wanted terrorist – Suliman Cindoruk. POTUS invokes executive privilege. Why? For reasons only known to himself the president leaves the White House, his covert departure known only to his oldest friend and White House counsel, Danny Akers. The president is missing. Speculation as to why leads to a media frenzy. No-one knows where he is or what his intention is. But what faces the USA is certain destruction of everything dependent on the internet – and in this day and age that means – everything. And this book is truly unputdownable…

I have read some ridiculous comments about this book. Why? Because Bill Clinton is a co-author? Really? What happens when two highly intelligent individuals cooperate on a political thriller (and I say that without prejudice) results in a story so riveting, so breathtaking, so pulse-racing, that took me behind the machinations of US politics into a world of subterfuge and nail-biting tension.

Review #5

Free audio The President Is Missing – in the audio player below

Dull, cliched nonsense. There’s nothing new here, no amazing insights into the life of a president that you won’t already know if you read a newspaper from time to time.

A ridiculous plot that’s full of holes. The President is supposed to be dangerously ill but there’s no mention of the illness for the second half of the book (while he’s personally derailing a major terrorism attack). The plot has the President ordering the secret service to let him leave the White House secretly to meet a terrorist at a baseball game! Insane. Its like Bill Clinton spin a fantasy about what he wishes he’d been like as President, they got an intern to write the book and just banked the royalties. Really poor

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