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A former US president becomes an action hero in Clinton and Patterson’s disappointing sequel to their bestseller The president has disappeared. President Matt Keating, who was vice president when his predecessor died of natural causes, orders an operation targeting an Islamist terrorist, Asim Al-Asheed, in his Libyan compound. Al-Asheed survives the attack, but his wife and three daughters are killed. In the next election cycle, Keating’s vice president, Pamela Barnes, successfully challenges him and is elected president. After Keating leaves the White House, Al-Asheed abducts Keating’s 19-year-old daughter, Melanie, while she is hiking in New Hampshire. Al-Asheed announces three conditions for Melanie’s safe return: the release of three of her comrades, a full pardon for crimes he may or may not have committed against Americans, and $100 million in bitcoins. Melanie’s mother, Samantha, becomes suspicious of President Barnes’ promises to do everything possible to save the teenager, and eventually Keating, a former Navy SEAL, must act on his own. The writers don’t sweat details (when Melanie is kidnapped, Keating and Samantha, who are in different places, don’t try to contact each other), and too many convenient coincidences propel the plot. Diehard Patterson fans will enjoy this one the best. Agents: Robert Barnett and Deneen Howell, Williams & Connolly. (June)

Reviewed on 05/07/2021 |

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Alycia R. Lindley