James Patterson’s famed co-author gambit has, by a large margin, scored its biggest name yet: former president Bill Clinton. In an announcement made Monday morning, Knopf Doubleday chairman Sonny Mehta and Hachette CEO Michael Pietsch confirmed that The President Is Missing, Clinton’s debut novel, will be published in June 2018. It’s described as “a unique amalgam of intrigue, suspense, and behind-the-scenes global drama from the highest corridors of power … that only a president can know.”
“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,” Clinton said in a statement. “And working with Jim has been terrific. I’ve been a fan of his for a very long time.” Patterson also chimed in, saying that collaborating with Clinton marks “the highlight” of his career. The official press release confirmed that this is the first time Patterson has worked with a president.
Patterson’s books have sold more than 1 million copies, and he has topped Forbes’ list of the highest-paid authors for three years running. In recent years, he has shrewdly started working with co-authors to improve sales and broaden his appeal. In one example, according to the New York Times, he invited Sweden’s best-selling crime writer Liza Marklund to work with him to boost his appeal in Scandinavia. Partnering with Clinton, however, is another thing entirely—and depending on the contents of the book, their collaboration could turn out to be Patterson’s most culturally relevant project in a long while. (No, the creepy children’s book he co-wrote with Bill O’Reilly doesn’t count.)
The President Is Missing will be jointly published by Little, Brown, and Company and Alfred Knopf. Clinton and Patterson will go on a national book tour next year.