In this Monday, May 21, 2018, photo, former President Bill Clinton, left, and author James Patterson speak during an interview about their new novel, "The President is Missing," in New York. (AP Photo/Bebeto Matthews)

WHITE PLAINS, N.Y. (AP) - The book is officially fiction: the story of a president who disappears as he tries to prevent an apocalyptic cyberattack.

The authors, Bill Clinton[1] and James Patterson[2], swear it could happen.

“You’re asking the Secret Service, in effect, to walk away from their duty,” the former president said during a recent interview at the Ritz-Carlton Hotel as he and Patterson[3] discussed “The President Is Missing,” the thriller they worked on together that comes out this week. “(But) it could happen. If you were determined to do it, you could do it.”

“A big piece of it (the novel) was getting him out of the White House,” Patterson[4] said. “It would be irresponsible, but under the circumstances it was the responsible thing to do.”

Prodded to collaborate by Washington[5] attorney Robert Barnett, who handles book deals for both of them, Clinton[6] and Patterson[7] drew on their respective backgrounds in completing a 500-page novel that topped Amazon’s best-seller list before publication. Patterson[8] is among the world’s most popular and prolific fiction writers, and the novel is a characteristically fast-paced narrative, with brief chapters and dramatic plot turns.

Clinton[9], a newcomer to novel writing whose previous books include the million-selling autobiography “My Life,” didn’t need a lot of research to tell readers what it’s like to sit inside the White House Situation Room or to be briefed on a possible terrorist attack, or to imagine slipping away entirely.

“Jim wanted it to be authentic,” Clinton[10] said. “Which means: A, the physical setting has to be authentic. B, the procedures had to be authentic, and the interplay between the president and the staff and all the world leaders and everything had to have the feel of reality, and even how the Secret Service works.”

The novel has received blurbs from Mary Higgins Clark, Walter Mosley and even “Hamilton” author Ron Chernow. The historian told The Associated Press in a recent email that he was initially “dubious” about the project, but was impressed by the “stylistic blend” of the two authors.

“I have to assume that the crisp pacing comes from Patterson[11], but there is no doubt that the authenticity of the abundant detail owes a great deal to Clinton[12]’s years in the White House,” Chernow wrote. “The book has a knowing, inside feel.”...

Readers may be surprised to see one experience Clinton[13] knows of well turn up in the novel - impeachment, as faced by President Jonathan Lincoln Duncan, whose foes allege he endangered national security. The story line will surely revive an historic low point of his White House years, when he was impeached in 1998 by the House of Representatives, but acquitted by the Senate, on charges stemming

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