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Clinton-Patterson novel sells 250,000 copies its first week

Former President Bill Clinton, left, with author James

Former President Bill Clinton, left, with author James Patterson during an interview about their new novel, "The President Is Missing," in New York.  Photo Credit: AP / Bebeto Matthews

Bill Clinton’s debut novel had the year’s biggest opening so far for a work of fiction.

“The President Is Missing,” the thriller he co-wrote with James Patterson, sold 250,000 copies its first week. Alfred A. Knopf and Little, Brown and Co., the book’s co-publishers, announced Wednesday that the number includes hardcover, e-book and audio sales.

NPD BookScan, which tracks around 85 percent of print sales, reported sales of 152,000 copies. That’s BookScan’s top-selling fiction debut since the latest “Diary of a Wimpy Kid,” which came out last fall, and biggest first week for adult fiction since Harper Lee’s “Go Set a Watchman” sold more than 700,000 hardcover copies in 2015.

“The President Is Missing” was published June 4 and spent much of last week at No. 1 on and elsewhere. The novel begins with a president facing impeachment, for supporting terrorism, and tells of his efforts to thwart a potentially apocalyptic cyberattack.

The novel has been billed as combining Patterson’s long background in thrillers and Clinton’s unique perspective as a former president. Reviews ranged from mocking ("Reveals as many secrets about the U.S. government as ‘The Pink Panther’ reveals about the French government,” wrote The Washington Post’s Ron Charles) to admiring. 

Clinton and Patterson are set to appear June 28 at a sold-out event at Huntington's Book Revue.

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