Yesterday I was browsing Barnes & Noble. My barrage of midterm grading was finally behind me and I was enjoying an afternoon of meandering with nothing much to do (until chaperoning the Homecoming Dance last night). I glanced down at a table of new paperbacks and saw a cover, reminiscent of a pulp noir novel, featuring Barack Obama and Joe Biden riding in a car. Then I took in the title – Hope Never Dies: An Obama/Biden Mystery. ARE YOU KIDDING ME?!? I can’t remember the last time I bought a book, drove home, and immediately started reading it. But no other plans could compete with this and if it wasn’t for the previously mentioned dance, I’d’ve finished it one sitting. This isn’t an analysis nor a review, not traditionally at least. To paraphrase Ron Burgundy, I got excited. I just wanted to…shout it from the top of a mountain. But I didn’t have a mountain. I had this blog. Look, I write about comics, that’s what I do. And today’s top story, in Michael Miller’s world read something like this – I love Andrew Schaffer’s Hope Never Dies and this needs to become a long-lived series!
As if the cover wasn’t enough to sell me, when I flipped to the back of the novel I read, “This mystery thriller reunites Vice President Joe Biden and President Barack Obama for a political mashup full of suspense, intrigue, and laugh out loud bromance. Vice President Joe Biden is fresh out of the Obama White House and feeling adrift when his favorite railroad conductor dies in a suspicious accident, leaving behind an ailing wife and a trail of clues. To unravel the mystery, ‘Amtrak Joe’ re-teams with the only man he’s ever fully trusted – the 44th president of the United States. Together they’ll plumb the darkest corners of Delaware, traveling from cheap motels to biker bars and beyond, as they uncover the sinister forces advancing America’s opioid epidemic. Part noir thriller and part bromance novel, Hope Never Dies is essentially the first published work of Obama/Biden fanfiction – and a cathartic read for anyone distressed by the current state of affairs.”
I…it’s just…it’s everything I wanted it to be and more. And I had no idea this was a thing, hence this post. I wanted to do my part to let the world know this exists because EVERYONE SHOULD READ THIS BOOK. Full disclosure, I’m not even finished with it myself but the thought of not immediately doing all I could to shine my little light on such a fun novel just seemed wrong.
As the book cover and the excerpts of critical praise within promise, it’s this brilliant genre mashup of noir mystery, action/thriller, and hilarious bromantic adventure. As promised, I’ve already laughed out loud several times. One of the novel’s (many) particular strokes of brilliance is in using Joe Biden and Barack Obama as the stars, two people who were so prominent in our cultural spotlight for eight years, it’s so easy to see them in these scenarios, to hear their voices when you read these lines. And because of the mythos we, as a people, built around them the idea of them solving mysteries is not entirely implausible either. Obviously this is a work of fiction. No one’s pretending otherwise. But we looked to them as these larger-than-life characters for so long, two men who were going to save us from so much more than any elected official ever could. They were only ever human but we saw them, almost immediately, as the stuff of legend. So the idea of them solving crimes in their spare time feels like it fits. Solving crimes, even with no detective/law enforcement background between them, is just something we think they could do. If Obama and Biden can’t save the day, then who can?? This makes the novel all the more fun.
Move over Sherlock Holmes, Hercule Poirot, Ms. Marple, and Sam Spade – Obama and Biden have arrived.
I’d write more but a) I’d rather be reading instead of writing, b) I haven’t finished it so I don’t have anything else to say, c) I think your time would be FAR better spent reading that instead of reading this, and d) I’d rather be reading instead of writing. Thank you Andrew Shaffer for giving me what I didn’t even know I needed. Hope Never Dies: An Obama/Biden Mystery awaits! So I’m off to the wonderful embrace of a fun new novel people. I hope your day is every bit as magically perfect as mine will be.
Also, Jeff, don’t read this post because I’m getting this for you for Christmas. If you read this, want to read it yourself, and even get it…then you’ve ruined both the surprise and the gift idea. Don’t be that guy.