Tuesday, December 31, 2019

Literally the Best Reviews: Hope Never Dies

Hope Never Dies - Andrew Shaffer
Quirk Books
304 Pages

Good satire is hard to find. Far too often newer pieces of satire end up being personal attacks on someone. Rare is the one that can make fun of the subject matter and still come out positive at the end. Hope Never Dies by Andrew Shaffer fulfills this splendidly. Making this short novel even better are the memes that came out about the Obama/Biden bromance a couple years ago. This novel directly plays upon many of the subjects touched upon in those memes.

In his new life after leaving the Vice Presidency, Joe Biden seems to have an aimless existence, catering to his wife while simultaneously trying to avoid her. When his favorite railroad conductor dies under mysterious circumstances and Biden’s number in his pocket, it sets off an adventure for the truth. As he starts to follow a trail of tantalizing clues, Biden’s best friend joins in to lend assistance -- Barack Obama. Together, Obama and Biden follow those clues to seedy biker bars and no-tell motels and undercover secret drug rings.

This mystery/ thriller is written with tongue firmly in cheek. President Obama comes off as too cool for anyone around him, using that hipness to get to the bottom of things. Meanwhile, Joe Biden’s bumbling, grandfatherly ways stumble into more problems than solutions, which his best buddy, Barack, has to bail him out. His constant need for affirmation from Obama drives much of the narrative and slips very nicely into the barrage of those Obama-Biden memes. It is wonderfully done.

Let me state right here that this book is silly. It’s supposed to be. It’s not to be taken seriously, and should be read with a grain of salt and a grin on your face. Reading should be fun, and this book is definitely fun. Put your petty political beliefs aside and enjoy a rolicking adventure.

The characters in this book may be recognizable because of their status in American history, but these are definitely two characters written in a highly stereotypical way. Sometimes these guys read as we think they would actually be in their private lives away from the cameras. Mostly this is Barack Obama and Joe Biden thrust into the roles of Felix Unger and Oscar Madison rolled into a Sherlock Holmes and James Watson crime fighting duo.

I had a lot of fun reading this book. You have to suspend disbelief while reading this one. It’s nothing serious, and should be a quick break from all that cerebral reading that you’re used to. Take some time and give it a chance. You might even laugh out loud while reading. 

Andrew Shaffer has said he’s planning a series around this idea. I’m not sure how long he’ll be able to string this along, but I have already purchased the second book in the series, Hope Rides Again. I guess we’ll see if the magic can continue for Joe and Barack. 

Craig Bacon once had a detective agency with his cousin when they were early teens. They were not as cool as Barack or Joe.