Book Review: Hope Never Dies

Taking a short break from Feminist January to bring you an inauguration-related book: Hope Never Dies, “an Obama-Biden Mystery” by Andrew Shaffer. I read this right before the inauguration, but I hesitated to write or post until we knew that everything had gone smoothly.

If you’re looking for a little comic relief, you should absolutely pick this up. The whole concept is hilarious—Biden is bored after the 2016 election and irritated at Obama for going off on various adventures without inviting him. Then Obama shows up with some information about the death of an Amtrak conductor (of COURSE it’s an Amtrak conductor), and they’re off on their amateur sleuthing.

This is one of those ideas that could have totally fallen flat, but Shaffer really makes it work. It is extremely silly (in the best way) without seeming like a high-school class project. I don’t want to say too much about what happens, because part of the amusement comes from reading these absurd scenarios for the first time. The post-presidency tension between Biden and Obama is a major theme in the book (happily resolved in the end, in case you were worried), and that drives some of the funniest moments, perhaps because it’s so unusual to imagine the details of the personal friendship between two world leaders.

Shaffer has written a few more of these, and I’m not sure whether I’ll read them—I don’t know if the concept is enough to sustain multiple books. But this one cracked me up, and I definitely recommend it.

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