Hope Never Dies by Andrew Shaffer
Reviewed by Chris, Librarian at Bridgewater Library
Do you like the Obama-Biden pictures from the halcyon days of 2016? Did you enjoy The Onion‘s stories of our 47th VPOTUS washing his Trans Am in the driveway? Then you should pick up Andrew Shaffer’s Hope Never Dies, starring Joseph Robinette “Amtrak Joe” Biden, Jr. as a former vice president who turns amateur detective when one of his old conductor buddies dies in a mysterious accident. His best buddy Barack Obama joins him for part of the quest, his unflappable cool contrasting Uncle Joe’s hotheaded urgency, as well as Steve, the long-suffering Secret Service agent. Biden is drawn into this loving sendup of pulp mysteries when the aforementioned conductor is found dead on the tracks with a slip of paper on his person with Biden’s home address written on it. The Veep goes both above and below the law trying to determine why a longtime train man would commit suicide by train, who the femme fatale in the motel room was, and why the FBI is trying to get involved.
It’s a pretty speedy read; not overtly political (though Shaffer-as-Biden do take a few digs at the current administration and its contrast to the Obama/Biden tenure); and really not as silly as one would expect from the cover (which shows the 44th president standing up dramatically while holding on to the T-top of Diamond Joe’s Thunderbird). There are touching elements of the bond between the two politicians, grit and dirt from Mid-Atlantic streets, and even some real-life elements of Biden’s past.