Thursday, March 23, 2023

Hope Never Dies; an Obama Biden Mystery, by Andrew Shaffer

Okay, this was bizarre.  Kudos for the audacious premise:  Biden and Obama, after they're no longer in office, work together to solve a murder mystery.  Oh, and it's told in first person.  From Biden's point of view.  As I said:  bizarre.  And maybe not 100% ethical?  But I guess it's less wild than that Abraham Lincoln, Vampire Hunter book.

So, I enjoyed watching Obama act all cool and Biden bumble around a bit on his honorable quest to find justice and help a friend.  In a strange way, it made me feel like I knew our current president a bit better…even though at the same time I kept thinking, "The real Biden would never do this!"  Obviously I don't know Biden personally, so maybe he would  do those things, but some of the risks he took and decisions he made seemed unrealistic.  His speech was maybe a bit too full of down-home sayings and colorful similes—though taken individually, they felt right on, and I could hear Biden's voice saying them.  Maybe my biggest cringe was the way he kept using the term "best friend" and sulking about Obama not being his best friend anymore.  I loved the idea of him feeling left out, of wondering what had happened to their friendship (because we, the public, do love to speculate on whether they were really the friends they appeared to be), but I would have enjoyed it more if it were dealt with a little more subtly. 

The  mystery was fine.  I found some implausible bits in the plot, but they didn't bother me much—probably because the whole premise was implausible…in a rather fun way.   

For a book with such a premise, I expected it to be funnier, more spoof-life, but it took itself rather seriously.  There were funny bits, but I wouldn't really classify it as humor. 

Overall: enjoyable if you take it for what it is.  

More accurate rating: 3.5

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