Wednesday, December 26, 2018

Guest Post: Jeanne and Airport Books II: Hope Never Dies by Andrew Shaffer

Jeanne is back with another installment.... 

Airport Books II:  Hope Never Dies by Andrew Shaffer

This book has one of those covers that catches the eye:  there is former president Barack Obama standing up in a convertible pointing ahead while Joe Biden is behind the wheel.  My first thought was, What the heck is this?  Even reading the jacket copy wasn’t quite enough to convince me.  As a rule, I’m not fond of mysteries (or other fiction, for that matter) which use celebrities or other notables as characters; I find myself regarding every action with suspicion.  Would Grover Cleveland really have done that?

My reservations were allied in great part by Kristin’s review at our bookblog     so I tucked a copy in my suitcase for airport reading.

The book opens with Biden at loose ends.  His job has ended, Barak is off wind-surfing with Bradley Cooper, Jill has her own work schedule—and so Joe is trying to figure out what to do next.  Truth to tell, he’s also feeling more than a little left out.  He thought he and Barack were buddies and now, well, it appears that Obama has moved on and left Joe behind. Then, Obama shows up with his Secret Service agent, Steve, to tell Joe that Finn Donnelly,  his favorite Amtrak conductor back from the days when Joe used to commute from Delaware to Washington  has been found dead, presumably by suicide.  The worrisome thing is that he had a map with Joe’s house marked on it.  Could it be part of some sort of plot?

Joe has a hard time with the information, mostly because he doesn’t believe that Finn would have committed suicide.  With nothing else on his agenda, Joe decides to investigate, despite Barack’s injunctions to leave it to the police.

This was not an airport book.  It was way too fun.

Somehow Shaffer did capture the public personas of these two and made a buddy picture—er, book—out of it.  Joe is impulsive and big-hearted, an everyman.  Barack is serious and prone to lapse into lecture mode at the drop of a hat. Steve is stoic, which is good because he bears the brunt of most of the shenanigans.  Funny, breezy, and cheerful, Hope Never Dies doesn’t take itself too seriously.  Oh, and there is indeed a mystery with an interesting solution.

There’s to be a sequel, Hope Rides Again.  I’m ready for another road trip!

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