Hope Never Dies from Andrew Shaffer was my antidote to last week’s fear and tragedy. It’s both mystery and humor, featuring fictional versions of Joe Biden and Barack Obama. If you like all the memes that feature the imagined tomfoolery of those two, you’ll enjoy this book.

Joe Biden is famous for riding Amtrak from his home in Wilmington, DE to Washington, DC while he was in the Senate. This forms the basis of the story. One of the conductors he came to know during this time dies in a tragic train crash. Our fictional Joe is distraught and just can’t let the death go uninvestigated, although police simply rule it a suicide.

Along for the ride is the 44th President and his main Secret Service agent, Steve. Shaffer also has a good time imagining the post-administration relationship between Biden and Obama. Are they still close? And what does Biden think about all of Obama’s post-presidency relaxation trips? Bromance moments abound!

My conclusions

At its heart, Hope Never Dies is a simple mystery with an engaging main character. The pace is quick, and very focused on solving the question at hand. Shaffer brings in relevant current affairs topics without making them distractions.

The political winks and nods effectively enhance the story. The plot has a twist or two, but mostly I just enjoyed the witty repartee between Obama and Biden, as well as Biden’s own quirky behaviors.

Earlier this year I read Biden’s recent memoir, Promise Me, Dad. It reveals plenty about his family and their lives, as well as his time as Vice President. One thing he talks about is comforting people in times of sorrow. Shaffer picked this part of the real Joe and gave it his own unique perspective.

It’s good to read a book that makes me laugh out loud. Most of my choices lately have had the opposite effect, so thanks Mr. Shaffer for some grins and chuckles. I’m giving this three and a half stars.