Hope Never Dies

Pub Date:   |   Archive Date: 14 Jun 2019

Member Reviews

This won't win any awards for great writing, but it's loads of fun and a better story than I was expecting. Were our heroes two random fellows rather than our former President and Vice President, I'd likely be more critical of the loopy, predictable plot and sometimes-clunky writing. But as Obama/Biden fanfic, it actually plays really well. 

While the buddy comedy vibe is strong, I'm not sure I buy all the inadequacy issues driving Biden's inner monologues. A little of that provides a nice humanizing touch, but this was laid on a little thick. 

Still, it's a much better story than I expected, and it's cute, likeable, and funny. And of course, who doesn't love the idea of Obama and Biden as action heroes? This is some solid, campy fun.
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Andrew Shaffer had a very funny idea. Why not write a mystery with Barack Obama and Joe Biden as amateur detectives? If you’ve ever seen some of the Obama-Biden “bromance” memes (click here for a few), you’ll know this pair has plenty of rapport to wrap around a good story line. Who better to solve a mystery than the former President and Vice President of the United States?

The story begins soon after the 2016 election. Obama has adjusted nicely to a new life filled with adventure. He’s windsurfing, kayaking and hanging out with celebrities. But Biden is at loose ends and is a little stung by Obama’s new life and friends. “Why doesn’t Barack ever call me, his best friend?” he wonders.

The pair reconnects when Biden’s favorite train conductor dies under suspicious circumstances. “Amtrak Joe” senses there is more to the story. Biden has been a regular on Amtrak for decades and he knows that Finn Donnelly was a good, family man. But questions arise when Obama shares what police know. Could there be a national security interest at stake? Is Donnelly’s death connected to opioid trafficking?

Biden takes the lead and jumps straight into the case in his full-force, pantser style. And before long, Obama and his cool and calm self are part of the team. As the pair bumbles through their undercover investigation, in caps and shades, it becomes clear that this case is big and that not everyone is on the same team. Can the Obama-Biden team sort it out?

I thoroughly enjoyed imagining Obama and Biden as they adjust to their new lives as regular citizens. And seeing them operate as amateur detectives makes for many hilarious scenarios. Shady characters and a few false leads make the mystery an enjoyable puzzle to solve and, while the crimes and consequences reflect grim problems, the story is light and great fun to read.

I recommend Hope Never Dies to all readers. It is pure entertainment, with a few political jabs and a lot of laughs.
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BEST BOOK EVER! This was just such a funny read! Shaffer is a great writer! I'm so glad I was able to read this before he comes for an event at my store! Highly recommend!
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Hope Never Dies has a delightful premise, amusingly and cleverly executed. I loved the cover--it made me smile--and the book had many passages that made me chuckle. I thought the voices and personalities of former Vice President Biden and former President Obama were lovingly captured--or, at least, reflected what we think we know (or would like to think is true) about their personalities and relationship. I'm a huge fan of both of them, and this time spent with the imaginary versions of them was enjoyable and rather comforting--kind of took me back to a happier time. A perfect light read for the summer!
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Don't know about you, but when I see the occasional news story about former President Obama and his Vice President Joe Biden getting together at some public event, I feel a sentiment akin to that which used to accompany rumors of a Beatles reunion--an intense longing for the good old days. And, really, what's not to like about two guys whom you can trust who led the free world but are also genuine friends who also remind us of a time when the world made sense? 

Sigh . . . I really miss those guys.

So, I had to request an ARC copy of Hope Never Dies which puts Obama and Biden at the heart of a mystery involving the death of an AMTRAK conductor whom Biden had befriended during his Senate commuter days. Biden is feeling a bit left out of Obama's post-presidency celebrity lifestyle when Barack shows up with a clue that puts them in the middle of a whodunit that involves drug running, an outlaw motorcycle club, and a much put upon Secret Service agent named Steve who repeatedly finds himself on the receiving end of Biden's impulsive decision making.

The result is a laugh aloud farce that puts Obama and Biden in situations that require action hero antics. No literary classic but a fun read--maybe even enough to tide us over until 2020.

Full Disclosure--Net Gallery and the publisher provided me with a digital ARC of this book. This is my honest review.
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I'm a big fan of the Sherlock Holmes/Watson relationship and stories. This is a fun modern spin but with more of focus on Biden, maybe a closer comparison is Archie Goodwin/Nero Wolfe. I'd recommend it for anyone that enjoys mysteries and wistfully remembers the days of Obama/Biden as a golden age as compared to the dark ages we have been beset with thanks to help from Putin and Co.
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This book is awesome!  There are no other words to describe it!  It is just what you would think, a fun and campy read!  Perfect for summer!  And I loved the cover!
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Barack Obama and Joe Biden may have retired from their most famous positions. However, if Andrew Shaffer’s story is to be believed, this famous pair remain active in the Washington DC area, not as politicians, but as private investigators.

Biden’s favorite Amtrak Conductor has died in a tragic accident. The police are content with calling it an accident; Biden is less convinced.

Obama and Biden’s investigation will take them from Amtrak stations to Wilmington, DE, to the somewhat hidden hangout of the Marauders outlaw bike gang. With the assistance of a Secret Service Agent assigned to protect Obama and an undercover DEA Agent, the team follows the clues to discover the truth.

Shaffer’s story is as inviting as it is exciting. The story has the feel of historical fiction, yet is written in the contemporary era — well-done.

Shaffer’s Obama says he is done with serving as a PI, but this reader hopes that Shaffer and Obama will change their minds — allowing Biden and Obama to again team up and work together to solve a crime that the police have ignored or have chosen to pursue the wrong suspect; together, Biden and Obama will choose to make justice right again.

For the characters, the plot, and the setting, it is easy to make this a 5-star review.
______________
This review is based on a free electronic copy provided by the publisher for the purpose of creating this review. The opinions expressed are mine alone.
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"It's a tiny bit ridiculous. But is it any more ridiculous than the real-life political events of the past year? Or the real-life newspaper headlines from the past week? Given a chance between the insane fantasies of Hope Never Dies or the insane realities of Washington DC in 2018, I know how I'm casting my ballot."

I feel like this bit from the introduction just describes this book perfectly. Is it ridiculous? Yes. Is it basically published Obama-Biden fanfiction that starts with Biden moping around his house basically yelling 'senpai won't notice me anymore'? Yes. Is it hilarious yet also weirdly inspiring despite [or possibly because of] all that? Definitely yes! And really I think we could all use a laugh at this point. 

There are possibly times where you might stop and go, 'wait, Obama/Biden wouldn't really do that' but overall it's just a really fun read and I think it's pretty easy to just go with it for the most part. The ~hard-boiled detective~ genre isn't usually my cup of tea, but I still really enjoyed the unique spin this put on it and it was a lot of fun to read.

I received an ARC copy of this book from NetGalley.
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Thank you so, so much to the publisher and to NetGalley for the ARC of this much-pined-for title.  It didn't disappoint!  
This is an entertaining cosy crime novel that would be perfect as a mood-boosting title for any depressed liberal, or just human being who misses a time when the American president could speak in full sentences.  The witty banter and touching relationship between Obama and Biden is really special, both on the page in this story and in real life.  
It gave me lots of feels.  A lot of emotions, and a lot of laughter.  And, especially toward the end, I couldn't put it down, the sign of a really good mystery.  I can't wait for the next instalment (please let there be a next instalment!).
My only gripe would be that Biden should be driving the car as he's the main character, and a completely charming one at that!
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For those of you going through the seven stages of grief with me since last January, I give you a book that may lighten your load and remind you of the days when we had a real administration, not the dumpster fire we’ve got now. I give you the first Obama/Biden mystery, Hope Never Dies, by Andrew Shaffer.

Joe Biden isn’t enjoying the post-White House life (but seriously, who is?). He’s puttering around the house, and getting mopier and upset because his buddy, Barack, is out there having fun, loving life, and taking a long-needed vacation. He’s on Branson’s yacht, he’s hanging with Bradley Cooper, but has Joe’s phone buzzed even once? What happened to their bromance?

Just when Joe is about to give in to ennui, a mystery lands in his lap. One of his favorite Amtrak conductors, Finn, has turned up dead in a highly suspect accident. “Amtrak Joe” launches his own investigation, trying to get to the bottom of the death and keep his friend’s name clean. Who ends up along for the ride? Why, who else? Number 44 himself, riding in Michelle’s Escalade, affectionately named “The Little Beast”. But this ain’t no love in, no sir: Joe’s conflicted as all hell, because Barack just has this way of showing up, like Joe was pining away for him (yes, he was, but still), and he’s supposed to just pick up where things left off? Joe knows Wilmington, Delaware, and Obama’s got access to the Beast and the extra muscle, so the two are off together to repair their friendship and solve a mystery. Happy Days are here again!

Hope Never Dies is – as I just learned from visiting Andrew Shaffer’s website – the first in a new Obama-Biden series of mysteries. I cannot explain the joy this news gave me, and I hope this joy spreads to you, dear readers. Is it presidential fan fiction? You freaking bet it is, and it is the grilled cheese sandwich and tomato soup that my soul needed. Shaffer gives us a story that’s part cozy mystery, part noir thriller, with Biden as first-person narrator so that we can hear Uncle Joe talk to us, Sam Spade-like. We get a murder mystery with biker gangs, drugs, and a friendship gone wrong all in one compulsively readable book.

What didn’t I love? I would have liked Biden’s dumped teen angst to have been resolved a little sooner. I liked his introspection and awareness of his age – sometimes, your body just won’t do what you want it to do after a while, and it sucks. (11 pm bedtime, I’m’ looking at you.) I liked his being put out over Obama’s nonchalance, but would have liked more Riggs and Murtaugh; another reason I’m psyched for future installments is to recall the Obama-Biden bromance that sustained me for eight years. Inspired by Sherlock and Watson, Obama can come off a bit robotic at times, but I’m hoping he’ll warm up as the two take on their next adventure. There’s some Hillary humor, and a couple of shots at the new administration, that I would love to see more of, but most of all, I just want JoeBama to take on their next case.

So what’s the overall feeling on Hope Never Dies? Get off Twitter, stop watching the news, get this book in hand, and enjoy it. It’s exactly what you need these days.
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This was actually a pretty good mystery, and I think I would have liked it even more if it hadn’t featured Joe Biden and Barack Obama in their fictional forms. This was fan fiction, pure and simple, and while it was funny for a few chapters, it quickly became boring. Still, a cute read, and it was nice to escape from our current political situation, even if just for 300 pages.

I felt like “Joe Biden” was pretty recognizable as, well, Joe Biden (Ray Bans, polo shirts, I don’t know if he actually likes muscle cars or if that’s something Shaffer made up??), but I felt like Barack Obama’s fictionalized version was just... off. Despite this being marketed as a bromance, “Biden” spends most of the book being angsty and missing his/Obama’s time in the White House, and there was very little actual bromance in this. Also, the story is told in first-person from “Biden’s” perspective, and while it was fun to watch him throw shade at the Trump administration and Fox News, I really could have done without the political commentary. A lot of “Biden’s” internal conflict stems from his thinking about whether he should run in 2020 and whether he made a mistake by not running in 2016. Since real-life Biden may or may not still re-enter politics, I found it kind of odd and off-putting that Shaffer was speculating about these things from “Biden’s” perspective.

The mystery was pretty great, and I didn’t see some of the plot twists coming. Shaffer is a talented writer, and the prose and dialogue nearly never came across as stilted or unnatural. But I started to like this book less and less as the story went on and we get more into “Biden’s” internal state, and I feel like this might have been a much better book if it were about entirely fictional people. I think the idea of an ex-VP becoming an amateur sleuth after leaving office is pretty cool, but doing this idea with Obama and Biden—who are real and alive people—comes with a ton of baggage that just weighed the story down and turned it into laughable fan fiction instead of a more engaging story.
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A fun read for anyone missing the Obama years.  Joe and Barak engage in a high stakes pursuit of possible drug dealers while dealing with the realities of no longer running a nation.  Are they looking for problems that aren't there as a way to cope with their now boring lives, or is there a sinister plot underfoot?  A must read for the end of the summer.
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I have always wanted to read a book in which Barack Obama and Joe Biden team up to solve a mystery. I just didn't know it until I saw this book. 

It was exactly the bittersweet catharsis I'd hoped, although Obama's character wasn't as recognizable as I would have wished. I think he's warmer than the reserved version described here. Joe's pretty great, though, if a little bit overly emotional. The mystery itself is perfectly serviceable, too. I'll read the sequel if there is one.

I received a copy of this ebook from the publisher in exchange for my honest review.
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I can’t say I was much of a fan of the Obama Presidency on a whole, even knowing what the current situation has brought us.  But I did think Obama was a good dude, and the whole “Uncle Joe Biden” persona that kind of got cultivated in popular culture certainly amused me.  So when I saw that there was a murder mystery starring Joe Biden trying to solve the murder of his favorite train conductor, and post-presidency Barack featured heavily?  Yeah, I’ll give it a look. 

The good news is that it starts out as goofy as you’d imagine, and the charm that is laid on thick during the opening scenes of this book is crucial, as the book unfortunately devolves into a bit of a formulaic mystery noir without a ton of heart or character.  The novelty quickly becomes secondary to a story that is only really interesting because of the novelty, and it leads to what is ultimately a bit of a disappointment. 

My expectations were not especially high, and this was serviceable enough.  It just should have been more.
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Highly entertaining 

3.5 stars 

I started this book expecting tongue in cheek humor and that's exactly what I got. Not sure why anyone would have expected anything different. There were a couple errors and inconsistencies but I've kinda come to expect that with the way things are edited now.
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Did you say Obama and Biden crime mystery? Sign me up! Hope Never Dies is pure fan fiction, following a retired Joe Biden as he comes to grips with life after vice presidency. It's been over six months since he left the White House and he's no longer in receipt of a Secret Service detail. It feels like every day the news is full of Obama and his shiny new celeb friends. Has Joe been forgotten?

An Amtrak conductor is killed on the tracks and in his belongings is a map with Joe's house marked on it. They knew each other from when he used to take the train into Washington DC. Obama gives his old partner a visit to advise him to hire some private security. They agree to tell the police that the Secret Service are looking into it to keep Joe's name out the papers. But Joe can't leave it be, he needs to uncover the truth.

Barack and Secret Service Steve, keep coming to Joe's rescue and eventually they team up, much to Steve's disapproval. They will just have to give him the slip. There's seedy motels, biker gangs, and one dodgy knee. It's silly and fun, even if the mystery element isn't anything amazing. I still thoroughly enjoyed it.

There's plenty of little jabs at the current administration too. I liked how it didn't gloss over Joe's age, he can't just charge around like a young man and he spends half the book with a knee injury after falling over. Some of the jokes were a bit cringey, but I also chuckled in places. I'd probably read another one if Andrew Shaffer were to write another.
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If you’re dismayed by the current administration and thinking nostalgically about the previous one, this book will delight you. Our detectives are Joe Biden and Barak Obama, who have seen very little of one another since leaving the White House. Biden, a train buff, decides to investigate the recent death of a favorite conductor, and Obama joins him on the hunt. The Biden and Obama characters are grounded in the men’s public personae, but Shaffer gives them unexpected talents and foibles that add to the fun of the novel. I very much hope this title will be the first of a series.
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A book I never knew I wanted! I can only hope it's the start of a series, or at least something similar themed with other real characters.
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A fun and funny who done it told from the point of view of 44th Vice President of the United States, Uncle Joe Biden. Featuring President Obama was his sidekick, the dynamic duo are back! Ducking out on secret service agents, tussling with bikers, and solving a murder this team shows that out of sight doesn’t necessarily mean out of mind.
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