Hope Never Dies, by Andrew Shaffer, comes out today (July 10) from Quirk Books. The 300-page novel is a deeply silly piece of fan fiction by the author of the parodies Fifty Shames of Earl Grey and Catsby, and it’s saturated with detective clichés.
But it somehow accurately translates the tone and content of the internet fan frenzy that surrounded the relationship between former US president Barack Obama and his vice president, Joe Biden, into novel form. Readers may find themselves smiling even as they eye roll.
The novel begins with Biden, a hopeless chuckleheaded narrator, wistfully hoping for a call from Obama, who’s been shown in the news kite surfing with Richard Branson. To Biden’s surprise, Obama shows up in his backyard, badass-ly smoking a Marlboro red in the darkness, his secret service detail hovering nearby. Biden’s ex-bestie has come to tell him about an Amtrak conductor Biden used to know, who’s been allegedly killed in a train accident.
A murder mystery unfolds that’s full of dirty cops, a drug ring, and two-timers, all mixed into a thick batter of corny dialog. At the zenith of the novel’s shenanigans, the two lie in a motel bed, playing “POTUS, SCOTUS, or FLOTUS,” a Fuck, Marry, Kill derivative, in which Biden names three women and Obama has to say which woman he would want in each job.
Hope Never Dies is full of Biden’s bromantic swooning for Obama and laments about his own aging dad bod. “Vintage Barack Obama” is “as cool as cucumber lotion,” while Biden is flummoxed and earnest. It’s a novel nostalgic for a feel-good moment in US politics—one that now seems far in the past.