The New York Times Best Seller
"[Hope Never Dies is] an escapist fantasy that will likely appeal to liberals pining for the previous administration, longing for the Obama-Biden team to emerge from political retirement as action heroes."—Alexandra Alter, New York Times
Vice President Joe Biden and President Barack Obama team up in this high-stakes thriller that combines a mystery worthy of Watson and Holmes with the laugh-out-loud bromantic chemistry of Lethal Weapon’s Murtaugh and Riggs.
Vice President Joe Biden is fresh out of the Obama White House and feeling adrift when his favorite railroad conductor dies in a suspicious accident, leaving behind an ailing wife and a trail of clues. To unravel the mystery, “Amtrak Joe” re-teams with the only man he’s ever fully trusted: the 44th president of the United States. Together they’ll plumb the darkest corners of Delaware, traveling from cheap motels to biker bars and beyond, as they uncover the sinister forces advancing America’s opioid epidemic.
Part noir thriller and part bromance, Hope Never Dies is essentially the first published work of Obama/Biden fiction—and a cathartic read for anyone distressed by the current state of affairs.
An Official Summer Read of Publishers Weekly and The Interrobang
A 2018 Goodreads Choice Award Finalist
Hope Never Dies is] a roughly 300-page work of political fanfiction, an escapist fantasy that will likely appeal to liberals pining for the previous administration, longing for the Obama-Biden team to emerge from political retirement as action heroes. But it’s also at times a surprisingly earnest story about estranged friends who are reunited under strange circumstances.”—Alexandra Alter,
New York Times
“It’s a giddy premise, a bit of Resistance wish-fulfillment for those who’d like to see Biden and Obama trading one-liners and cracking skulls.”
“While readers are sure to get a kick out of the codenames and inside jokes used playfully throughout,
Hope Never Dies is an intriguing saga that doesn’t sacrifice momentum for winks and nods.”—
“It’s easy to imagine that if these fist-bumping brothers were ever to become a modern Sherlock and Watson, the world might be a better, more interesting place.”—
USA Today, ★★★ out of four
“Obama and Biden are the ultimate crime-fighting team in
Hope Never Dies.”—
“An ambitious and completely successful novel.”—
“Deeply weird and very funny.”—
The Wall Street Journal
“Step aside Holmes and Watson; back off Poirot and Hastings. A new pair of amateur sleuths are hitting town this month: Barack Obama and Joe Biden.”—
The Guardian (UK)
“Shaffer has sublimated liberal grief, nostalgia, and fantasy into a sort of allegorical potboiler.”—
“A novel nostalgic for a feel-good moment in US politics—one that now seems far in the past.”—Quartz
Hope Never Dies is the lighthearted antidote for our tense political times, the escapist summer book we all need. Once you read it, you’ll want more.”—
Hope Never Dies] is a fun lark, and the world could use more of that these days.”—
Hope Never Dies has humor and heart as well as plenty of adventure [and] surprisingly nuanced and tender takes on aging, masculinity, jealousy, and life after eight years in power.”—
Santa Fe New Mexican
“[An] entertaining, offbeat whodunit...Fans of Carl Hiaasen’s comic crime novels will have fun.”—
“The cool, cerebral ex-POTUS is a reasonable stand-in for Sherlock Holmes, and his ex-VPOTUS, by turns appealingly modest and laughably self-satisfied, is in some ways a better Watson than the good doctor himself.”—
“The beats of dialogue, the in-jokes, and the quips...make the book an entertaining light read.”—
“Probably the most unlikely pair of detectives I have ever seen.”—Rincey Abraham, Book Riot
Andrew Shaffer is the New York Times bestselling author of more than a dozen books. He lives with his wife, novelist Tiffany Reisz, in Lexington, Kentucky, where he teaches at the non-profit Carnegie Center for Literacy and Learning. This is his debut mystery.
The night this all started, I was in a black Irish mood.
And that was
before I learned my friend was dead.
I was sitting at my computer, and I’d stumbled across one of those so-called paparazzi videos. It opened with a wide shot of Cape Town’s fabled Table Mountain. The camera panned down to the white-capped waves in the harbor. An impossibly long speedboat entered the frame, cutting through the surf like a buttered bullet. A parasailor trailed behind the boat, high in the sky, tethered to the stern by a thin rope. The camera zoomed in on the daredevil’s face, and I saw that my old friend Barack Obama was having the time of his life.
Unencumbered by his dead-weight loser vice president, 44 was on the vacation to end all vacations. Windsurfing on Richard Branson’s private island. Kayaking with Justin Trudeau. BASE jumping in Hong Kong with Bradley Cooper. Barack wasn’t simply tempting the fates—he was
daring them. And why not? If he could survive eight long years as the first black US president, he could survive anything.
Not that I was worried about him.
I was done getting all worked up over Barack Obama.
I forced myself to look away from the computer. I turned to face the dartboard on the back wall of my office. It was an old Christmas gift from my daughter. I’d kept it in storage for many years, but now I finally had some free time on my hands.
Maybe too much free time.
“One call,” I said to my faithful companion, Champ. “Is that too much to ask?”
The dog glanced up with indifference. He’d heard it all before.
“Just one phone call,” I said.
With a snap of the wrist, I sent the dart sailing across the room. It hit its mark, right between Bradley Cooper’s piercing blue eyes.
“Eight years.” I plucked the darts from the shredded magazine cover taped to the board. “And not even a gosh-darned postcard.”
Barack even had the gall to tell
People magazine that we still went golfing together on occasion. To save face, I repeated the lie. The truth was, there hadn’t been any golf outings. No late-night texting. Not even a friendly poke on Facebook.
I watched the skies for smoke signals; I read the
York Times, dissecting headlines, looking for clues he might have left me. Nothing. Sometimes late at night, after Jill was sound asleep, I scrolled through the old text messages Barack and I had exchanged a lifetime ago. It was an exercise in futility. If I kept picking at the wound, it was never going to heal.
In the darkness outside my office window, I glimpsed a tiny flickering light.
I turned off my desk lamp to get a better look, and there it was again: a pinprick of orange light, like a firefly . . . or a cigarette.
A prowler? Maybe.
Only one way to find out.
“Let’s go, Champ.”
The dog’s ears perked up. I spun the dial on the small closet safe. There were two things inside: my Medal of Freedom. . . and my SIG Sauer pistol. The bean shooter was a gift I’d bought for myself, in spite of Jill’s objections. “Aren’t your shotguns enough?” she’d asked. “What on earth could you need a handgun for?”
For times like this, Jill.
I slipped the pistol into the waistband at the small of my back, then tucked my polo shirt over it.
I called to my wife, “I’m letting Champ out.” She didn’t answer back. I could hear the TV playing in our bedroom.
Law and Order. I should have been watching with her. Instead I opened the back door.
As soon as I did, Champ raced across the lawn and tore off into the woods. The motion light over the back porch should have kicked on, but the bulb was burnt out.
It was an old one, I guess.
Old bulbs were meant to burn out.
The moon was full enough to light up the backyard. Our 7,000-square-foot lake house sat on four acres of property. Late at night, it was possible to imagine you were all alone in the world.
Tonight, however, I wasn’t alone.
Ahead in the woods was that pinprick of light.
And now I smelled tobacco, a familiar brand.
Don’t get your hopes up, I told myself.
“Hope” is just a
I crossed the yard, walking to the spot where Champ had disappeared into the trees. At the edge of the clearing, I spied a vertically challenged man in a dark gray suit and matching tie. He had short, spiky hair, like he’d recently been discharged from the Marines and was letting it grow out. An earpiece wire disappeared into his collar. Secret Service.
My heart was beating faster than a dog licking a dish.
My own security detail had been dismissed several weeks earlier. Vice presidents were granted six months of protection following their time in office and not a day more unless there were extenuating circumstances.
“Nice night for a walk,” I said.
Secret Service nodded toward the woods, showing me the way. I ducked under a low-hanging branch and kept walking. The heavy foliage overhead diffused the moonlight. I had to tread carefully to avoid the underbrush. The smell of burning tobacco grew stronger. I called for Champ.
In response, I heard flint striking metal. A lighter, close by.
I swiveled around. There. To my left, by the big oak. Ten paces away. A man crouched low, scratching Champ behind the ears. German shepherds don’t take to strangers, but this man was no stranger.
He rose to his feet, a slim figure in his black hand-tailored suit. His white dress shirt was unbuttoned at the neck. He took a long drag off his cigarette and exhaled smoke with leisure. Barack Obama was never in a hurry.