HOPE NEVER DIES -- AN OBAMA BIDEN MYSTERY
Author: Andrew Shaffer
Data: Quirk Books, 300 pages, $14.99 paperback
Pop culture is full of buddy cop stories. Starsky and Hutch, Cagney and Lacey, McMillan and Wife, Jake and the Fatman.
The stars of "Hope Never Dies" are more like Martin and Lewis, with one cool and inflappable and the other impulsive and bumbling.
"Hope Never Dies" is not a particularly great mystery -- a train conductor, desperate for money, is found dead on the tracks. There's a few twists, a red herring or two and a cast of characters who may or may not be trustworthy. What makes the story notable is the two amateur gumshoes who take up the case -- Barack Obama and Joe Biden.
The story, told through Biden's eyes, takes place in his hometown of Wilmington, Del., which gets a less-than-flattering depiction. The dead conductor, it turns out, was an old friend of Biden's from the former veep and senator's days riding the rails between Wilmington and Washington. He also has a map to Biden's home in his pocket when he's found dead.
Biden, poking around the house with nothing to do but criticize the current administration, is talked into looking into the case when Obama and a Secret Service agent unexpectedly show up. And the chase is on, involving a biker gang, a seedy motel, an insurance-fraud investigator and the Drug Enforcement agency.
The story generally steers clear of politics, other than a couple of pointed barbs aimed at Biden and Obama's successors and the question of whether a battered Biden will ever "run" again. And that's a good thing, because this isn't supposed to be the sort of story that makes you think too much. It's a fun lark, and the world could use more of that these days.
Tom Szaroleta: (904) 359-4548 ___
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