Barack Obama and Joe Biden return to solving crimes in "Hope Rides Again: An Obama Biden Mystery," the second book written by Andrew Shaffer starring the former president and vice president.
“It’s a totally separate mystery from the first book,” Shaffer said while sitting at a table where a long line had formed waiting for him to autograph copies of his novel at a two-day book fair in Lexington, Kentucky. “The first was set in Wilmington, Delaware and this one is set in Chicago, on Obama’s turf, and takes place in the spring around St. Patrick’s Day, which is certainly a holiday they take seriously there.”
Indeed, Shaffer, who at one time lived in Chicago, said he revisited old haunts and new places for background as the two BFFs hunt for Obama’s Blackberry and the murderer who stole it.
Though the premise of the two joining together as detectives is somewhat zany, Shaffer describes his book as dealing with serious topics as well.
“But I try to do it in a lighthearted way,” he said. Also fun are the covers for the books, including the first in the series, "Hope Never Dies." Harkening back to the vivid colors of the 1960s, the first shows Obama driving a convertible while Biden stands in the front seat pointing out the way. In the latest, Obama leans down from a swaying rope ladder tethered to a helicopter, his arm outstretched to help Biden up.
One person who thinks the mysteries are fun is the former vice president. When Biden was campaigning in Kentucky, Shaffer was contacted by the campaign to set up a meeting. Shaffer and his wife, a romance writer, live in Louisville.
“I didn’t know whether he liked the book or not, or what he was going to say,” Shaffer said, adding Biden hadn’t read either book but signed his copies. “It was really kind of different to have a character in your book sign your book. I found out later that people have been bringing my books to his campaign stops and asking him to sign them, so he was probably thinking, who’s the guy who wrote this?”
It’s tricky writing about people we know publicly but not in person, Shaffer said.
“I think in ways I know them too well, because I know their history and what I think they would do and say, because I’ve written about them and I’ve seen and read about them for eight years,” he said. “When I heard Biden speak in Kentucky, I was like 'My Biden wouldn’t say that.' "
Shaffer’s book might have garnered a few votes for the vice president.
“I met one person who said I can’t wait to vote for them again because now they’re detectives,” he said.