Prior to giving a speech at a conference in Chicago, former US President Barack Obama’s Blackberry goes missing. Determined to find it for his friend, former VP Joe Biden takes to the streets of The Windy City to track down the missing phone. It’s not long before Biden and Obama get more than they bargained for and become drawn into a deadly gang war.
The second book in Andrew Shaffer’s improbable bromantic crime fiction series featuring Obama and Biden as gumshoes is just as good as the first. It doesn’t hurt that once again, the mystery is solid and Shaffer isn’t relying solely on the gimmicky premise to move copies. The two friends wind up chasing down leads and dodging cars on their quest to find out why the intern that nicked Barack’s phone is recovering from two gunshot wounds to the gut.
Once again, Shaffer’s writing is filled with snappy dialogue and laugh-out-loud moments (there is a particular quip late in the book that nearly caused me to spit out a mouthful of coffee). Biden is painfully uncool and completely oblivious, but he’s a good match for the charismatic Barack Obama as the two continue to gel together well as exaggerated caricatures of the originals. The two characters could easily play as leads in the type of Hollywood buddy-cop blockbuster that was all the rage at the turn of the century.
For a book series that has laid its foundation on two extremely popular political figures, there isn’t a lot of politics in play here. While Shaffer does have Biden mulling over a potential run for office in 2020 (the book takes place on St. Patrick’s Day 2019 – Biden would announce the following month), the author refuses to have either character dig their heels in on political rhetoric. In fact, I don’t think Trump’s name even comes up once during the brisk read – sure he’s alluded to, but there are no direct shots at him. I think this is for the best, really. There’s already too much Trump in my day-to-day life and I don’t even live in the US.
If you are a fan of the original, it’s worth picking up the sequel. I’m not sure you need to have read the first one, but it helps to set the tone of the series. Joe Biden may not be looking too hot in the Democratic primaries, but he’s on point in this whodunit action story.
Check out my review of the first novel here.
Check out my interview with Andrew here.