Perhaps the most unexpected thing about the new book, “Hope Never Dies: An Obama Biden Mystery,” is that it is, indeed, an engrossing mystery novel.
Written by Andrew Shaffer, who previously wrote parodies like “Fifty Shames of Earl Grey,” the book follows former vice president Joe Biden, aka Amtrak Joe, back living in Delaware.
He’s miffed that his good buddy, former president Barack Obama, is jet-setting with his celebrity buddies and rarely has time for Uncle. But when an Amtrak conductor dies in a suspicious manner, the duo reteams to solve the mystery.
amNewYork spoke with Shaffer.
What inspired you to write the book?
The first time that I saw Joe Biden with his sunglasses on I thought he looked like a mystery hero. Like a stereotypical sort of noir kind of guy. But then he opens his mouth, right? And he would tend to stick his foot in it and he became sort of well-known for his gaffes and stuff . . . and those memes really took off, the bromance memes . . . About a week after they were out of office, I resurrected [that] idea. I was like, “You know, what? What if we just paired them up together? It’s not just Biden. It’s Biden and Obama together, solving crimes.”
What kind of research did you do into these guys?
I read a lot of — all of their memories. Listened to them on audiobooks, because I could then hear their voices and sort of get that voice in my head. But there’s only so much research you can do before you have to sit down and write.
Have you ever met them?
I’ve never met Obama. But I did meet Joe Biden on his book tour last year in Asheville, North Carolina. I did not mention the book to him, however. The great thing about Joe Biden is he just puts you at ease. It was so disarming that I almost couldn’t say anything. Plus, I was wearing a silly T-shirt that had ice cream on it.
He loves ice cream!
Yeah, he looked at the shirt and he goes, “Ice cream. That’s my favorite!” And I’m like, “That’s exactly what I hoped you would say.” But I couldn’t say anything.
Is this book the first in a series?
Yes. The second book is “Hope Rides Again” and will come out again from Quirk, next summer sometime.
I’m currently writing that but it’s going to be set in Chicago.
Has there been any attention from people looking to secure the filming rights?
Yeah, I have someone that’s shopping that around . . . With this book series, I don’t know where it’s going to go as far as adaptation. But I can’t really worry about that. I just worry about what’s in front of me, which is working on a second book right now.
Is there anyone who you think would be a good fit to play these guys on screen?
Oh, absolutely. You know, in my mind, Nicholas Cage as Joe Biden. Put some white hair on him and tell him to just play it up like your “National Treasure” movies. Just ham it up.. . . Obama is a lot harder to cast. Jordan Peele does a great Obama on “Key and Peele.” But Obama is a lot more serious and he’s just a lot more difficult to cast . . . I mean, I guess you just have to cast Obama.
Andrew Shaffer will appear in conversation with comedian Dion Flynn at Brooklyn’s Word Bookstore, at 7:30 p.m on Monday. $5 entrance voucher required, to be used in store. 126 Franklin St., Greenpoint, wordbookstores.com