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  • Jeff Somers 7:00 pm on 2018/11/01 Permalink
    Tags: , , , , new thrills, thrillers   

    November’s Best New Thrillers 

    Time—and publishing schedules—wait for no one, so if you slacked off on your TBR pile in October, watch out, because November is bringing a bumper crop of new thrillers. This month’s picks of the litter are heavy on the returning faves as James Patterson, Lee Child, and Clive Cussler bring back some of their most popular characters, while Anthony Horowitz delivers a brand-new adventure for one of the most famous classic thriller characters of all time—and David Baldacci goes the other way, hitting the ground running with a brand-new character.

    Long Road to Mercy, by David Baldacci
    Baldacci takes a break from Amos Decker to introduce FBI Agent Atlee Pine, whose skill set makes her one of the FBI’s top criminal profilers, but who chooses to work in solitude as the lone agent assigned to the Shattered Rock, Arizona, resident agency. Pine is haunted by the kidnapping of her twin sister, Mercy, when they were six years old; the kidnapper sang out an old nursery rhyme as they chose which twin to abduct. Mercy was chosen, and Atlee never saw her sister again, and dedicated her life to saving others. When a mule is found dead in the Grand Canyon and its rider missing, Atlee is plunged into an investigation that would be beyond most agents—but not her. At least not until she’s abruptly ordered to close the case just as she’s figuring out the terrifying scope of what’s she’s chasing after…

    Target: Alex Cross, by James Patterson
    Patterson’s twenty-sixth Alex Cross book opens on a somber scene of mourning as hundreds of thousands of people gather in Washington, D.C., to mourn the president—among them Alex Cross, whose wife, Bree, has just become D.C.’s chief of detectives. When a sniper takes out a member of the president’s cabinet, it falls to Bree to solve the crime—and it’s clear her job is on the line. Cross begins to suspect the sniper is only getting started, and as usual he’s right—and the country is plunged into a violent crisis like nothing it’s ever seen before. Patterson raises the stakes beyond anything Cross has ever dealt with before—and that’s saying something.

    Past Tense, by Lee Child
    Jack Reacher returns in his twenty-third outing in fine form, as Child continues to get tremendous mileage from an older Reacher’s slow-burn journey into his own past. Faced with yet another fork in the road, Reacher chooses to walk into Laconia, New Hampshire, where his late father, Stan, was born. Meanwhile, a young couple driving from Canada stop at a mysteriously empty motel near Laconia when they have car trouble. Reacher, as usual, steps in to help the helpless and gets nothing but trouble for his efforts, while his efforts to learn about his father turn up a disturbing lack of information. As the two stories slowly work toward each other, Reacher discovers he might be more like his father than he suspected—and another batch of small-time goons discovers they’re no match whatsoever for Jack Reacher.

    Tom Clancy: Oath of Office, by Marc Cameron
    Cameron returns to the Jack Ryan universe for the second time with a complex story of betrayal and realpolitik that begins in Iran, where a Russian spy mourns his lover, Maryam, cut down by the Revolutionary Guard. This spurs Erik Dovzhenko to defect, traveling to Afghanistan to contact Maryam’s friend Ysabel Kashani. Ysabel brings in Jack Ryan, Jr., son of the President of the United States and member of antiterrorism unit the Campus. Ryan is in the area as part of a mission to track down two stolen nuclear weapons, and meets with Erik and Ysabel even as his father deals with an attack on an American embassy in Cameroon. The twisting story builds to an explosive conclusion in true Clancy style.

    You Don’t Own Me, by Mary Higgins Clark and Alafair Burke
    Clark and Burke deliver the fifth book in the Under Suspicion series, featuring television producer Laurie Morgan, whose penchant for getting into trouble is just as strong as ever. Laurie is busy planning her wedding to former host Alex Buckley (who is about to be confirmed as a federal judge) when she’s contacted by the parents of a physician famously gunned down in his own driveway five years before; they’re in a bitter custody battle with his wife, and believe she was the killer. As Laurie takes on the story she finds, as usual, more layers to it than meet the eye—but as she works she’s being followed by a mysterious man who admires her from afar and thinks she might not be missed when she’s gone, pushing the tension to the breaking point.

    Sea of Greed, by Clive Cussler and Graham Brown
    The sixteenth NUMA Files novel depicts a world on the verge of chaos as oil supplies dry up and stock markets drop. When a massive explosion in the Gulf of Mexico destroys three crucial oil rigs, the President of the United States is concerned enough to ask Kurt Austin and the NUMA Special Projects Team to investigate. Their attention is drawn to a maverick billionaire who sees her alternative energy company as the future—and who might be willing to take drastic measures to get to that future sooner rather than later. The crew of the NUMA finds evidence that an oil-eating bacteria thought lost fifty years before has been deployed in the Gulf, and now threatens to plunge the world into chaos if Austin and his team can’t get to the bottom of the mystery in time.

    Forever and a Day, by Anthony Horowitz
    Crafting an origin story for no less of a pop culture icon than James Bond is a daunting task, but Horowitz is in familiar waters after 2015’s Trigger Mortis, and does an expert job. The story kicks off with the death of the prior 007, found floating in the water off of Marseilles. M calls up Bond, newly attached to the Double-O section, and assigns him to investigate the agent’s death. Bond goes toe-to-toe with the Corsican mob and a classic Bond villain in the immensely obese and incredibly dangerous crime boss Jean-Paul Scipio. Horowitz seeds the story with plenty of Bond Easter eggs for longtime fans while crafting a tense, action-heavy story that satisfies simply as a modern-day spy thriller that’s gritty, violent, and morally complex.

    The post November’s Best New Thrillers appeared first on Barnes & Noble Reads.

     
  • Jeff Somers 3:00 pm on 2018/10/01 Permalink
    Tags: , , , thrillers,   

    October’s Best Thrillers 

    The Reckoning, by John Grisham
    Grisham’s latest is a compelling mystery set in the wake of World War II. Veteran Pete Banning, now enjoying civilian life as a farmer, gets up one day, has breakfast with his sister, and then drives into town and shoots the Reverend Dexter Bell three times, killing him. Banning makes no attempt to resist arrest, and only states that he has “nothing to say” about the murder. Is it connected to his wife, Liza, so recently committed to a hospital? Or is there a less obvious mystery afoot? As the community struggles to understand what’s happened, Grisham digs deeply into Banning’s backstory, following his journey through life and war on the way to a killing no one understands.

    Dark Sacred Night, by Michael Connelly
    Connelly pairs up two of his most enduring characters as Harry Bosch, now retired and working cases for his own reasons, and LAPD Detective Renée Ballard see their paths cross. After Ballard files a sexual harassment claim against the police department, she gets relegated to the graveyard shift. One night she catches Bosch looking through an old case file, researching the unsolved murder of a runaway girl in 2009. When she learns the girl’s mother, Daisy, is staying with Bosch as he helps her recover from drug addiction, Renée is moved to help. Meanwhile, Bosch’s other activities have put him directly in the sights of one of the most violent and ruthless street gangs in the area, Varrio San Fer 13, making the new partnership an extremely dangerous one—not that the detective is the type to spook easily.

    Ambush, by James Patterson and James O. Born
    When Detective Michael Bennett receives an anonymous tip that leads him into an attempted assassination, he quickly realizes it’s the work of a talented and mysterious professional, who soon targets Bennett’s family, while serving perfect red herrings clues to keep Bennett and his fellow cops chasing their tails. As Bennett puts the pieces together while protecting everyone he cares about, he realizes that while the assassin’s motivates are related to the rival cartels trying to corner the city’s drug traffic—cartels that may have joined forces to take out their main obstacle: Detective Michael Bennett.

    Paper Gods, by Goldie Taylor
    When Ezra Hawkins, a long-serving black congressman from Georgia, is assassinated, a hunt begins for both the killer and the congressman’s replacement. On the same day, infamous reporter Hampton Bridges is almost killed in a car accident that doesn’t seem so accidental, which drives him to dig even harder into the seamy underbelly of Georgia politics. Hawkins’ obvious successor would be his protégé, Atlanta Mayor Torrie Dodds—but dissatisfaction with Hawkins has soured Dodds, who resents a system controlled by wealthy white elites. As Bridges tracks down corruption and skulduggery, more killings ensue, and Dodds finds a mysterious link between the victims—one of whom is her own disgraced brother.

    The Night in Question, by Nic Joseph
    Paula Wilson works a rideshare gig to help with the medical bills that are crushing her family. One night she picks up her final passenger and is thrilled to recognize famous musician Ryan Hooks in her backseat. When she brings him to his destination and he’s met by a woman decidedly not his equally famous wife, Paula does something desperate—she suggests the best way to keep his meeting out of the papers is to pay her. But when it later turns out someone was murdered at that address, Paula realizes she might be the only person to know about Hooks’ secret affair, and thus the only witness to a terrible crime.

    The Trust, by Ronald H. Balson
    Balson’s fourth book following Liam Taggart and Catherine Lockhart sees Liam returning with reluctance to Northern Ireland for a funeral. He isn’t looking forward to seeing his family again, but is soon  astonished to find he’s been named the executor of his uncle’s secret trust, which can only be settled after Fergus’ murder is solved. Liam is forced to do the last thing he wants: take a deep dive into his family’s affairs, their long-standing connection to the IRA and the Troubles, and the skein of greed, resentment, and violence at the end of his every inquiry. Whoever killed Fergus is undoubtedly watching.

    Smile, by Roddy Doyle
    Booker Prize-winner Doyle returns with a fascinating character study that follows Victor Forde, a past-his-prime radio commentator who returns to his dingy hometown after separating from his celebrity chef wife. Abandoning his determination to make friends and do some writing, Forde drinks his sorrows away at Donnelly’s pub, spending time with the locals and then tottering off to work on a project he never quite gets started. One night at Donnelly’s, Forde encounters an old schoolmate, Fitzpatrick, a man he quite doesn’t remember from hisviolent years at St. Martin’s Christian Brothers School. Fitzpatrick forces Forde to revisit those dark childhood years, unraveling a decades-old mystery and memories of sexual abuse, and slowly becomes the man’s unlikely best friend, as Doyle builds to an ending both unexpected and inevitable.

    The post October’s Best Thrillers appeared first on Barnes & Noble Reads.

     
  • Jeff Somers 3:00 pm on 2018/09/19 Permalink
    Tags: , , , , , , thrillers   

    Every Megan Abbott Book, Ranked 

    Megan Abbott is having a Moment. With the publication of her ninth novel, Give Me Your Hand, comes the realization that this brilliant author has flown under the radar for too long, and it’s time we all caught up. Abbott hasn’t really written a bad book yet, but we have our own ideas about where you should start. Below, we rank the novels, leaving the best for last. Disagree? Tell us in the comments..

    The Fever
    Abbott’s assured 2014 novel tells the tale of a sleepy town whose teenage girls suddenly start suffering a mysterious illness. As thrillers go, it’s low key but tense: on one hand, Abbott easily crafts a creepy, sexually-charged atmosphere and populates it with true-to-life characters struggling with teen sexuality from every pained perspective—and then ramps up the paranoia and horror by stages. On the other hand, if you’re looking for action, or an explosive conclusion that burns off all the high-pressure unease the novel generates, well, that’s not what the author is going for here.

    You Will Know Me
    This story of a young gymnast with Olympic aspirations and a dread of her growing bosom, the obsessively supportive parents who have given up everything to push their daughter forward, and the isolated, suffocating world of gymnasts, is great. The unlikeable characters are reliably fascinating and well-rendered, and the setting and sense of dread is palpable. While the book is offered up as a mystery, however, Abbott is absolutely disinterested in that aspect of the story. Said mystery, involving the death of teen boy, isn’t much of one, and readers paying the slightest attention will know exactly what happened shortly after the body’s discovered. That doesn’t mean the book isn’t fantastic—but it does mean those looking for shocking twists should start elsewhere.

    Die a Little
    Abbott’s first published novel follows a schoolteacher in postwar L.A. who begins to suspect her policeman brother’s new wife is on the sketchy side, and it’s about as great a debut novel as you can hope for. If Die a Little isn’t as polished, tight, or spellbinding as Abbott’s later work, its subversion of traditional noir gender roles and other tropes is delightful fun, if a bit on-the-nose—something else Abbott got better at as time went on. It’s still a definite must-read, if only to see how a very good writer slowly evolves into a tremendous one.

    Bury Me Deep
    Based on a true story, Abbott’s 2009 novel (nominated for an Anthony Award) is an immersive, slow burn telling the story of Marion Seeley, whose husband, a doctor, leaves her in Phoenix so he can go to Mexico for work and to kick his drug habit. Marion falls in with a group of other women and meets Joe Lanigan, who seduces her—and then, things go really, really badly for everyone involved. Abbott takes her time with the pacing of this one; the first 80 percent of the book, finds her wallowing in her own gorgeous writing and the increasingly unbearable tension of the story. The final act is therefore an exhilarating explosion that feels oh so good, even as it highlights how slow the buildup was.

    The End of Everything
    This story of a 13-year old girl, Lizzie, whose best friend suddenly disappears, is so much more than a mystery—the revelation of what happened comes fairly early in the story, and isn’t too surprising. It is more a deep-dive into the girl’s unreliable, confused psyche. Abbott infuses Lizzie with vigilance, confusion, and dark secrets, then layers on a serious lack of reliability—Lizzie doesn’t always seem to be totally in control of her own narrative. Lizzie’s voice is what makes this book so incredible. Spending time with her is almost overwhelming—she’s a brilliant character, and a narrative device that you’ll really love. But you’ll be happy, too, to see the back of her at its end.

    Give Me Your Hand
    Abbott’s newest book, about two brilliant girls who pushed each other to achieve back in high school and fell out over a terrible confession, only to be forced together professionally years later, loads all the author’s weapons into one powerful vehicle, which then proceeds to run you over. There’s the exploration of dark, twisted teen girl relationships. There’s the slow boil of inarticulate rage that results in horrific violence. The careful study of small, claustrophobic groups. The entertaining rendering of characters who are, at best, unlikeable. At this point, the top four Abbott novels approach a kind of singularity of excellence, so feel free to consider this on equal footing with the three that follow.

    Dare Me
    Dare Me is probably the book that woke most people up to Abbott, and for good reason. Set in the world of teenage cheerleading, it explores the “Mean Girls” dynamic with a story packed with the sort of ruthless twists and subversions that are Abbott’s hallmark—asking the simple question, what happens when the Regina George of your group gets demoted? If you’ve read any of Abbott’s books, you know the answer involves murderous rage, and the way former Queen Bee Beth reacts when her loyal sidekick Addy becomes enamored with the cool new cheerleading coach is a compelling study of sociopathic teen girl angst. At the same time, Abbott smartly positions the cheerleading team as being disdained by the rest of the school—they’re not the popular girls, because cheerleading, despite its demanding athletic standard, is seen as silly. Dare Me is an drum-tight book that captures the true terror of being a teenage girl.

    The Song is You
    If you’re only familiar with Abbott’s more recent novels set in contemporary times, get thee to her classic noir The Song is You, which seems so old-fashioned at first blush, it’s easy to miss its electrifying subversions. Set in Golden Age Hollywood, it’s got all the boozy, jazzy earmarks of a period piece, aping the bleak mood and dark style of the time. At first glance, the gender roles he characters fall into seem traditional as well—the protagonist is a man, a “fixer” for the film studios when scandals arise, and he’s haunted by his involvement in covering up the disappearance of a young starlet. Dig deeper, and you find Abbott knows exactly what she’s doing, and what tropes she’s playing with. The end result is an Ellroy-esque twister that revels in the debauchery of old Hollywood, but does so with razor-sharp purpose.

    Queenpin
    Abbott’s third novel is nearly perfect (it won the Edgar Award for Best Paperback Original). It’s another red meat dive into noir, telling the story of a girl who’s adopted by the titular Queenpin of the criminal underground, Gloria Denton, who teaches her everything she knows about the rackets—and then falls for precisely the wrong man. As the unnamed narrator and her mentor slowly circle each as their respective roles change, the violence and tension of the story ratchets up as if a supercomputer was tasked with crafting the perfect thriller plotline, even as Abbott explores and interrogates gender roles and classic tropes with a modern, gimlet eye. Even if you think you don’t enjoy hardboiled-style stories, check out Queenpin—there’s so much more going on aside from the whiskey, cigarettes, and gunplay.

    What Abbott novel left you breathless?

    The post Every Megan Abbott Book, Ranked appeared first on Barnes & Noble Reads.

     
  • Jeff Somers 3:00 pm on 2018/09/19 Permalink
    Tags: , , , , , , thrillers   

    Every Megan Abbott Book, Ranked 

    Megan Abbott is having a Moment. With the publication of her ninth novel, Give Me Your Hand, comes the realization that this brilliant author has flown under the radar for too long, and it’s time we all caught up. Abbott hasn’t really written a bad book yet, but we have our own ideas about where you should start. Below, we rank the novels, leaving the best for last. Disagree? Tell us in the comments..

    The Fever
    Abbott’s assured 2014 novel tells the tale of a sleepy town whose teenage girls suddenly start suffering a mysterious illness. As thrillers go, it’s low key but tense: on one hand, Abbott easily crafts a creepy, sexually-charged atmosphere and populates it with true-to-life characters struggling with teen sexuality from every pained perspective—and then ramps up the paranoia and horror by stages. On the other hand, if you’re looking for action, or an explosive conclusion that burns off all the high-pressure unease the novel generates, well, that’s not what the author is going for here.

    You Will Know Me
    This story of a young gymnast with Olympic aspirations and a dread of her growing bosom, the obsessively supportive parents who have given up everything to push their daughter forward, and the isolated, suffocating world of gymnasts, is great. The unlikeable characters are reliably fascinating and well-rendered, and the setting and sense of dread is palpable. While the book is offered up as a mystery, however, Abbott is absolutely disinterested in that aspect of the story. Said mystery, involving the death of teen boy, isn’t much of one, and readers paying the slightest attention will know exactly what happened shortly after the body’s discovered. That doesn’t mean the book isn’t fantastic—but it does mean those looking for shocking twists should start elsewhere.

    Die a Little
    Abbott’s first published novel follows a schoolteacher in postwar L.A. who begins to suspect her policeman brother’s new wife is on the sketchy side, and it’s about as great a debut novel as you can hope for. If Die a Little isn’t as polished, tight, or spellbinding as Abbott’s later work, its subversion of traditional noir gender roles and other tropes is delightful fun, if a bit on-the-nose—something else Abbott got better at as time went on. It’s still a definite must-read, if only to see how a very good writer slowly evolves into a tremendous one.

    Bury Me Deep
    Based on a true story, Abbott’s 2009 novel (nominated for an Anthony Award) is an immersive, slow burn telling the story of Marion Seeley, whose husband, a doctor, leaves her in Phoenix so he can go to Mexico for work and to kick his drug habit. Marion falls in with a group of other women and meets Joe Lanigan, who seduces her—and then, things go really, really badly for everyone involved. Abbott takes her time with the pacing of this one; the first 80 percent of the book, finds her wallowing in her own gorgeous writing and the increasingly unbearable tension of the story. The final act is therefore an exhilarating explosion that feels oh so good, even as it highlights how slow the buildup was.

    The End of Everything
    This story of a 13-year old girl, Lizzie, whose best friend suddenly disappears, is so much more than a mystery—the revelation of what happened comes fairly early in the story, and isn’t too surprising. It is more a deep-dive into the girl’s unreliable, confused psyche. Abbott infuses Lizzie with vigilance, confusion, and dark secrets, then layers on a serious lack of reliability—Lizzie doesn’t always seem to be totally in control of her own narrative. Lizzie’s voice is what makes this book so incredible. Spending time with her is almost overwhelming—she’s a brilliant character, and a narrative device that you’ll really love. But you’ll be happy, too, to see the back of her at its end.

    Give Me Your Hand
    Abbott’s newest book, about two brilliant girls who pushed each other to achieve back in high school and fell out over a terrible confession, only to be forced together professionally years later, loads all the author’s weapons into one powerful vehicle, which then proceeds to run you over. There’s the exploration of dark, twisted teen girl relationships. There’s the slow boil of inarticulate rage that results in horrific violence. The careful study of small, claustrophobic groups. The entertaining rendering of characters who are, at best, unlikeable. At this point, the top four Abbott novels approach a kind of singularity of excellence, so feel free to consider this on equal footing with the three that follow.

    Dare Me
    Dare Me is probably the book that woke most people up to Abbott, and for good reason. Set in the world of teenage cheerleading, it explores the “Mean Girls” dynamic with a story packed with the sort of ruthless twists and subversions that are Abbott’s hallmark—asking the simple question, what happens when the Regina George of your group gets demoted? If you’ve read any of Abbott’s books, you know the answer involves murderous rage, and the way former Queen Bee Beth reacts when her loyal sidekick Addy becomes enamored with the cool new cheerleading coach is a compelling study of sociopathic teen girl angst. At the same time, Abbott smartly positions the cheerleading team as being disdained by the rest of the school—they’re not the popular girls, because cheerleading, despite its demanding athletic standard, is seen as silly. Dare Me is an drum-tight book that captures the true terror of being a teenage girl.

    The Song is You
    If you’re only familiar with Abbott’s more recent novels set in contemporary times, get thee to her classic noir The Song is You, which seems so old-fashioned at first blush, it’s easy to miss its electrifying subversions. Set in Golden Age Hollywood, it’s got all the boozy, jazzy earmarks of a period piece, aping the bleak mood and dark style of the time. At first glance, the gender roles he characters fall into seem traditional as well—the protagonist is a man, a “fixer” for the film studios when scandals arise, and he’s haunted by his involvement in covering up the disappearance of a young starlet. Dig deeper, and you find Abbott knows exactly what she’s doing, and what tropes she’s playing with. The end result is an Ellroy-esque twister that revels in the debauchery of old Hollywood, but does so with razor-sharp purpose.

    Queenpin
    Abbott’s third novel is nearly perfect (it won the Edgar Award for Best Paperback Original). It’s another red meat dive into noir, telling the story of a girl who’s adopted by the titular Queenpin of the criminal underground, Gloria Denton, who teaches her everything she knows about the rackets—and then falls for precisely the wrong man. As the unnamed narrator and her mentor slowly circle each as their respective roles change, the violence and tension of the story ratchets up as if a supercomputer was tasked with crafting the perfect thriller plotline, even as Abbott explores and interrogates gender roles and classic tropes with a modern, gimlet eye. Even if you think you don’t enjoy hardboiled-style stories, check out Queenpin—there’s so much more going on aside from the whiskey, cigarettes, and gunplay.

    What Abbott novel left you breathless?

    The post Every Megan Abbott Book, Ranked appeared first on Barnes & Noble Reads.

     
  • Sarah Skilton 2:00 pm on 2018/09/07 Permalink
    Tags: back in the saddle, , , , thrillers   

    6 Reasons Andrew Shaffer’s Hope Never Dies Is the Perfect Buddy Comedy 

    If you’ve ever chuckled at an Obama/Biden meme, in which Joe plays a prank and Barack rolls his eyes affectionately, Andrew Shaffer’s Hope Never Dies—one part mystery, one part fanfic—is for you. When his favorite Amtrak conductor dies and all evidence points to murder, the former Veep can’t resist launching his own investigation. After all, life has gotten a bit dull since vacating his post in D.C., and he’s eager to be useful again, especially if that means teaming up with his partner-in-service and BFF, the 44th President of the United States. A perfect buddy comedy ensues. Here are six reasons why we love it.

    1. It’s fast-paced with a concise narrative voice
    Shaffer knew to keep things short and sweet. Chapters range from one to five pages, and the yarn is narrated by Biden himself, using semi-hardboiled prose: “I glanced over my shoulder, but no one was there. Barack had disappeared into the inky darkness, same as he’d come, leaving nothing behind but the stale smell of smoke.” (Don’t worry: with one exception, Obama sticks to Nicorette gum.) 

    2. The dialogue is gold
    Biden, re: the machinations of an apparent femme fatale: “Son of a buttermilk biscuit, we got bamboozled!” Obama, in response to whether he’ll run for any type of office again: “Michelle would kill me in my sleep. She said she’d smother me with a pillow. Even showed me which one she’d use.” 

    3. Its characters’ behavior is very on brand.
    Obama is “cool as cucumber lotion” in tense situations, but always willing to step into the fray when needed, as when Joe’s being held at gunpoint by a biker gang. Joe, who swaps his bomber jacket and aviator sunglasses for a KISS MY BASS hat as a “disguise,” is impulsive and hotheaded, eager to go with his gut, as when he storms the hideout of the aforementioned biker gang. Together they’re unstoppable. 

    4. A genuine relationship shines through
    The former Veep and ex-President are best friends and it shows, even if they’re going through a rough patch right now. There’s nothing either wouldn’t do for the other, even if they bicker like brothers. Obama schools Biden on the flowers he chose for Jill (“The lily is a funeral flower. If you were going for romantic, you should have gone for roses”) and Biden accuses Obama of ditching their true-blue friendship to go windsurfing with celebrities (cough, Richard Branson). Their initial meetup sets the tone: “I offered a handshake. Barack turned it into a fist bump. It was a greeting I’d never been able to master, but I gave it my best shot. Barack smirked. Just like old times.”

    5. Funny situations abound
    When a fast-food clerk makes a casual remark about global warming, Barack can’t resist explaining the finer points of it to her, and his passion for the topic wins her over. He and his secret service agent, healthy eaters both, are horrified by what Joe orders at a diner (a “hot and bothered” plate of hash browns, covered with “cheese, onion, diced ham, and jalapeno.”) To pass the time inside a particularly rancid no-tell motel, Biden and Obama launch into a game of “POTUS, SCOTUS, or FLOTUS,” in which one of them names three women, and the other responds with the role he’d prefer for her. (Prior to participating, Obama acknowledges it’s a little demeaning to women, and wonders if Strom Thurmond came up with it.)

    6. It’s absurd but brilliant
    While picturing the events of the story, you may occasionally think, “This is CRAZY.” But is it? I mean, who could have predicted what would happen once this duo left office? Is this any crazier than what has actually occurred since 2016? My advice is to embrace the setup, because if you’re willing to suspend disbelief, it’s sort of plausible. I like to think so, anyway.

    The post 6 Reasons Andrew Shaffer’s <i>Hope Never Dies</i> Is the Perfect Buddy Comedy appeared first on Barnes & Noble Reads.

     
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