I was stuck at McCarren airport on a three hour layover when I spotted this soft-boiled detective novel.
When they say you can’t judge a book by its cover, I want you to take a good look at the piece of design perfection this illustration is. It’s shear beauty and elegance belies a book that cannot be an altogether total pile of dog turds. Too much production and editorial attention has gone into a book with a cover like this for it to be all bad.
Besides, I was at an airport. I figured just carrying the book around would guarantee I’d avoid some casual small talk with anyone who had ever worn a MAGA hat.
Not only that, it’s funny. It starts out with the narrator, Joe Biden, very upset that he hasn’t heard from his old friend, Barack, in months. An old friend who, by all indications, has more time for Bradley Cooper than for him.
Then Barack shows up out of the blue to let Joe know that one of his favorite Amtrak conductors had met his end under mysterious circumstances. One thing leads to another and before you know it, it’s a mid-Atlantic Murder She Wrote.
Is this a great novel? No. Is it a political puff piece? Far from it. Is it a couple of larger than life personas crossing all sorts of jurosdictional lines in Delaware to solve a public transportation employee’s mysterious death? Yes.
It’s also ridiculous. I enjoyed it exactly as much as I expected to.