Andrew Shaffer has a word of warning for the U.S.: look out for Trump. Shaffer published Day of the Donald: Trump Trumps America well before the election. Perhaps he meant this over-the-top satirical novel to scare people away from the prospects of a Trump presidency. The result is a sometimes funny send up of all the Trump haters' worst fears.
Shaffer does have some good lines. After Trump's win, "six late-night talk show hosts joined hands in a prayer circle and gave thanks for the bounty that they were about to receive." On immigration, Trump says, "Anybody is welcome in America--they just have to change to a religion that doesn't want to blow us up. I don't think that's too much to ask." Sounds reasonable to me!
There is actually a story herein. Jimmie Bernwood, a tabloid reporter, has been tapped by Trump to be his ghost writer. In his new role he is dropped into the inner circle of the White House, with complete security clearance. He quickly learns that the last person in this role disappeared--wait, was he murdered?! Not only that, but he was the guy Jimmie caught in flagrante with his then-girlfriend.
Jimmie secretly digs into the murder and finds himself in the middle of a White House mystery, with international intrigue, secret dealings, and unfaithful staffers. The unlikely absurdity of the story and scenarios give Day of the Donald a dream-like, or maybe nightmarish, tone. Not to give too much away, but, surprise surprise, Trump's opposition comes from establishment politicians. One of them wails to Jimmie, "It's time for the lifelong politicians to take our country back. We're tired of getting bossed around by these Washington outsiders and their small-government underreaches. Our country should be governed the way the founders intended--by a small handful of political dynasties." I can imagine that sentiment among certain factions of our government, if not spoken out loud then certainly thought!
Shaffer has some funny bits but the overall effect is not terribly appealing. I couldn't help comparing Shaffer to Christopher Buckley, whose political satires are at once hilarious and insightful. Shaffer makes a good effort, but falls short. Day of the Donald is too silly, too unrealistic, and too anti-Trump to be truly great satire.
Thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for the complimentary electronic review copy!