Don't Mess with Travis
By Bob Smiley
(Thomas Dunne Books, Hardcover, 9781250001191, 352pp.)
Publication Date: May 8, 2012
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A cowboy governor finds himself the accidental leader of Texas's right-wing revolution in this irreverent, entertaining debut novel.
Written with the comedic mastery of Christopher Buckley, Don't Mess with Travis tells the story of Ben Travis, a no-name Texas senator who becomes governor after a late-night accident takes the lives of the men ahead of him in the chain of command.
Before the paint has even dried on his parking spot, the recently divorced Travis uncovers the latest Washington power grab and decides there's only one solution: secession. The stunt pits Travis (and Texas) against the president, a golf-obsessed, progressive egomaniac with spotty leadership skills. The liberal elites are behind the president, and they will try every dirty trick to derail the new governor and hold on to the most prosperous state in the Union. Despite the doomsday threats from D.C., Travis forges ahead in a thrilling and hysterical quest to fight big-government tyranny and restore sanity to the nation.
Can Travis avoid a second Civil War without bending his knee to Washington? Will his own daughter and ex-wife come to his aid or sell him out? Most important, can they get all this settled before the beginning of high school football season?
In the tradition of Advise and Consent and Primary Colors, Don't Mess with Travis brilliantly lampoons all that's wrong with present-day politics while waving the flag behind everything that's right.
BOB SMILEY began his writing career as a research assistant to the late, great William F. Buckley, Jr. In 2008, he wrote the sports memoir Follow the Roar, chronicling his journey around the globe as he followed Tiger Woods for every hole of an entire season. He continues to work in television and film, having written for network sitcoms as well as for Fox News Channel’s Half Hour News Hour. He recently wrote a Goonies-esque pilot for Disney XD and is developing a half-hour political comedy for AMC.
Praise for Don't Mess with Travis:
"A political novel, but the laughter should cut across party lines. Like all great humor, Don’t Mess With Travis points to some basic truths — and the targets among contemporary politicians are ample. . . . With this lively and charming debut, readers on both sides of the aisle will hope that Smiley’s novel won’t be his last."
--The Dallas Morning News
"One of the year’s best, and arguably the most stinging work of political satire since Christopher Buckley’s Boomsday.... A laugh out loud, thrilling ... smart, witty, and supremely relevant election year read that will appeal not only to conservatives, but to anyone who is fed up with the current state of the union.
“Bob Smiley gives us two things we really need: 1) a funny book about politics and 2) a Texas governor we can all get behind. Ben Travis forever!"
--Steve Hely, producer and writer for The Office and author of How I Became a Famous Novelist
"If there were a Nobel Prize for political wit, Bob Smiley’s novel Don’t Mess With Travis would win it in a landslide. Much needed in this angry political season!"
“Some people might say that Don’t Mess with Travis is a mix of Carl Hiaasen and George Will. But it’s more than just a witty blend of larger-than-life characters and a prescient political narrative: It’s intelligent satire—true on both the human and policy dimensions—that would make a great movie. Bob Smiley is this generation’s Christopher Buckley.”
--Ilya Shapiro, The Cato Institute
"...the political humor and witty dialogue in Don’t Mess with Travis should elicit chuckles from readers on both ends of the political spectrum. With shades of ... the novels Advise and Consent, Primary Colors, and State of Rebellion, Smiley’s incisive and derisive view of the political process makes this razor-sharp debut novel a timely and entertaining read."
"In bringing a humane point of view to the pitched election-year conflict between liberals and conservatives, this novel couldn't be timelier. As a bonus, Smiley smoothly mixes in bits of history about Texas politics and culture. A freewheeling political satire that does for politics what Texan Dan Jenkins' antic fictions did for golf and football. Smiley's first novel disproves the notion that conservatives can't be really funny."
"A terrific read for the 2012 campaign season-- a political satire funny for folks on either side of the aisle."
--Jeremy Blachman, author of Anonymous Lawyer
"The world of politics is anything but funny these days. That's why Bob Smiley's new book Don't Mess With Travis is so refreshing. If you need an escape and your politics lean to the right, put away the Wall Street Journal, crack open an ice cold beer, and prepare to laugh and cheer for a not so unlikely political hero."
--Mark Meckler, co-founder of Tea Party Patriots