Don't Mess with Travis by Bob Smiley


6 Critic Reviews

Smiley's first novel disproves the notion that conservatives can't be really funny.


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.


About Bob Smiley

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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.
Published May 8, 2012 by Thomas Dunne Books. 353 pages
Genres: Political & Social Sciences, Humor & Entertainment, Literature & Fiction. Fiction
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Critic reviews for Don't Mess with Travis
All: 6 | Positive: 5 | Negative: 1


Apr 15 2012

Smiley's first novel disproves the notion that conservatives can't be really funny.

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Dallas News

Reviewed by Kasey Pipes on May 11 2012

With this lively and charming debut, readers on both sides of the aisle will hope that Smiley’s novel won’t be his last.

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Reviewed by Ben Shapiro on May 30 2012

What follows is a laugh out loud, thrilling page turner that pits Ben Travis and a memorable cast of allies against the president...

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My San Antonio

Below average
Reviewed by Richard Santos on Jul 05 2012

However, the novel is full of digressions and digs that seem designed to appeal to small-government conservatives more than to advance the plot or develop characters.

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Reviewed by Jennifer Retter on Jun 04 2012

Although Smiley makes his right-leaning values obvious, the political humor and witty dialogue will appeal to readers on each end of the spectrum.

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The Kentucky Democrat

Reviewed by Daniel on Jul 03 2012

The book is an entertaining read for anyone with an interest in politics, no matter where in the political spectrum that they fall.

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