Extreme Odds, by Rick Hanson

I recently finished a book by a friend of mine, Rick Hanson, who’d passed away Feb 2, 2001.  We’d met in the early 1990s, at a Pikes Peak Writers Conference, in Colorado Springs, CO. In one of the conference sessions, we writers were reading portions of our work to editors and agents—as well as the entire room. We had people keep track of time as other writers read, since there were many who needed to read and we had a limited amount of time in which to get them all in. Rick was reading the opening pages to his manuscript, Spare Parts, and I was the timer for that session. As I remember my first impressions of him, he was quiet-ish and unassuming, an extremely friendly guy. So we all settle in, Rick gets up front, begins reading, and I begin timing:

“Never disembowel yourself with a claw hammer and never speak to Margot before noon.” *

This was the opening line to his first novel, Spare Parts. The room started laughing and kept on laughing the entire time. And I had the unenviable duty of having to call his time when it ran out. That wasn’t easy, I did it—but I wanted to hear more!

As luck (I don’t believe in “luck”) would have it, his manuscript was snatched up by Denise Little, for Kensington Publishing. Rick went on to publish five Adam McCleet books Spare Parts, Mortal Remains, Still Life, Splitting Heirs, and Extreme Odds, before pancreatic cancer took his life. Rick had later married Cassie Miles, who I also knew, and the two of them were the perfect pair, both fun loving and happy and I always remember them laughing. Before his death, he and his wife had made one more road trip up to the Northwest.

So, over the years, I’d read the first four books a couple times, but for some odd reason, it wasn’t until several years ago that I realized there was one more book of his out there I’d missed. Life kept getting in the way, I kept forgetting to search for it—whatever—but I finally did buy it a couple weeks ago, and read it last week. Good Lord, it was hilarious! It’s a whacky story (I love “whacky”) about a real-estate huckster who creates his own country…within the state of Oregon. Called Bob. What about Bob, you ask? Bob comes complete with its own security (and a trailer for a jail), financial system (how many bobs in a U.S. dollar—or is it the other way around?), radio station (K-BOB), and a different kind of “Bambi.” It made me realize how much I miss the guy! He was funny and I went to as many of his book signings as I could. The first four of his books are autographed, with my favorite autograph of all time on his Spare Parts. It reads “Thanks for buying my books. I need the money real bad.” This was so like him. And as I read Extreme Odds, I couldn’t help but notice the “death” themes running throughout the book, and wondered if he knew at that time in his life he had cancer. It made reading the last two lines of the book even more poignant. I still wonder at how I’d missed his last book, but I’m glad I’d finally found it and was able to “rediscover” this last work of his and enjoy it!

*Taken from Spare Parts, published by Pinnacle Mystery, 1994

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About fpdorchak

Paranormal fiction author.
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8 Responses to Extreme Odds, by Rick Hanson

  1. margaret y. says:

    Awwwww, nice. A lovely tribute.

    Now I must go find his books!

  2. Karen Lin says:

    Hooray for Rick, he was such a nice guy. And hooray for Denise for recoginizing it. And the quilt -like symbol/picture above looks like those iPhone photo bar code thingies…and that is exact terminology… Nice tribute Frank. Karen Lin

  3. Karen Duvall says:

    I loved Spare Parts! I still have it on my keeper shelf. Rick’s books are awesome. I sure do miss him.

  4. Janet Fogg says:

    A wonderful post, Frank, that brought back memories of Rick at writer’s conferences. Thank you for reminding us of his humor and his talent… Janet Fogg

  5. I received a copy of Extreme Odds as a freebie at Colorado Gold a few years ago. It is sitting, UNREAD, on my shelf. I guess I need to pick it up and read it. Thanks, Frank.

  6. Thanks, and thanks to everyone for stopping by and reading about Rick–did you know his family even put up a FB page (http://www.facebook.com/home.php#!/pages/Rick-Hanson/257560755069)? It was weird getting responses back from them under “Rick Hanson,” let me tell you. I do hope you all dig out your copies of the Adam McCleet books. I always made an effort to see him at conferences and books signings, and stay in contact with him as much as I possible back in preSocial Media days. He was such a cool guy.

  7. cathifinch says:

    Thanks for the reminder of what a hilarious writer was Rick Hanson and a down-to-earth nice fella’. Will now seek to find his other novels as well. He and Cassie Miles were an audacious team!!!

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