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Mortal Remains ? An Adam McCleet Mystery
Kensington Publishing 1996
Paperback 253 pages
If you like Carl Hiassen or Kinky Friedman you are going to like Rick Hanson and sculptor / detective Adam McCleet. Mortal Remains has that same kind of offbeat humor, over the top characters, and subtle social commentary to which a mystery is added for good measure. This is a tongue in cheek and sculpture in the noggin mystery novel that works all the way through.
In his second outing, sculptor Adam McCleet gets himself interned at the Mount Prairie Institute and perhaps sinister funny farm. This after the head shrink at Mount Prairie and McCleet's best friend gets killed by a patient and McCleet orchestrates the escape of his girlfriend's brother and three wacky Vietnam vets from the institute.
Those familiar with the Ewen Cameron CIA sponsored psychological experiments at McGill University in the late fifties and early sixties will find echoes of that story in this mystery by Rick Hanson. If you read the story about the experiment where psychiatrists sent perfectly normal people to a funny farm to see how their colleagues would react -they found something wrong with every normal person sent to them while the crazies knew the new guys were perfectly normal-you will also find something like that in Mortal Remains.
Mortal Remains is a wild and crazy, well written and funny mystery novel. Hanson manages to adroitly balance the thrilling whodunit with the wildly comic while keeping his sculptor / investigator very believable. The secondary characters, from the three nutty vets known as the Death Squad to Birkenshaw, the sandal wearing (get it?) violent peacenik, are well defined and interesting to follow around too.
This Rick Hanson mystery is not one of those quick paced, tightly written novel but more of a well paced, quirky, and funny whodunit. This is popcorn for the brain and very enjoyable popcorn at that. Granted, the ending is a bit weak. You know whodunit but the motivation is a bit thin. Still, Mortal Remains is a fun read.