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Reviewed by Jack Magnus for Readers' Favorite
Ride Hard Die Free is an adventure fiction novel written by John Michael Hanzlik. Hammer cursed when an incoming phone call disconnected his computer, making him lose everything he had been working on, but the actual phone call he received more than made up for the inconvenience. It was his good mate Rappin’ Ronnie, and he had called to let Hammer know about the Poker Run for Remember MIA/POW Day that was coming up this Saturday. Jerry had called Ronnie with the news, who was then making sure everyone they rode with knew about the ride and was there for sign-up at nine on Saturday morning.
John Michael Hanzlik’s marvelous MC road-trip adventure novel, Ride Hard Die Free, had me understanding finally what’s going on in bikers’ minds as they travel, sometimes in packs of hundreds, from town to town, the roar of their machines presaging their coming and lingering on after they have left. I loved becoming aware of the magic, the camaraderie and the dedication of these vets who won’t forget those who didn’t come back, and I soon became infected with the need to know if Hai would indeed draw the winning poker hand. Hanzlik’s Vietnam stories, which are interspersed as Hammer’s flashbacks, are some of the most compelling and vivid war memoirs I’ve read in some time, especially the story about the secret prison where Hammer ends up for refusing to pay a bribe. Hanzlik’s writing flows effortlessly and smoothly, seamlessly emulating the endless miles Hammer’s Harley rides during the Poker Run, and I felt a genuine sense of regret when the Run finally ended. I’m looking forward to reading more of this author’s work. Ride Hard Die Free is most highly recommended.