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Melville and Overland Park map

Picture of Richard Jennings

Richard W. Jennings

Ghost Town Cover

The Pirates of Turtle Rock book cover

Stink City book cover

Scribble book cover

Picture of Mystery in Mt. Mole book cover

My Life of Crime book cover

The Great Whale of Kansas book cover

Orwell's Luck book cover


Richard Jennings was born and raised in Tennessee.  After attending Rhodes College, he moved to Kansas City where he co-founded a popular book store, Rainy Day Books, where his books are always in stock.  

Mr. Jennings lives in Overland Park, Kansas, with his wife and family.  “He has five children, four grandchildren, a dog, a cat, and a parrot” (as seen on the cover of his books)

He has written novels, short stories, essays, articles, children’s activity books, has made several professional appearances, is a literary judge, and he continues to publish new works.

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Bibliography ( - housed in Thomas Fox Averill Kansas Studies Collection)  
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Writing Samples  

From The Great Whale of Kansas

A postcard on a bulletin board display had caught my eye, a cartoon of a huge, roaring tornado ripping through a tiny farm, blasting barns and bug-eyed animals to kingdom come.  Across the top of the swirling black cloud were bright yellow letters that spelled out the words JUST PASSING THROUGH KANSAS. […] Like tornadoes, most people don’t stay long in Kansas; they’re just passing though.  As the center of the entire country, Kansas is halfway to everywhere else.  Whether you’re headed east, west, north, or south, Kansas is little more than a place to refuel.  It’s been like this for a long time.  Pioneers, prospectors, Indians following bison herds – all were on the move, with few staying long enough to put down roots.  When you consider that in the middle of Kansas is Melville, why, it’s a miracle my hometown exists!

[...L]ightning ripped across the sky and hail the size of hard-boiled eggs began to clatter down around us, announcing a storm as fierce as any I've seen. With steadily increasing force, the wind whipped over the surface of the hole, sending a branch as big as a mosasaur crashing down from a hedgeapple tree. Crouched over the Cretaceous rock record, my father and I groaned in unison when from high atop a creosote-soaked pole in Higley Park, the tornado siren burst into a familiar and frightening wail. Welcome to Kansas! [...] Then, as suddenly as it had arrived, the storm seemed to go away. A peculiar odor, like that of escaping gas, hung in the air. I coughed, rubbed my eyes, and stood up to see what was going on. Clouds were swirling in circles high over my head, forming a long, dark tunnel leading to the sky. Lightning illuminated its twisting interior, flashing in steady repetition like photographers surrounding a movie star. A screaming noise pressed down on my father's voice. "Get down!" he screamed, tackling me behind the knees. Together, we collapsed back into the safety of my fossil excavation, just as what must have been a Burlington Northern Santa Fe freight train crossed overhead.

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Richard Jennings Author, on Facebook

Doctor's Foster and Smith Website

California Law Review "Tribute to Richard W. Jennings"

Publisher's Weekly

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