An American humorist who writes about outdoor activities such as hunting and fishing; for many years he contributed short stories to (and served as an "editor-at-large" for) Outdoor Life
magazine. Said stories, which have also been reprinted in several book collections, usually focus on his misadventures in the outdoors or recount highly-fictionalized anecdotes from his youth, which was mostly spent in the small town of Sandpoint (aka "Blight"
In recent years, he turned to writing a series of comedic mystery novels
set in an even more fictionalized modern-day Blight; the sheriff protagonist's elderly father is essentially an Author Avatar
. The series has been officially concluded, and McManus has announced on his own webpage that he now considers himself essentially retired.
His work contains examples of:
- The Alleged Car: the Mountain Car, affectionately named after his high school English teacher, Mrs. Peabody.
- Always Gets His Man: Sneed, the local game warden.
- Apron Matron: Pat's mother and grandmother.
- Big Sister Bully: the Troll.
- Blatant Lies: Cheerfully lampshaded.
- Brick Joke: His articles often end with one of these.
- Bungling Inventor: Crazy Eddie Muldoon is a kid version of this.
- Captain Ersatz: Not of anyone famous, but of the people he grew up with.
- Christmas Episode: Nearly every one of his books includes a Christmas-themed story.
- Deadpan Snarker: Pat himself is often one of these, as are many of the other people in his stories.
- Disappeared Dad: Pat's father died when he was a boy, and consequently appears very rarely in his stories. His stepfather Hank turns up fairly often, however.
- Greasy Spoon: Greasy Gert's Gas 'n' Grub, a truck stop that appears in some of his tales.
- Henpecked Husband: He occasionally depicts himself as one of these.
- Honest John's Dealership: Henry P. Grogan's War Surplus.
- Horrible Camping Trip: Numerous examples of From Bad to Worse.
- Lethal Chef: Important hunting-camp tip: never ever eat the green hash.
- Also mentioned in the same narrative as Green Hash is Whatcha-Got Stew, a concoction which is always improvised on the spot and composed of whatever foodstuffs the campers have in their possession, regardless of whether or not said foodstuffs were ever intended to be used together. Instructions for preparation include not staring directly into the pot.
- Mountain Man: His childhood mentor, Rancid Crabtree.
- Narrative Profanity Filter: "Bleeping bleep of a bleep!"
- No Sense of Direction: McManus himself; he invented the Modified Stationary Panic, which helps keep you from getting even more lost.
- Nostalgia Filter
- Obfuscating Stupidity: McManus sometimes depicts himself in his stories as not being terribly bright, especially as a kid in school.
- The Pig Pen: Rancid
- Quick Nip: The narrator's hunting companions are very fond of this trope, to the point that whoever is carrying the hip flask (and shares its contents) gets to be in charge.
- Rambling Old Man Monologue: He displays an appreciation for these over the years, and eventually starts indulging in them himself.
- Self-Deprecation: A Running Gag in his writing is his own inability to successfully hunt or fish for pretty much anything.
- From his book The Grasshopper Trap:
"..I have based the program on my own vast knowledge of fishing. In effect, it will be just as if the fisherman had me at his side, offering expert advice. As soon as I can figure out why the computer keeps telling outrageous lies and reminiscing about the old days, I'll get it patented."
- Too Dumb to Live: Several inhabitants of Blight, such as his cousin Buck, and his best friend Retch Sweeney.
- Unusual Euphemism: His neighbor Al Finley likes to call people by crude anatomical names, like "elbow" or "kneecap".
- Write Who You Know