Tuesday, February 09, 2010

Review: Hauling Checks

Title: Hauling Checks
Author: Alex Stone
Genre: fiction
Price: $12.95
Publisher: AWS Books
ISBN: 978-1449563332
Point of Sale: Amazon
Reviewed by: Chris Gerrib

It’s a little-known fact, but for many years, every check written at a bank had to be physically air-freighted back to the original bank it was drawn on. Modern technology is slowly phasing this out, but in the meantime, a group of airfreight companies make a living flying this “work” around. These pilots refer to themselves as freight dogs. It’s a tough business, consisting of flying small turboprops out of secondary airports at night for little money.

It’s the world of Alex Stone, author of the new novel Hauling Checks. This short work (166 pages) is ostensibly the story of Checkflight, a (hopefully) fictional airfreight company swirling down the corporate drain. In reality, the book is an excuse for Alex to tell fictionalized exploits and anecdotes of his flying career. Very entertaining anecdotes, I might add.

Alex is an engaging writer, aiming at a general audience, so there’s no “I did a second IFR on the PDQ” technobabble. What aviation lingo you need to understand is explained. Even then, most of the entertaining stories aren’t about flying; they are about characters, from a copilot who’s afraid to fly to a company chief who dabbles in illegal activities and a senile dispatcher.

Now, the author is a young man, apparently single, and he hangs out with a young crowd, so there are a few adult words and situations. Having said that, Hauling Checks is an entertaining and quick look at a less-than-glamorous side of being a pilot. I’m very fond of Patrick Smith, who writes “Ask The Pilot” for Salon.com. Alex Stone shows the writing potential to be another Patrick Smith.


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