This is a work of fiction. Although it is based on a factual and very real set of circumstances that happened in Florida in the early 1970’s. The location is fictional and the town of Pine Hills does not exist, but is typical of many Florida towns. Some of the locations do exist in Florida, were not a part of the actual operation but were named to add realism to the story. The Island of South Caicos does exist but the town and the people are fictional and drawn from my travels throughout the islands.
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The novel is an interwoven story of four main Characters. A Colombian smuggling syndicate approaches Paul Stephens, who owns Stephens Aviation in Tampa, Florida. He takes on a contract to bring six loads of cannabis and cocaine into Florida from the northern coast of Colombia through an existing day to day airfreight operation to the island of South Caicos in the Southern Bahamas. Jeff Simpson owns a parachute center in Milwaukee Wisconsin and opens another in the small retirement town of Pine Hills, Florida. He leases aircraft from Paul, and his pilots become involved in the smuggling. One of those pilots is Bill Cass. He is the narrator of the story. Laura Lancini, who is the manager of the Chicken Shack, a restaurant in the small town, decides to take up skydiving and becomes involved with Bill. Nikki Hall, a passionate visiting Canadian skydiver, also becomes involved with Bill. This triangle adds an element of love and intrigue to the story.
The inside workings of the Colombian Syndicate and the DEA, as well as the sport of skydiving and the love of aircraft, bind the stories together as the individuals interact . The rich descriptions of life in the Bahamas from an islander’s point of view add color and a taste of island life.
This novel chronicles the efforts of the DEA to catch the smugglers, who carry on under their noses. In the end, the protagonist sees the disintegration of his lifestyle and leaves to be with the woman he loves and escape the scrutiny of authorities.