Hurricane Alley
Hurricane Alley

Book Summary

John Ludlow, an Air Force Hurricane Hunter in Biloxi MS, falls in love with a classy hooker from New Orleans. The woman’s pimp, in league with the local drug king pin, sees an opportunity to use Ludlow’s airplane to smuggle their cocaine into the country. They use her to compromise Ludlow and the rest of his crew into picking up a load of dope in Jamaica while ostensibly inside the eye of a hurricane, and then returning home to Biloxi with it. Things go wrong.

Richard Dickinson Comments

I spent five years as a weather reconnaissance officer in the Air Force, chasing typhoons from Guam and hunting hurricanes from Biloxi MS. The recon crews were an odd bunch of daredevils and thrill junkies looking for something exciting to do in the peacetime Air Force. We got into a lot of trouble. (If you’ve never been thrown out of a fisherman’s bar along the industrial waterfront in the Azores, you’ve never really raised hell.) The idea for Hurricane Alley came from my recon crew of schemers, who flew many missions throughout the tropical oceans over countless atolls with airstrips on them. In those remote regions, we flew unhindered by any air traffic control. We reported our position and current weather conditions via HF radio, but nobody really knew where we were. We thought about landing on one of those uninhabited islands and spending a day at the beach, while radioing back fake position reports every hour. We never had the nerve to actually do it, but this is what the crew of Gull 22 does in their effort to smuggle drugs.

Excerpt from Hurricane Alley

            Dana was no longer impressed nor intimidated by the intemperate melodrama of the Officer’s Club on a Friday night. In that exuberant atmosphere, highly educated and worldly men purged the aggravations of the week in drunken exhibitions of childish debauchery. Sophisticated men with lives as ordered as their navigation charts, secure among their peers, stood on their bar stools, drank beer directly from the pitcher and sang obscene songs as idiotic as the songs their children sang at summer camp. The bar at the Keesler Air Force Base Officers’ Open Mess was a perfect laboratory for the study of the male myth: machismo was rampant, as palpable as the androgen loosed by the members’ sweat glands.

            As the sisters approached the door, they could hear the hubbub of voices, all male, coalescing into cleansing pandemonium. Dana ignored the clutch of leering pilots crowding the entrance, and with a squeeze of Michelle’s hand she yanked her sister through the gauntlet into the twilight of the bar. The scene was appalling. Only during Mardi Gras had Michelle experienced an ambiance comparable to the raunchy bedlam created by two hundred athletic, clean-shaven men, their twenty-twenty vision fogged by gin and cigar smoke as they blustered and bandied about. Popcorn flew through the air along with vile insults about the sexual habits of men in rival squadrons.


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