Skydiving in Florida

In his new novel Smoke, Jeremy Chester uses his skydiving experience to enhance the central character, a former marine reconnaissance platoon sergeant, with plenty of experience, both in combat and for sport.  The point is that skydiving is useful for clandestine approach in wartime conditions, as well as a release for those people who enjoy play in three dimensions.  Skydiving in Florida is very popular, given the weather conditions year round.

The protagonist, in his twenties, is faced with a terrible problem:  not only was he a victim of circumstance (hauled in with others who actually were trafficking in drugs during a uniquely Nixonian raid in the early 1970s), he was then hustled into undercover service with the Department of Justice, and later, the Witness Protection Program. 

It gets more complex when the protagonist, code named Smoke by the Department of Justice, receives a letter saying simply, “I know who you are”, after two years in the Federal Witness Protection Program.  When he learns that those in the federal law enforcement bureaucracies know nothing of his exposure, he loses confidence in them and decides to go after his antagonist on his own. 

And this leads him to an extraordinary woman who has murdered her husband with the unwitting assistance of a private detective.  It is even more complicated by the fact that the detective did not know who his manipulator was, anymore than does Smoke. 

Not knowing this, however, Smoke, upon learning of the man’s complicity -- indeed participation -- in the woman’s execution of her husband, determines to find him and learn the full truth.

Jeremy Chester uses skydiving as a metaphor at the beginning of this chase.  Smoke is actually taking some time off under the severe stress of his current assignment, to go skydiving in Florida at Kendal Glider Airport, when he considers how to deal with the detective.  As anyone who knows the experience will confirm, launching oneself out the door of an airplane two miles above the earth is special. With experience, when one is skydiving, there is an immediate rush, controlled and delightful -- the bonds of gravity and the daily grind are gone -- and one can pretend superhuman powers, if only briefly.  As it happens, Smoke has all the power he needs to deal with a detective, without jumping out of a plane.

Want to read what it’s like to go skydiving in Florida or anywhere else? Get your copy of Smoke today!