Five Uproarious Stars,

In the opening scenes of Hauling Checks, the pilot is gazing languidly out his cockpit window at an engine that's fully engulfed in fire. The air traffic controller, who can clearly see the conflagration, asks if the airplane needs to make an emergency landing.

"Nope, we're good," the pilot says nonchalantly. "Just gotta go back to the ramp."

He says this because requesting an emergency landing will require paperwork. Lots of it. 

And Freight Dogs hate paperwork. Even worse than crash landings.

Thus begins one episode of the droll and dark comedy that takes place every night in the airspace above our heads. 
"Freight Dogs" is what the down-and-dirty-and-proud-of-it pilots of these airplanes call themselves. For decades, they have carried the paper checks from thousands of banks to other banks across the country, every night without fail, long before the notion of electronic banking ever thought of taking hold.

But take hold it has, and it is spelling the end of this dubious industry that apparently was always a bit on the skeezy side anyway. This book is, in a way, one man's tribute to those halcyon days of flying in flip flops and spending your time off drinking or womanizing -- or both -- when you should be storing up the energy to coax yet another poorly patched plane into the air.

First-time author Alex Stone has done an excellent job of taking a troubled footnote from aviation's storied history and giving it creditable life as a tribute -- sort of -- to the motly cast of characters who populate this hilarious novel. They're all just weird enough to be real.

In doing so, he has created a worthy read that will delight anyone who has ever actually personally flown an aircraft of any kind -- and probably horrify anyone who has ever flown inside an aircraft. Because it reminds us that, for better or worse, airplanes are flown -- and maintained by -- people just like you and me. Flawed, imperfect and occasionally incompetent.

Oh, sure, real airline pilots don't live the kind of debauched life played out in these pages. But we've all heard enough about airlines who double up their flights to save a buck, forcing flight crews to manage on far less sleep than is optimal for flight safety. Probably explains the many two-hop landings we've experienced personally over the years.

Still, it's all in fun. and you'll giggle over the dementia-induced prattlings of Barbara, the aged dispatcher for Checkflight. And you'll roll your eyes at Karen, the other dispatcher, whose tall tales about a husband who may or may not exist exceed the boundaries of believeability. And then there's Tony, the mechanic whose boss forces him to continue wearing orange jumpsuits to work, lest anyone forget he's fresh out of prison.

But some of the best scenes are reserved for the perpetually apoplectic and equally unreasonable Chief (owner of this dismal company) and The Co (copilot) who is well beyond worthless as both a copilot and as a human being. 

As has been mentioned in other reviews, the entire book could easily fuel the script needs for a fusion remake of Seinfeld, Taxi and Wings all rolled into one and stamped with an "R" rating.

Five uproarious stars to Hauling Checks -- one of the best Christmas gifts arriving on runway two-niner in your Amazon shopping cart for any private pilot friends you might have. - Publishers Daily Reviews

Irreverent Comedic Read!,

Examining the hilarious underside of the cargo shipping business is Hauling Checks by Alex Stone. The narrator is a “freight dog,” a cargo pilot, employed by Checkflight, a company that primarily transports checks for banks. Unfortunately, for Checkflight the modern world is transitioning from paper instruments of payment to electronic payments. This drives the unscrupulous company to extreme cost-cutting measures such as using barely serviceable planes to employing pilots with sketchy or non-existent credentials.

As Checkflight’s business situation worsens the Chief, the owner, concocts increasingly desperate measures to keep the company flying, including, transporting farm animals; illegal drugs; and money laundering. In the midst of this chaos is the narrator, a relatively conscientious pilot, who is surrounded by a cast of misfits, drunkards, pathological liars, and other degenerates.

Stone is a talented writer with a deft comedic touch. For instance, witness this passage:

What’s your first instinct when the Feds show up for a ramp check? Show them your certificates? Maybe if you work for another airline. If you work for Checkflight, set the plane on fire and run for the fence. If you get caught, deny everything, claim you’ve never seen the plane before in your life.

Hauling Checks is an irreverent and entertaining read! -


Fly The Unfriendly Skies,

“Hauling Checks” by Alex Stone is a humorous, yet very enlightening novel that brings to light a profession that so many people have probably never heard of, or would ever be brave enough to try.  The occupation of Freight Dogs is unique and dangerous.  Flying small airplanes in storms, fog, lightning, ice, and snow; Freight Dogs transport their cargo wherever and whenever, no matter what the conditions may be.  This interesting and humorous novel kept my attention from the start.

In “Hauling Checks” the pilots of Checkflight Airlines persevere, risking life and limb every minute they are in the air, carrying canceled checks that have to be delivered to banks.  Their boss (The Chief) does not care about the lives of his pilots, only the money he needs to keep his business afloat.  The fact that the engine might be on fire, the wings might be so iced up that the plane may not make it off the ground, or the fog so dense that the pilots cannot see does not seem to faze him, nor does he care. 

Resorting to unethical and shady business practices, The Chief is thoughtless, unfeeling, and mercenary.  He cuts costs, salaries, pilots, and more in his final resort to save Checkflight when it becomes apparent that his airline might go under.  In order to compensate for his lack of management skills, he decides to resort to some unsavory business practices such as having his pilots make drug runs, money laundering flights, and transporting people who he claims can sit on the floor of the plane without seatbelts or a seat, just a rope to tie around them to keep them from falling out of the plane.  The situations will make you laugh, and keep you on the edge of your seat dying to see what happens next. 

With a cast of characters so ill suited to their profession, the pilots create havoc wherever they go, and rarely make their destinations on schedule.  This novel really keeps you laughing and yet it’s a little frightening to think that these things could really happen.  The narrator flies with one co-pilot that is always plastered and another who is depressed over two failed marriages and is just a drop delusional, which makes flying with him quite an experience. 

These underpaid, unappreciated pilots of Checkflight Airlines clock an insurmountable number of hours flying for a company that gives them no perks, no bonuses, and certainly no help when trouble arises in the air.  On one run they leave a door open and the checks fall out of the plane.  Before you know it reporters are televising pictures of these bank checks raining all over downtown Cleveland.  It is like an Abbot and Costello movie but even funnier.

Also part of the mix are Checkflight’s two dispatchers, who are totally unfit for their positions, and have no clue as to what they are supposed to be doing.   One of the dispatchers is senile, and barely remembers where she is, or her own name, and the other lives in her own imaginary world.  You never know what is going to happen, and yet the situations that are described are so far out, you just have to laugh or stop and say: “You have to be kidding.” 

The pilots fly planes that are poorly maintained and in terrible disrepair.  Fixing and repairing planes is out of the question.  Mechanical failures arise constantly and the people who own Checkflight airlines do not care.  The safety of the pilots is not their concern, only the timely delivery of the cargo.  I would not exactly call them Checkflight airlines, maybe No Budget Airlines or High Jinks Airlines.  But, whatever you call them, this book is great. 

For those men out there who are Freight Dogs, you deserve a lot of credit.  This book, although humorous, shows the seedier side of flying.  As a pilot who has experienced a lot of situations in the air, and as someone who was a Freight Dog, the author writes from experience making the novel more realistic to the reader.  “Hauling Checks” is so funny that I could not put it down.  The stories, the incidents, and the characters will keep the reader astounded until the very end.    



Freight Doggin,

Hilarious book that opens your eyes to the fringes of aviation. Colorful characters and plenty of high jinx will keep you turning the pages quickly. If you have ever even thought of being a pilot this is a must read! I can only hope that the author will come out with more novels. - reviewer


Funniest flying book I ever read!,

Being a pilot myself I love any book dealing with flying. I can honestly say "Hauling Checks" is the funniest I've read. I couldn't put it down. The characters are so colorful and full of life and the classic "Freight Dog" mentality. I found myself, many times, laughing out loud at the many antics depicted. A truly wonderful book for a first time author. Hope to see more of this author's works in the future! I was very pleased to see this book come out for the Kindle. - reviewer


Oh, the memories!,

I saw the cover of this book and knew I had to read it. I used to fly checks back in the day and this book brings back some good memories! This book kept me laughing the whole time. For being the authors first book, this was fantastic. The characters in this book were classic "freight dogs". This book was a very easy read. - reviewer 



I'm not a pilot but I found this book on the kindleboards and it looked interesting. The book was extreamely creative, especially for a new author. I loved the characters, The Co is my favorite. And The One Gallon Challenge was one of the funniest things I've ever read. - reviewer


A Former Freight Dawg Remembers!,

Alex Stone knows his freight dawgs and bottom-feeder freight companies! This book, a quick read, tells some of the odd-ball stories floating around the freight world. A fun read if you're a former (or current) freight dawg...we KNOW or have heard of people like those who populate Alex's book. Great Christmas gift for the aviator in your family or for a fun weekend read. - reviewer


Aviation at its Finest,

A funny, exaggerated look into a freight airline company and all of their over looked problems.  Lots of hilarious segments will have your attention right from the get go and the page turning will not stop.  An awesome read whether you are an airline pilot, "freight dog", or even if you've never flown in your life.  This book is awesome. - reviewer



Extremely funny and entertaining book, I couldn't put it down and read it in 2 short days. It's one of those books where you wish there were more pages. - reviewer


Excellent read!,

This book had me laughing out loud from page one all the way to the end. The quick wit and hilarious characters made the book a very enjoyable read. I highly recommend this book for any pilot- and for anyone that has flown freight it is a must read. - reviewer


Aviation meets "The Hangover",

"Hauling Checks" is the story of a horribly disfunctional freight airline in it's twilight.  Hilarity ensues as the moraly questionable employees of Checkflight make all the wrong descisions, finding themselves in one predicament after another.  The characters are memorable and the laughs are non-stop.  Highly recommended!!! - reviewer


Great book!,

Hilarious book!  I could not put it down, every chapter kept me laughing!  I would recommend it hands down! - reviewer


Raining Laughs!,

The beginning of Hauling Checks indeed is quite humorous. In the "Freight Dog" industry they live by the motto, "Any place, Any time, Any weather," ... religiously! The best parts of this quick amusing read was the pilot's conversations with the chief, and his wit and ability handling planes under any conditions, often to include going co-pilot-less, despite a lukewarm body being seated (sometimes "nut strap" harnessed) in the co-pilot's seat. I couldn't help but to keep thinking that this man (the pilot) needs to fly for major commercial airlines, where his service would be appreciated. This made the ending most rewarding to hear what became of his career. A misbehaving, enjoyable light read. - reviewer

Dogs Don't Fly, but some dudes fly checks,

This book was funny from start to finish. If any of it is true I will eat my headset. But seriously, you will enjoy the story. It is well written and you cannot put it down once you start reading. Buy this book and see the funny side of the crazy thing we do when we strap on a little airplane and sail off into the wild blue yonder. - reviewer


A fast, entertaining read.,

A lot of people may not even know what a "freight dog" is but read this book, and you'll understand. A mixture of real life experiences set in a fictional story make for a fun read. - reviewer


An Entertaining Ride,

This is a comedy about flying checks from bank to bank at night and by comedy I mean every crazy, hair brained stunt you could think of, is done in this book and more. The pilot in the story seems to be an okay guy but the company he works for is as crazy and dirty as they come. The book chronicle some of the pilots adventures working for this company. I'm serious it's a good thing you know it's fiction or this book would go from funny and relaxing to downright freaky lol.
It read a lot like a memoir but is in fact a work of fiction. Good thing the author makes sure you know this or flying at night would become a nerve wracking event. All in all this was an entertaining, quick read that I enjoyed. -


Review: Hauling Checks,

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 work 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 Alex Stone shows the writing potential to be another Patrick Smith. - Chris Gerrib for

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