Excerpt from the Book – #4

Life Inside the Dead Man’s Curve – The Chronicles of a Public-Safety Helicopter Pilot by Kevin McDonald

Excerpt from the Book – #4:

. . . Sharon strained to climb up the tree, but the rope around her waist was holding her down. She frantically tried to free herself from it, but she couldn’t. Wallace kept shouting at her to keep her head out of the water.

“I’m trying!” she shouted back.

The water continued to rise around her and she had no way to move higher into the tree. Sharon closed her eyes as the rising water began to pound her face. Sharon knew she was about to drown. She remembered reading somewhere that drowning was a peaceful experience.

Then she thought to herself, How do they know that?

Instead of surrendering, she began to get angry, refusing to accept her seemingly inevitable fate. She thought about her husband.

He’s going to be pissed. I can’t leave him.

Then she thought about her children. She tried—desperately tried—one last time, to move up the trunk of the tree.

Life Inside the Dead Man’s Curve Finally Released

Good news:  The publisher released the book today through my author website (http://kevinmcdonaldauthor.com/).  Both the hardcover and paperback editions are now available at the website, and within a few  weeks, they will also be available at Amazon and Barnes & Noble.  We will be scheduling a book-signing event at the Texas Chili Parlor in Austin, probably at the end of February.  I’ll keep everyone posted.

Excerpt from the Book – #3

Life Inside the Dead Man’s Curve – The Chronicles of a Public-Safety Helicopter Pilot by Kevin McDonald

Excerpt from the Book – #3:

My rational voice was shouting at me, telling me to turn the call down. My naval aviator voice was whispering in the background, telling me this was what I was trained to do. There was no getting around it, this was a moment that could define my career as a public-safety helicopter pilot—or possibly finish it.

Head still down, eyes still closed, I took a deep breath and forcefully exhaled. Dammit! I thought to myself. I didn’t come here to spend the whole night turning down rescue calls. If we can’t go get these people when they’re this close to our hangar, we should pack it up and go home.

When I opened my eyes and turned around, Chris Jones-Piercy was holding her radio up, waiting to relay my answer to the dispatcher.

“Let’s mount up!” I said.

Chris keyed her radio and said, “STAR Flight Two responding to FM 685 at Brushy Creek.”

Jim Allday hit the button that opened the hangar door, and as it opened, we were instantly drenched by wind-driven masses of rain—blowing straight in toward us.

Excerpt from the Book – #2

Life Inside the Dead Man’s Curve – The Chronicles of a Public-Safety Helicopter Pilot by Kevin McDonald

Excerpt from the Book – #2:

. . . Leaning my face toward the tiny window in the hangar door, my hands and elbows resting against the cold metal surface, I could feel it shuddering from the wind and rain on the other side. As Jim and Chris patiently waited behind me, I closed my eyes and quietly gathered my thoughts for what must have been a full minute. It wasn’t just my life on the line. There were two more people, standing right behind me, who were depending on me to make the right call. Spanky Handley, who was my boss, had turned down two rescues at Shoal Creek just an hour earlier, and I had already cancelled one for weather myself. Jim and Chris probably figured I would cancel this one as well.

Still leaning against the hangar door, eyes still closed, I lowered my head. I reached with my right hand and nervously rubbed my hair back and forth. Then I pulled down hard on the back of my head until my chin was resting firmly against the top of my chest. I thought about the other people who were depending on me to make the right call—the three people in the water. They were seven minutes away from us, straight up FM 685, barely more than a takeoff and a landing from the hangar.

It felt as if I was trying to process a million thoughts at once, but it all came down to this: Do I launch into the teeth of the storm and place my crew in harm’s way, or do I play it safe and cancel? One thing was absolutely certain. Nobody was ever going to question me if I decided to take a pass in this weather—nobody except for me, that is. No matter which way I chose, there was a chance I would end up regretting my decision.

Excerpt from the Book – #1

Life Inside the Dead Man’s Curve – The Chronicles of a Public-Safety Helicopter Pilot by Kevin McDonald

Excerpt from the Book – #1:

. . . In Austin, Texas, the 2001 winter solstice occurred on December 21, at 1:22 p.m. Central Standard Time. The night that began at official sunset that evening lasted thirteen hours and eleven minutes, making it the longest night of the year in the official astronomical records. For those of us at STAR Flight, however, the longest night of that year had already come—a little more than a month earlier, on November 15.

The events leading up to one of the worst floods ever seen by the residents of Central Texas actually began thirty-six hours prior to that night, when a slow-moving low-pressure system, packed with energy and moisture from the Gulf of Mexico, stalled north and west of Austin. The massive complex of storms camped there for the next two and a half days. The torrential rains it produced over a large portion of the state resulted in twelve deaths and more than a billion dollars in property damage, making it the deadliest and costliest Texas storm since the infamous Galveston hurricane in December of 1900.

. . . The final eight miles of the route she had chosen took Sharon Zambrzycki south along FM 685, a heavily traveled four-lane highway.

When she reached the bridge that crosses Brushy Creek at around 6:00 p.m., Sharon was exactly 13.8 miles north of the STAR Flight hangar. She saw something in her headlights she had never seen there before that night—the water, normally fifteen feet below the bridge, was moving across the highway.

Kevin McDonald’s Favorite Books

Life Inside the Dead Man’s Curve – The Chronicles of a Public-Safety Helicopter Pilot by Kevin McDonald

Kevin McDonald’s Favorite Books:

  • Tom Clancy’s Op-Center: Scorched Earth by George Galdorisi (soon to be released) I had the pleasure of a sneak peak, and this book is top shelf!

  • The Caine Mutiny by Herman Wouke

  • The Boys of Summer by Roger Kahn

  • Twelve O’Clock High by Beirne Lay, Jr. and Sy Bartlett

  • The Right Stuff by Tom Wolfe

Review of the Book by Igor Sikorsky

Life Inside the Dead Man’s Curve – The Chronicles of a Public Safety Helicopter Pilot by Kevin McDonald

Review of the Book by Igor Sikorsky:

After reading Life Inside the Dead Man’s Curve, Igor Sikorsky, noted aviation historian and son of the man who invented the helicopter, had this to say:

“Kevin’s work is a warm, compassionate story of helicopters in rescue missions. I only wish my father could have read it, as it brought Father’s passion for the helicopter as an instrument for saving lives into reality. The author spent thirty-five years and logged more than eleven thousand hours of flight time as a naval aviator and public-safety helicopter pilot. Kevin’s is an admirable story of a life well lived.”

Dog Ear Publishing Award of Literary Excellence

Life Inside the Dead Man’s Curve – The Chronicles of a Public Safety Helicopter Pilot by Kevin McDonald

Dog Ear Publishing Award of Literary Excellence:

“This project was unbelievably good! It was suspenseful, supremely well written, kept me turning the pages till the very end. I can’t say enough good things about it!!!”

Christy Phillippe
Dog Ear Publishing Editor