Tornado Alley

SYNOPSIS | TORNADO ALLEY (A-Novel-In-Stories) Written vaguely in the spirit of Easy Rider, Route 66, and Jack Kerouac's On the Road, TORNADO ALLEY is a collection of interconnected, darkly comic stories about an oversexed, over-educated, underachieving long haul trucker, who after spending the last few years picking up carnies, cons, drifters, grifters, borderline-crazy runaway brides, and precocious teen queen hitchers, now finds himself running for his life, trying to elude his long time nemesis, JAKE "THE SNAKE" CASTIANO, a vengeful, pill-popping mobster wantabe, who's quick-tempered wife ANGIE had once been married to the trucker. After Angie discovers that Jake had abused her daughter Sophie, she gets even with Jake by first divorcing him, and then by setting him up in an elaborate FBI sting which destroys his life long dream of making his bones with the Nevada mob. Bent on revenge, Jake blackmails the trucker -who is secretly still in love with Angie- into kidnapping Sophie. But once the trucker discovers that Sophie is actually his daughter, and not Jake's, he takes off to Canada with her, intending to meet up later with Angie, which so infuriates Jake that he personally vows to kill all three of them. When the trucker learns that Jake has gotten to Angie first, he vows to avenge her death, but when he tracks Jake down to a no-tell motel in Butte, he discovers that Angie's brother, a mobbed-up Mississippi cracker SAMMY RATS, who had worked for Jake, and is another of the trucker's one-time partners in small-time crime, had had beaten him to it. Sammy then goes after the trucker, determined to even the score with him for not only stealing his sister Angie, but for stealing money from him that Sammy had himself once stolen years earlier. But once Sammy gets sent to prison for icing Jake, the trucker, believing he and his wise-cracking, born-again daughter Sophie, are now safe, heads south for his family's homestead in Mississippi, intending to honor his ex-wife's dying wish by giving up trucking and getting Sophie into a proper school. But still bent on retaliation, from behind bars Sammy hires a low-life Biloxi gutter slug FLYNN BELLER, to kidnap Sophie. When Flynn decides to not only kidnap Sophie, but to brutally rape her, the enraged trucker wastes no time striking back. When what's left of Flynn's body is located in a bombed out machine shed, Sophie and her father once again find themselves on the run. But when the sympathetic Biloxi prosecutor, whose own daughter had been raped by Flynn, declares the death a suicide, and then inexplicably closes the case, the trucker packs up his Bible-thumping, right-to-life daughter and her (and Flynn's) new-born baby LUKE, and heads north for Montana, where the trucker's brand new Shake & Bake family can finally leave their violent past behind and start a brand new life together.

Chapters 1-3