Copyright ©2017 Steven Lane Smith/Website by Creative Resources

A Dolphin and a Pilot was named runner-up for the 2018 Reviewer's Choice Award for Best Novel. The book also received Honorable Mention awards for Best Novel at the 2018 New England Book Festival and the 2018 San Francisco Book Festival.

"An ocean tale brimming with excitement, hilarity, and exuberant characters."

 --  Kirkus Reviews

 

EVEN THE SMALLEST ACTS OF MERCY MATTER

A desperate pistol shot in a remote spot in the Pacific Ocean unites two of the world’s most accomplished acrobats, Flash and Captain Jon “Skip” Roper. Born just four miles apart, they both love acrobatics and they’re both in trouble. Their struggles to survive symbolize the universal urge of interdependent species to preserve life on our planet. Truly, the scope of mercy is greater than the boundaries of any single species.

EXCERPT

THE GANG CALLED Los Bandidos was both an irritant and a source of amusement to dolphins in the pod. The most reactionary members of the pod wanted to expel the motley crew of ruffians, but Churchill, able to recall his own wayward youth, warned his fellow Balboans that what might evolve to take the place of Los Bandidos might be worse.

     Every pod in the Pacific had a similar band of brigands made up of adolescent male dolphins aged between three and five years. Each of Los Bandidos’ goof-offs and smart-alecks was too young to start a family but too old to be satisfied hanging around with his parents. Gang members were variously reckless, rebellious, sarcastic, rude, half-witted, idle, cliquish, selfish, mischievous, proud to be accepted into the gang, and merciless toward adolescent dolphins denied acceptance.

     Churchill once summed up Los Bandidos this way: “Never have so many done so little for so few.”

     Adora frowned on Flash’s involvement with Los Bandidos, but Finbar, who wasn’t eager to hold up his own youth as a model of propriety, was more resigned to it, saying, “Humpf!  Hooligans will be hooligans.” 

     Flash was readily inducted into Los Bandidos because of his good looks and his athleticism. The gang of louts even waived giving Flash a nickname, because his name was so cool just the way it was. Nicknaming was an important ritual in Los Bandidos culture intended to promote comradeship among the unruly fraternity of delinquents. It normally was a primary order of business during induction of a new member. For Clyde and Cecil and other less-fortunately named gang members, a name change was thought to be vital. Satire and sarcasm were common.

     “Slim” was as fat as a pig because there wasn’t a time of day when he didn’t have a mackerel stuffed in his mouth.

     “Frank” was the truncated gang name for Frankenstein, possibly the ugliest dolphin in the Pacific. Beside Frank, a Morey eel looked gorgeous.

     “Grunge” had hygiene issues.

     “Gash” got his gang name when the propeller of a ski boat near La Jolla put a notch in his dorsal fin.

     “Stud” was the name claimed by the biggest and most cynical dolphin in Los Bandidos.

     “Gas Man” had flatulence challenges.

     “Einstein” was as dumb as piece of coral.

     “Lefty” listed to port when swimming because his left flipper had atrophied from being stuck in a Mason jar O-ring at an early age. The snout of a dolphin was too blunt an instrument to pry off the ring, and Lefty’s parents were too proud to ask a marlin or a sword fish for help.

     The most morose Bandido of all was called “Happy”.

     As for “Punk,” enough said.