I Have A Bomb Here And I Would Like You To Sit By MeThat Was The Note Handed To A Stewardess By A Mild Mannered Passenger On A Northwest Orient Flight In It Was The Start Of One Of The Most Astonishing Whodunits In The History Of American True Crime How One Man Extorted , From An Airline, Then Parachuted Into The Wilds Of The Pacific Northwest And Into Oblivion D B Cooper S Case Has Become The Stuff Of Legend And Obsessed And Cursed His Pursuers With Everything From Bankruptcy To Suicidal Despair Now With Skyjack, Journalist Geoffrey Gray Delves Into This Unsolved Mystery Uncovering New Leads In The Infamous CaseStarting With A Tip From A Private Investigator Into A Promising Suspect A Cooper Lookalike, Northwest Employee, And Trained Paratrooper , Gray Is Propelled Into The Murky Depths Of A Decades Old Mystery, Conducting New Interviews And Obtaining A First Ever Look At Cooper S FBI File Beginning With A Heart Stopping And Unprecedented Recreation Of The Crime Itself, From Cabin To Cockpit To Tower, And Uncanny Portraits Of Characters Who Either Chased Cooper Or Might Have Committed The Crime, Including Ralph Himmelsbach, The Most Dogged Of FBI Agents, Who Watched With Horror As A Criminal Became A Counter Culture Folk Hero Who Supposedly Shafted The System Karl Fleming, A Respected Reporter Whose Career Was Destroyed By A Cooper Scoop That Was A Scam And Barbara Nee Bobby Dayton, A Transgendered Pilot Who Insisted She Was Cooper HerselfWith Explosive New Information And Exclusive Access To FBI Files And Forensic Evidence, Skyjack Reopens One Of The Great Cold Cases Of The Th Century Just not good OK, it s time somebody stepped up, came out and just plain said, Enough already Non fiction authors, please, please, please, STOP trying to write historical narratives like Erik Larson Please stop the slice and dice multiple narrative juggling gimmick in which stories are divvied out in tiny spoonfuls, shifting back and forth over long spans of time and interrupted in mid action in embarrassing Dan Brown Da Vinci Code cliffhanger style, and then resumed several chapters and dozens of pages later after five other narratives have been dribbled out and interrupted, and by which time I ve forgotten who the hell these people are and what they are doing in the resumed narrative s Does every non fiction book have to play like Pulp Fiction nowadays If someone kept opening the door to my bedroom like this every time I was having sex it wouldn t take me very long to get royally pissed Simply put, you are interrupting my enjoyment, authors and authoresses And I m a terrible multitasker I love seeing a thought played out fully to its conclusion I happen to believe that a good story which this is does not need this kind of treatment, nor does it have to be this glib and snarky another regrettable contemporary tendency In addition, there s a bit of the Gonzo at work here, with Gray injecting himself into the story fairly well, I think , but this is not great Gonzo for that, see Among the Thugs by Bill Buford, which I recently reviewed But, God, I wish for the days when historical narratives yes, with multiple centers of interest could be told in a linear and serious fashion without the gimmickry John Toland, alas, is dead.I honestly didn t want to know this much minute detail about the lives and mundane adventures of crackpot suspects like Duane Weber or Kenny Chistensen or Barb Dayton in fact I wish the Duane and Jo Weber narrative, which figits and frets about in an annoying and maddening conspiratorial frenzy but which goes absolutely nowhere and is confusingly told, had been omitted entirely The screwball antics of the scientists and Cooper cultists I also found plodding and padded I just wanted to know the results of what they found out and not have to read about their fumblings for page after page I m sorry, but however much they amuse author Gray they bored me I enjoyed the book most when it stuck to the known facts of the case, and particularly those relating to the primary suspect, Richard Floyd McCoy, and also to the speculations about Cooper s likely landing sites and the fate of his stolen money I understand the point of the author s inclusion of so many suspects is to show how infused the legend of Cooper has become in the pop zeitgeist that so many people continue to obsess over the case and that various loonies have come to believe that they themselves are Cooper or that their friends and relatives believe them to be so even after the FBI has ruled them all out It is an interesting phenomenon It s so interesting that it might have been enlightening to have some psychological explanation included by experts But it s not here.With a reshuffle and heavy editing, this could be a great rundown of the D.B Cooper case, since all the facts are here and they are fascinating Rather than summarize the case, I ll refer you to Wikipedia I think, though, the author faced with not much to work with decided to turn his book into a kind of kaleidoscopic comic extravaganza commentary on Americana, which is not a book I cared to read Actually, the book is a good and yes, recommendable overview of the D.B Cooper case though I suspect artistic license at play in various details , and will reward any reader who doesn t mind having his or her head batted around like a ping pong ball. Archer What, no, I bet he faked his own death so he can expose the mole Lana There is no mole, and faked it how Archer Paging Dr Cooper Dr D.B Cooper Lana, he obviously bailed out and Lana And then landed safely, buried his chute, ran ten miles to the crash site and then strapped himself into the still burning wreckageThis isn t the first time and certainly won t be the last that I decided to read a book based solely on an Archer reference D.B Cooper was the alias for the man whose crime puts him on most top ten lists of famous disappearances and unsolved mysteries though, depending on who you ask, I guess it s pseudo solved todaysort of He skyjacked a Northwest Airlines commercial flight in 1971 and either mysteriously plummeted to the ground or got away with 200 G s never to be found, despite an extensive hunt by the FBI.The author journalist comes across the D.B Cooper case when a PI calls him in regarding a guy who commissioned him to deliver a letter to Nora Ephron, which, fast forward a bit, turned out to be about the fact that he was sure D.B Cooper had, in fact, been his brother The first thing that pops into Gray s mind is book deal and also Pulitzer Prize, which we hear his internal monologue about quite a few times throughout the book As the investigations continue, we come across an array of theorists and theories all sure that they know the identity of the elusive D.B Cooper The stories are compelling and interesting in their own right a transexual ex military pilot, a Northwest Airlines desk clerk with a bone to pick etc Unsurprisingly, the theorists themselves are quite a cast This would have made an excellent episode of This American Life as the conversations and characters are, well, curious and emphatic Another reviewer likened this book to Jon Ronson s The Psychopath Test A Journey Through the Madness Industry, which I also listened to as an audiobook I definitely see the resemblance the books are part theory, part history, part author s journey into going native As an audiobook, however, the author reader lacked that accent that Ronson has that for whatever reason always reassures me that he isn t taking himself to seriously It s not that Gray thinks this is a serious, hard hitting piece of journalism the references to his Pulitzer are clearly made with full knowledge of their ridiculousness in hindsight However, he still lacked Ronson s charming irreverence The conclusion isn t exactly satisfying I don t think I m spoiling anything by giving away the last line is something to the effect of Calm down and read me the recipe for the cherry cheesecake an obvious suggestion that he too has fallen victim to the Cooper curse It s an interesting story and a short enough read, but as the author s sources each go silent and decide to pursue their own book deals, one can t help but wonder what makes his worth it than others. This is the type of true life story that absolutely fascinates me In the early 70s, a man boarded a plane, said he had a bomb, got a ransom, parachuted out the back of the plane while it was mid flight, and then was never found I first heard about DB Cooper as a kid when watching an episode of Unsolved Mysteries This in depth search for the identity of Cooper was incredibly interesting.
My mother worked as a caterer From as early as I can remember, it was me and my younger sister lugging the soup pots and cookie trays and shrimp skewers from our kitchen into the van, then arriving at a client s house and trying to make them feel comfortable in their own home It was an incredible social experiment for a young child I learned how to schmooze with the folks that hired us, and the
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- Skyjack: The Hunt for D.B. Cooper
- Geoffrey Gray
- 18 February 2017 Geoffrey Gray