Skyjack: The Hunt for D. B. Cooper
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Skyjack: The Hunt for D. B. Cooper

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3.1 of 5 stars 3.10  ·  rating details  ·  563 ratings  ·  115 reviews
“I have a bomb here and I would like you to sit by me.”

That was the note handed to a stewardess by a mild-mannered passenger on a Northwest Orient flight in 1971. It was the start of one of the most astonishing whodunits in the history of American true crime: how one man extorted $200,000 from an airline, then parachuted into the wilds of the Pacific Northwest and into ob...more
Hardcover, 320 pages
Published August 9th 2011 by Crown (first published January 1st 2011)
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Evan
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 la...more
Mara
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 wreckage?

Paging Dr. Cooper, Archer

This 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...more
Cynthia
Who was Cooper?

"Skyjack" is an over the top story but then so was D. B. Cooper’s skyjacking of Northwest flight 305 on the day before Thanksgiving in 1971. Gray does a great job at engaging his audience no matter how many disparate characters and theories he stuffs into his tale. It takes some patience to suspend your belief until all the pieces are tied together or at least there’s an effort in that direction. This is a big story with lots of pieces. Gray packs a lot into 300 pages including so...more
Brian
Who is DB Cooper? This book is not the answer. The famed Skyjack of the 1970's that allowed someone by the name DB Cooper to hijack an airplane, jump out of it and disappear into the annuls of history has caused countless speculations over the years. A massive FBI Manhunt ensued that led to many arrests but no convictions or any real clue as to who the hijacker was. The author focuses on the hunt for the elusive DB and goes through the various theories about who and what the hijacker did. He cov...more
Sally
This book had so much promise, and it started off well enough. The first part recreates Dan Cooper's hijacking of the Northwest Orient flight, from the moment he gets on the plane until the flight crew realize he is no longer aboard. The next section looks at the initial investigation.

From there, it's downhill. This is now a record of Gray's descent into conspiracy. He starts with being given the name of a possible suspect and starts looking into him. We then get to hear about other suspects, an...more
Gail
It seems that every couple of years, another book comes out with new information about D.B. Cooper. Remember him? He's the guy that hijacked a Northwest Orient plane back in 1971, got $200,000 and parachuted off into oblivion. He's never been found.
This latest offering recreates the crime and then introduces a whole cast of quirky characters. The tale jumps around at different time periods so remembering everybody can be confusing. The author had access to FBI files and supposedly "new" informat...more
four_eyes
Crazy. That is what I kept muttering to myself while reading this true account of a plane hijacker who not only successfully pulled off "the perfect crime" in the amount of $200,000 in the 1970s (not sure what the inflation rate is now) but also, to this very day, was not only never caught, but was also never identified. Crazy also because the plan was so straightforward (wear some shades, hand a simple handwritten note to a stewardess, take the money, then while in flight, parachute down into t...more
Wendy
Oh how quaint, those long lost days of the monthly air hijack that ended either in Cuba, or in a parachute jump with a satchel full of cash. Back in the early 70s, before metal detectors and pat-downs became a rite of passage in airports, the hijack was practically a spectator sport. And, so the legend goes, it was all started by a John Doe known to the media as D.B. Cooper.

My first encounter with the D.B. Cooper urban legend was in a book I had as a kid about unsolved mysteries. I remember the...more
Julie
I was absolutely riveted by Gray’s thorough investigation into the D.B. Cooper mystery. He explores not only the incident itself and the subsequent investigation, but the political instability of the nation and the structure of commercial aviation during the late 60’s and early 70’s. He uses his own experiences interviewing witnesses and investigators as the framework of the book, and intersperses his narrative with the biographies of possible suspects. Initially, I thought the writing was disjo...more
Christian Petrie
There has always been something about a real life unsolved mystery that captivates me. Sometimes not knowing the solution can cause people to come up with interesting theories. The D.B. (Dan) Cooper is one of those mysteries that still captivates people.

When new theories are presented, they can go a couple of ways. Sometimes the theory is interesting, other times just off the wall. Skyjack is a mixture as it does help you understand the case, but is presented in a way that can turn people off

Fir...more
Jaclyn Day
I was really, really excited to get this book from the library. I’ve always had a weird fascination with this incident, especially considering it happened long before I was born. I think I saw a few specials on the History Channel or some such thing and was intrigued by the mysterious hijacking case.

If you’re not familiar with who or what I’m talking about, in November of 1971, a man calling himself Dan Cooper (later turned into D.B. Cooper in the media) hijacked a plane, secured $200,000 in ran...more
jess
In 1971, a normal-looking guy on a Northwest Airlines flight out of Portland hands a note to a stewardess. The note says that he has a bomb and he wants $200,000 and a parachute. The airline delivers. He disappears with the money and an urban legend is born. I've been interested in this case since I learned about it at the Northwest Mystery Museum a few years ago, so I was really glad I finally got around to reading a book on the subject.

The author starts from a position of nearly complete ignor...more
fleegan
This book is a good overview of the D.B. Cooper case. In 1971 a man going by the name Dan Cooper hijacked a plane and actually got away with it.

The book adds some new characters, and when I say characters I mean it. (Everyone in this book is awesomely crazy.) The author does a really good job of making these people very human and interesting. (read: crazy.) And even though he writes about these very dedicated/obsessed people he still manages to keep the tone respectful. Mr. Gray breaks the story...more
Kathleen
This book does not solve the mystery of D. B. Cooper's identity. Rather, it revels in the many treasure hunters, investigators, witnesses, and suspects unveiled by the cursed quest to solve this mystery. Gray gives a detailed portrait of the lives that have been touched by this case, and they are very interesting lives. My favorite of his suspects is Barbara Dayton--whose difficulty acquiring a male to female transgender operation in the early seventies is also well described--because I love the...more
Samantha
I have to admit, I am so very conflicted about this fascinating and completely engrossing book. Author Geoffrey Gray's personal hunt for D. B. Cooper reads like a fabulously unbelievable fiction story and, knowing the current status of the case I was totally setting myself up for disappointment as I got sucked further and further into the story--waiting for the ending and it just ended. That's it. Gray totally left us hanging. Is he saving the last "clue" for another book? Or was it another ques...more
Sunsettowers
A fascinating and comprehensive look at a crime that can never really be solved (no matter how hard those affected by the "Cooper Curse" try, Skyjack covers the suspects and theories that have been thrown around since the infamous hijacking and parachute drop by D.B. Cooper. The author has a great irreverent writing style, especially when he writes about being captured by the Cooper Curse himself, and as someone who is fascinated by D.B. Cooper, I learned a lot.
Justin Mitchell
Lots of fun. Sort of reminded me of The Psychopath Test--starts on one track, and finds itself taken to bizarre and unexpected places in its examination of its subject matter. There seems to be a new trend in nonfiction I've read recently, a freer, more essay-like form in which the subject is allowed to become whatever it may care to be.

There's something amazing about the D.B. Cooper case, and many other people agree with me. Love how Gray makes the last section of the book about the crazy subcu...more
Deb
I became aware of this book while doing a little investigation myself. I had just read the book "Empty Mansions", and I was on a one day trip in New York City. I already knew that the Carter mansion was demolished. In its place was an apartment building, evidence that the city was expanding. I did visit the Frick mansion which contains an impressive collection of artwork. After that, I walked through Manhattan, watched for signs of mansions that still exist, and asked questions of those around m...more
Matt Isenhower
No, the mystery has not been solved, and it probably never will be. For those of you who don't know, in 1971 a well-dressed man hijacked a Northwest 727, extorted $200,000 from the airline, then strapped on a parachute and jumped from the moving passenger jet over the Oregon wilderness, never to be seen again. Although Grey spends the first part of the book going over the details of the crime itself, the real story comes in the later part: the strange loners who top the suspect list, the weirdos...more
Landon
The first part of the book details the D.B. Cooper plan hijacking from 1971- pieced together from news stories, and the accounts of passengers and flight personnel. The rest of the book talks about some of the "copy cat" criminals who went on to hijack planes, as well as a look at who D.B. Cooper might have been. Explores several different possibilities- all that have some convincing points, information not reported to the public, money with serial numbers matching the ransom money, and other in...more
Paul Pessolano
“Skyjack” by Geoffrey Gray, published by Crown Publishing.

Category – True Crime

If you lived in the 70’s it is highly unlikely that you never heard of D.B. Cooper. Cooper may have committed the perfect crime, that is if he lived.

D.B. Cooper hijacked (skyjacked) Northwest Orient flight 305 and demanded $200.000 ransom for the plane and passengers. The plane was a Boeing 727 that had an “aftstairs” that could be used for boarding and deplaning.

When Cooper obtained the ransom and parachutes he let...more
Ru
An irreverent look at one of the most famous heists in world history. The legend of DB Cooper only seems to be growing with time; it's not unlike Elvis sightings, tied in with theories about what happened to Cooper and the money. This book asks those questions and also examines who Cooper may have been, which is a fascinating exposition unto itself.

Without spoiling anything, there are certainly prevailing theories now as to who Cooper likely was; and, as time moves on one theory in particular se...more
Dachokie
Introduces a Zany Cast of Crazies That Only Deepens the Mystery ...

This book was reviewed as part of Amazon's Vine program which included a free advance copy of the book.

The first time I ever learned about D.B. Cooper was elementary school back in the 1970s ... it was the first story in a compilation book of "strange but true" stories/mysteries that I got at a Scholastic Book Fair. While I recall all the other stories having rudimentary drawings to visually entertain elementary school-level read...more
Lady Knight
I'd never heard of D.B. Cooper until an episode from the How Stuff Works sponsored podcast Stuff You Missed In History Class (you'll have to go on iTunes to find the episode) covered the hijacking. It greatly intrigued me... how could this guy have never been caught? Maybe it's because I'm not American, but I'd never heard of this renegade nor of the massive treasure and man hunt he'd inspired, and was really interested to learn more about the case. When I saw this title come up as available fro...more
Anita
I look at this as a personal book, written just for me. Since 1978 I have taught a unit on mysteries every spring using an article about four famous disappearances: Amelia Earhart, Judge Crater, Percy Fawcett, and D.B. Cooper. Considering all the changes in education in that time, that little article is still current--everybody is still an unsolved disappearance, and for three of the four still currently in the news. I wish I had other lesson plans that served me that well.
That being said, this...more
Amy
I just received my 1st copy from the publisher to read and review! Can't wait to report back :)
THANKS GOODREADS!!
If anyone is interested in reading this and writing a review too let me know!

Although I never read mystery / suspense types of books I really enjoyed this one. Since I didn't already know anything about the main plot of skyjacking I was immediately interested. During the reading the content was very easy to understand and keep my interest. As a reader I seemed to understand the way th...more
Andy Nieradko
Ok, first off, I'm a life long D.B. Cooper fanatic. One of my earliest memories is watching the Cooper story on In Search Of with Leonard Nimoy. That said, I think even without having a prior interest in the case, I would've loved this book. It's a well written, fun read. I found myself reading a little slower than usual, because I didn't really want to finish the book. The four decade hunt for Cooper comes off as fresh and exciting. I didn't realize this was the author's first book until I read...more
Ricky Ganci
I guess that I missed this episode of "Unsolved Mysteries." Thanks to a fever of interest from my father after his and my mother's relocation to the Seattle area, I wanted to read this book and learn about the only successful skyjacking in history, if "successful" is synonymous with "unsolved." Of the three parts of the book, the first was the strongest, while the last was the weakest. However, despite the book's novelistic stylings, the story itself, and intrigue it has produced over the past f...more
Pam
November 24, 1971. A tall, dark haired man in a suit boards Northwest Airlines Flight 305, bound for Seattle, WA, on a stormy night. He sits in the middle seat of the last row on the right. Orders a bourbon and Seven Up. He seemed like no one in particular, until he handed one of the flight attendants a note just as the plane was taking off, informing her that he had a bomb and would like her to sit by him.

What follows is the epic, slightly kooky story of the hunt to find the man who called hims...more
Peter Derk
Oct 04, 2011 Peter Derk marked it as did-not-finish  ·  review of another edition
A defeat in Vietnam was imminent. He nation was also mired in recession. Labor strikes crippled the workforce. Unemployment soared. So did the crime rate. Prisons were overcrowded and taken over in riots. Communes were built. Cults formed. Otherwise normal teenagers ran away from home, and had to be “deprogrammed” after they were brainwashed.

This is a paragraph from a book, and basically explains why I don’t think I can read this one. It’s just a style issue. Despite a strong interest in the mat...more
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Obsessed with Tru...: Review - Skyjack - The Hunt for D. B. Cooper 1 15 Sep 11, 2011 04:21PM  
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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...more
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