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Skyjack: The Hunt for D. B. Cooper

3.18  ·  Rating details ·  1,251 Ratings  ·  187 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 also 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, neve
Paperback, 328 pages
Published September 4th 2012 by Broadway Books (first published January 1st 2011)
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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
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
Chris Dietzel
Sep 22, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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.
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
Oct 03, 2011 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
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
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
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
Jun 01, 2012 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: audiobook-d, 2012
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
Jan 01, 2014 rated it it was ok
Shelves: true-crime
I had hoped for the definitive history of D. B. Cooper, especially given that author Geoffrey Gray was allowed access to the FBI’s D. B. Cooper files. Instead, I got some history of D. B. Cooper heavily diluted with forays into the lives of Cooper suspects and those obsessed with solving the case. This is a world of crazies, and whenever Gray plunges into crazyland, he extracts himself with a series of rhetorical questions, such as these: “How could I trust Knoss? The whopper he was telling coul ...more
Jeff Elliott
Mar 29, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: history
So what do we know? Essentially we don't know. I admire Gray's efforts and research. I'm not a fan of the jumping timeline (although in this case it wasn't terrible) and reintroducing characters that by four chapters later I have forgotten who is who. I was very interested in the story but at some point with so many different characters and suspects and conspiracies (the government did it; James Earl Ray was involved, etc;.) it was hard to tell what was truth and what was the result of some cons ...more
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
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

Jaclyn Day
Sep 16, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
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
Jun 30, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction, vine, own
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
Oct 31, 2012 rated it liked it
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
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
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
Three stars for content; one star for the horrible writing. The research on the possible suspects was interesting, but the writer seems to have just transcribed his notes and strung it together with a bunch of "but we'll never know the truth!" It would have made better sense to devote sections of the book to each possible perpetrator rather than intersperse the stories in a seemingly random fashion, but I suspect this wasn't possible due to the relative sparseness of actual information versus co ...more
Mar 25, 2014 rated it really liked it
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.
Jul 27, 2015 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Nice book with lots of local interest. Just that the subject matter is a bit unsatisfying as we don't really know.
Johnny Wilde
Jun 13, 2013 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Just not good
Melissa Embry
In my perpetual quest for light-reading audio books, I plucked Skyjack, by Geoffrey Gray off the shelves of a Dallas Public Library branch recently. It’s been so long, I had completely forgotten it was the anniversary of the date in 1971 when a man who came to be known as D.B. Cooper parachuted – or perhaps simply fell – off the aft stairway of an in-flight Northwest Orient Airlines 727 into the Pacific Northwest with a $200,000 ransom from the airline. And disappeared into legend.

Considering th
Ryan Hannay
Nov 23, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I'm glad I ignored the bad reviews for this and went ahead and checked it out. For those looking for a solution to the identity of Dan "DB" Cooper they will be disappointed. A quick google or wikipedia search will tell you that no substantial evidence has been found in a long while, and indeed even some of it has gone missing over the decades. But if you want a detailed and entertaining narrative of the hijacking, the initial search, and the subsequent efforts and theories to find the truth (inc ...more
Sep 14, 2011 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: crime
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
Nola Redd
Warning: you never find out who Cooper is because no one knows. Instead, you get to meet all of the people that he COULD be and figure out that the intrusive narrator is getting paranoid that folks are out to get him. There are too many potential suspects so you start going nuts trying to juggle them all. There's no pace, nothing to push you forward. This would have been a bit better if each potential suspect stayed in a different chapter but instead they bleed over.
Mar 10, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I’ve been interested in the DB Cooper story since childhood and had been waiting for a book like this. The author takes you through his four year journey to try and uncover who the skyjacker really was, and along the way introduces you to some fascinating characters who are equally obsessed with finding the truth of what really happened to the man the media (incorrectly) refer to as DB Cooper.
Nov 16, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
(R0unded up from 2.5) When I finished the last disc this morning, I felt like the kid from the Princess Bride movie, "Jesus grandpa, what'd you read me this thing for?!?!" Absolutely no conclusion whatsoever.
Nic Poe
Mar 24, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
As someone who reads anything I can get my hands on related to D.B. Cooper I was shocked to see a single negative review of this book. Gray sets himself apart from other investigative reporters with a narrative that is both comprehensive and entertaining. I urge anyone interested in mystery to get their hands on this book. You will not be disappointed!
Jul 27, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Apparently I knew next to nothing about this case - and that's saying a lot because it also seems like even the experts don't know that much. I think this book was at its most interesting in the last chapter.
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“With your pleasant smile And your dropout style, D.B. Cooper, where did you go?” 0 likes
“At the FBI, Hoover argues that once a plane lands, the hijacker has violated federal air piracy laws; therefore, he is within the Bureau’s jurisdiction and should be apprehended immediately. It’s too dangerous to think otherwise. What if the hijacker had a manic episode, killed the pilot, and crashed the plane into downtown Cleveland? Hundreds of bystanders would die in the explosion. Or worse. What if hijackers demanded that pilots fly airplanes into skyscrapers?” 0 likes
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