Skyjack by Geoffrey Gray
The Hunt for D. B. Cooper

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Synopsis

“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 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 case.
 
Starting 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 heartstopping 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 herself.
 
With explosive new information and exclusive access to FBI files and forensic evidence, Skyjack reopens one of the great cold cases of the 20th century.


From the Hardcover edition.
 

About Geoffrey Gray

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GEOFFREY GRAY writes about crime, politics, sports, travel and food. He is a contributing editor at New York Magazine, covered boxing for The New York Times and for programs like This American Life, writes for other newspapers and magazines, and once drove an ice-cream truck. SKYJACK is his first book.
 
Published August 9, 2011 by Broadway Books. 328 pages
Genres: Biographies & Memoirs, History, Professional & Technical. Non-fiction

Unrated Critic Reviews for Skyjack

Kirkus Reviews

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A nonfiction mystery revolving around the identity of a legendary criminal who has never been apprehended.

Jul 26 2011 | Read Full Review of Skyjack: The Hunt for D. B. C...

Publishers Weekly

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In 1971, hijacker D.B. Cooper vanished after he parachuted from a Northwest Orient Airlines jet with $200,000 in extorted cash. He became a legendary figure, the subject of, among others, a feature fi

May 16 2011 | Read Full Review of Skyjack: The Hunt for D. B. C...

Publishers Weekly

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Who was the reclusive masked hijacker who in 1971 took over an airplane flying from Portland, Ore., to Seattle, made off with $200,000, and parachuted into mysterious oblivion? A contributing editor t

Oct 31 2011 | Read Full Review of Skyjack: The Hunt for D. B. C...

Publishers Weekly

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Who was the reclusive masked hijacker who in 1971 took over an airplane flying from Portland, Ore., to Seattle, made off with $200,000, and parachuted into mysterious oblivion?

Oct 31 2011 | Read Full Review of Skyjack: The Hunt for D. B. C...

Publishers Weekly

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But by introducing intriguing theories, curious clues, and a parade of characters who claim a Cooper connection, Gray successfully milks the mystery and generates suspense while adding fuel to Cooper's folk-hero reputation.

May 16 2011 | Read Full Review of Skyjack: The Hunt for D. B. C...

NPR

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America's only unsolved airline hijacking happened the day before Thanksgiving in 1971. D.B. Cooper's demands — $200,000 and four parachutes — were met. He ordered the plane to take off again. When it landed in Reno, Nev., he was gone, along with the money and a parachute.

Sep 25 2011 | Read Full Review of Skyjack: The Hunt for D. B. C...

NPR

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Author Geoffrey Gray is hot on the case of D.B. Cooper, a debonair skyjacker who disappeared 40 years ago after jumping from a plane with a $200,000 ransom.

Aug 19 2011 | Read Full Review of Skyjack: The Hunt for D. B. C...

The Washington Post

Comments our editors find particularly useful or relevant are displayed in Top Comments, as are comments by users with these badges: .

Aug 12 2011 | Read Full Review of Skyjack: The Hunt for D. B. C...

USA Today

Recent news reports saying the FBI believed Cooper might have died 10 years ago, however, proved untrue.

Aug 08 2011 | Read Full Review of Skyjack: The Hunt for D. B. C...

Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

Cooper remains vanished, and the case continues to fascinate.

Aug 07 2011 | Read Full Review of Skyjack: The Hunt for D. B. C...

Oregon Live

Cooper" is as much about Gray's quest to identify Cooper as about the hijacking itself.

Aug 13 2011 | Read Full Review of Skyjack: The Hunt for D. B. C...

Denver Post

Geoffrey Gray couldn't have asked for better advertising than the emergence two weeks ago of an Oklahoma woman named Marla Cooper, who got the FBI interested in her late uncle as a suspect in the nation's only unsolved hijacking.

Aug 21 2011 | Read Full Review of Skyjack: The Hunt for D. B. C...

Independent.ie

The airline's Seattle operations manager brought the money and parachutes on board and the hijacker allowed the passengers, stewardess Schaffner and the senior flight attendant to leave the plane.

Aug 13 2011 | Read Full Review of Skyjack: The Hunt for D. B. C...

Jacksonville.com

(As recently as a few weeks ago, this cold case turned hot for a while as a new suspect was briefly brought on stage, but DNA testing led nowhere.) In "Skyjack," the author wants us to learn a lot about this phenomenon, and indeed we do.

Sep 17 2011 | Read Full Review of Skyjack: The Hunt for D. B. C...

Portland Book Review

However, fans with casual interest, or who have heard of the Cooper case, but don’t know much about it will find this a delightful way to get familiar with the case and some of the people who were and are involved in it without being overburdened with scientific explanations.

Feb 18 2012 | Read Full Review of Skyjack: The Hunt for D. B. C...

Bookmarks Magazine

Greg Schneider Critical Summary Although Gray begins his book with a detailed description of Cooper's crime based on previously unavailable FBI files, his journey deep into the lives of witnesses, suspects, kooks, and fanatics eventually comes to dominate the narrative, providing readers wit...

Aug 07 2011 | Read Full Review of Skyjack: The Hunt for D. B. C...

Reader Rating for Skyjack
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