Thursday, October 6, 2011

#72: Skyjack: The Hunt for D.B. Cooper by Geoffrey Gray

Crown, 2011: 320 pages

Remember that show In Search Of.... with Leonard Nimoy? I first heard about D.B. Cooper on that show, and have been moderately interested in the crime ever since. On Nov 24, 1971 a man calling names Dan Cooper hijacked a 707 flying to Seattle. After it landed and refueled, the Feds loaded $200,000 and parachutes on the plane. It took off for Mexico; somewhere around Portland Cooper jumped out the back of the plane. He has never been seen again.

In researching the crime, Gray meets with several people who are convinced that they know the identity of Dan Cooper. Several are, predictably, complete nutbars. A few have compelling cases. Gray handles most of these folks gently, which is better than how they handle each other. This is pretty common for folks on the trail of Bigfoot or Nessie. The book is about "the hunt for DB Cooper", so I thought it would be about the actual hunt for him. It wasn't. The second 1/2 of the book read like a jumbled collection of some very funny anecdotes, absolute 100% bull shit and a damn travel guide.  In that, I was let down.

The actual case is lost in the crazies that dominate the end of the book, which subtracts from the overall quality of the text. And crazies they are. You know 'em, the ones that maintain that James Earl Ray was a CIA operative under Raoul's mind control, that the black ops helicopters are actually behind all the cattle mutilations of the 1970s and that LBJ had JFK killed. We all know of course that Ray was hired by the FBI, UFOs actually butchered up those cows and JFK was killed by the Mob. It begs the question of why in hell would you go down the rabbit hole? Everything you ever find is contradictory to what you already know. These people waste their lives; at least three of the are chuckleheads that Gray runs into are "writing their own books". Well, I won't read them. They will not be professional writers like Gray. At least his prose is worthy.

Gray sees the edge of the rabbit hole and does not go down, which is good for him and the reader. I could not take much more conjecture, unsupported claims and assorted crap. What I did like about this book was too short and what I did not like went on for dozens of whiny, paranoid, I know that person from somewhere pages. The whole "I know something that flies in the face of reason and evidence" shtick is getting old, and smacks of hubris. Well, good for you, Mr. Smartpants! Show me proof, not a bull shit story from some random guy who knows this woman whose husband said that his brother was a friend of a guy who worked at United that disappeared in 1972 after taking a parachute class in Ohio. FUCK! That guy must be D.B, Cooper! He could be living on your street, spending the last of the Cooper Money...oh yeah, that's never been found. Because he buried it in the yard of a friends house for safekeeping and is "waiting for the case to be closed". Irritating.

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