Saturday, September 10, 2011

Book Review: Skyjack - The Hunt for D. B. Cooper

I have been a closet D. B. Cooper aficionado for some time. With the recent news story that the identify of the hijacker might finally be known, I was even more jazzed that the book Skyjack was being released. The story of the identity of the hijacker fizzled after a week or so. Sadly, so did my enthusiasm for this book.

I thought that Skyjack was about the D. B. Cooper Case. It uses that as a basis for the book, but really does not offer too much in the way of new information. Instead the author uses this platform to tell the story of his fringe involvement in the case and how he came to write the book. I was hoping that someone that had access to the FBI files would have produced new information, new leads, interesting tips, etc.. What we get instead is the story of the author tracking down several wannabe Coopers, never giving us closure on anything. All of this is put in with a sprinkling about the actual hijacking and the investigation.

As a true crime author myself, you have to put a little bit of what drew you to the case into the book. This is a significant portion of this book however.  More than once in the book the author fanaticizes about his getting the Pulitzer for this very book. Frankly, I don't see that happening.

The tracking down of the Lyle (Kenny) Christenson as a suspect, for example, has been covered in TV documentaries already…to no avail. The FBI ruled him out in 2007 yet the author doggedly follows this lead, adding no new information or details.  
It is difficult to write a book about a crime that hasn't been solved - I myself have been working through that in recent months. Having said that you need to offer the reader new information or this is just a rehashing of things they may have been exposed to. The author fails here, if not in new details, in their weight and validity.

I came away knowing nothing new about the crime or the investigation. A disappointment? Unfortunately yes. Should you pick it up? Only if you know nothing about D. B. Cooper or the crime, even then you'd be better off going to the internet and reading from some of the postings there.  This book is heavy on fluff, light on entertainment or new information. 

Sadly, I recommend passing on this book.  I say "sadly" because I am still waiting for a very good Cooper book to be written. 

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