Synopses & Reviews
A stunning fictional imagining of legendary American folk hero D. B. Cooper's daring hijacking and its aftermath, by one of the toughest, most distinctive voices in American fiction.
On the day before Thanksgiving 1971, just as a Seattle-bound 727 from Portland, Oregon, was taking off, a man calling himself D. B. Cooper handed a note to a flight attendant that said: “I have a bomb in my briefcase.” Touching down in Washington State, where airline officials and FBI agents met his demands$200,000 and several parachutesthe passengers were released, and Cooper ordered the pilot to chart a course for Mexico City. But somewhere over the dense Pacific Northwest woods, Cooper jumped. No trace of him was ever found.
This gutsy exploit made D. B. Cooper a legend and a folk hero, and it is the starting point for Elwood Reid's powerful examination of ways of living in America. Reid poses the question: Is it better to do one great thing in life or to grind out a righteous life? In Reid's version, D. B. Cooper is a Vietnam vet named Fitch, a man fed up with the timid course of his life and determined to do something about it. By pulling off the hijacking, he proves to himself that he is a man of destiny, capable of greatness. Or so it seems. He floats across the border to Mexico, drifting and lounging in the company of similar refugees and flotsam from the 1970s counterculture.
In a parallel narrative, newly retired FBI Agent Frank Marshall has been cut adrift and now faces decades of purposelessness. Tempted to embark on an affair with a female witness he's been protecting, bored by leisure, and haunted by cases he couldn't solve, Frank agrees to help an eager young agent to look into the still-open D. B. Cooper case.
When Fitch/Cooper, after years of cunning, exile, and silence, makes the mistake of falling for the wrong woman in Mexico, he is forced to return to America and the scene of his crime, and the two narratives intersect.
The clean, taut prose that has become Reid's hallmark and his profound understanding of what work means and what the dream of escaping work really entails, make D.B. a unique and profound work of fiction.
"Reid, the author of a story collection (What Salmon Know) and a football novel (If I Don't Six), here tackles the real-life 1971 case of notorious skyjacker D.B. Cooper. The novel is a hit-or-miss effort, made memorable by athletic prose and forgettable by a meandering plot. Cooper, who was never apprehended, is in this telling a Vietnam vet named Fitch, a man so disillusioned with his life that he decides to risk everything on one big criminal gamble. The plan is successful, and Cooper/Fitch reaps nearly a quarter of a million dollars before parachuting from the Boeing 727 straight into legend. His nomadic existence in Mexico is intercut with scenes from the life of Frank Marshall, a retired FBI agent who was among the many pursuers stymied by Fitch's disappearance. In the middle of the book, particularly, atmosphere and delayed flashback take center stage and the story suffers. Every minor character is provided with an exhaustive list of quirky traits and the inevitable meshing of the two plot lines is stalled for too long. The novel's denouement, however, is handled with alacrity and will reward the persistent reader. Agent, Sloan Harris. (July 13)" Publishers Weekly (Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information, Inc.)
"Elwood Reid writes some of the nastiest, fiercest, funniest, edgiest sentences around, never a false move, and D.B. is one of the best novels I've encountered in who knows how long. The story takes you by the throat, true enough. But it's the prose that squeezes Raymond Carver meets Graham Greene meets the blunt, masterful originality of Elwood Reid." Tim O'Brien, author of The Things They Carried and July, July
"Elwood Reid's D.B. is raunchy, seamy, cocksure, perversely juicy, so surprising in its vivid convolutions of plot and character that you keep turning back a few pages to see how the author is getting away with it. There's a dose of Raymond Chandler in Elwood Reid's lineage, but his voice is fresh and unique." Jim Harrison, author of Legends of the Fall and True North
"This hard-boiled literary page-turner cloaks a meditation on the 'crime of crime'; the endless aftermath of its aftershocks, and the inevitable corruption of overheated, covetous yearning. From a lineage of Tom McGuane, Charles Portis, and Raymond Chandler, Elwood Reid ascends to the top of his generation with this novel. D.B. is brilliantly modulated between swagger and caress, moving and drop-dead funny. Read this book." Mark Richard, author of Fishboy
This stunning fictional imagining of legendary American folk hero D.B. Cooper's daring hijacking and its aftermath is penned by one of the toughest, most distinctive voices in American fiction.
About the Author
ELWOOD REID is the author of the novels If I Dont Six and Midnight Sun and the story collection What Salmon Know. He has written for GQ and is a frequent contributor to Outside magazine. He lives in Montana.