The hijacker who is known as D. B. Cooper remains a mystery more than forty years after he succeed in hijacking an airliner and getting away with $200,000 by parachuting into the woods of Southwest Washington. This book is the story of a fictional character, an intelligent young man who becomes bitter at society and unlucky in love. It follows him from a morning in 1968 when the idea of hijacking and demanding ransom first occur to him through all of his personal problems and his detailed planning to the morning after the successful completion of the crime. Along the way we get a brief history of the hijacking craze and the momentous events that occurred in those exciting years between the assassination of JFK and the resignation of Richard Nixon.
Grim and determined, Cooper checked his watch for the last time. Patiently he watched as it came up on eight-fifteen, one minute to go. Then, counting off the seconds, he started slowly down the ramp, tightly clutching the hand supports on both sides. The plane was bouncing and bucking like a Brahma bull in a rodeo ring, and it was cold as hell, even with all those clothes on. Looking out and down he couldn't see a thing but blackness. They were flying through broken clouds and the lights from the aircraft were diffused and distorted like streetlights in a heavy fog. He felt no fear now, only the slight apprehension that goes with doing any difficult and exacting task. Off to his left he saw a flash of lightning, something rare in the Northwest, and then it was time. Just as the thunder began to roll, he jumped.
As soon as he stepped off into nothingness Cooper began counting again, this time to twenty. To free fall to six thousand feet would take approximately twenty seconds. Falling through rain mixed with snow he couldn't see a thing, but as he counted he arched properly so he was falling face down. The sensations were surreal, no sense of falling, of time or space, only cold, opaque wetness enveloping him like something from a space fantasy.
Like many others Richard Kavanaugh began speculating about the identity of the hijacker known as D. B. Cooper soon after the event and at first, just as a mental exercise to past the time, and later as an exciting project to flesh out the story, he developed a fictional character who could qualify as the man. His experience flying in the U. S. Air Force, as a fixed base operator and aircraft salesman, and as an insurance salesman provided him with insight into the circumstances that might lead an intelligent respectable member of society to commit such a crime. As a businessman he experienced frustration with the system and became disenchanted with the establishment as did many others who grew to maturity in the sixties and early seventies. And like so many of us he experienced love with its emotional highs and lows. He uses all this to give us a great story of just what might have motivated this man who has avoided detection all these years and his elaborate planning for the crime.