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Thursday October 02, 2014
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Elwood Reid

 

continued

unsolved skyjacking in U.S. history, and in that wonderful, only-in-America way that the rest of the world never really understands, D. B. Cooper has become a folk hero.

What a wonderful idea for a novel! Elwood Reid has, among his many other virtues as a writer, the sense to recognize a great story when he finds one. Reid, who came to the U-M in the 1980s on a football scholarship and is best known around here for his first novel, If I Don't Six, a scary tell-all tale about the horrors of Big Ten and U-M football, has been working hard as a writer the last decade or more. But D.B., his new novel based on the D.B. Cooper story, may finally find him a larger audience.

As Reid presents it, D. B. Cooper's life before the hijacking seemed caught in several dead ends. After the jump he takes most of his loot to Mexico, where his tawdry leisure makes him surprisingly reflective. Of course, Reid is a realist, and there is nothing sappy or easy about the character Cooper becomes. He is still hard edged, with a taste for the margins. In the second plot of D. B., a retired FBI agent who had been a part of the original investigation stumbles through his retirement, still obsessed by one of his cases and still connected to the Cooper skyjacking. His life seems to be spiraling downward, until the appropriately understated point where the two plots meet.

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