three-stars
Bookmarks Issue: 
13-Nov-Dec-2004
By: 
Elwood Reid
user_rating: 
0

A-DBAmerica hates its criminals but loves its outlaws, and D.B. Cooper is a modern example of this phenomenon. After commandeering a commercial jet and obtaining a $200,000 ransom, Cooper parachuted out of the plane near the Washington-Oregon border and into folk hero legend. He was never found. D.B. fictionalizes the post-crime life of Cooper as a disaffected ‘70s Vietnam vet named Phil Fitch. There’s nothing more frustrating than being a legend and not being able to enjoy the acclaim for Fitch, who remains in hiding in Mexico. Back in America, retired (and bored) FBI agent Frank Marshall, having never solved the case, finds himself drawn back into the fray by a younger agent. When Fitch foolishly decides to return to the U.S., will the two men finally find the purposes to their lives?
Doubleday. 356 pages. $23.95. ISBN: 0385497385

San Antonio Exp-News 3.5 of 5 Stars
"Reid writes brilliantly, sometimes with a rhythm that recalls Robert Campbell’s La La Land work. The mélange of characters is fascinating and believable." Sterlin Holmesly

NY Times Book Review 3 of 5 Stars
"By shifting the reader’s attention from the overtly dramatic to the psychological, Reid has written something much more engaging than the mere suspense novel D. B. might have been." Keith Dixon

Seattle Times 3 of 5 Stars
"The theme here seems to be that we all need a purpose, a cause, something to keep us engaged and going. Reid’s writing is strong and descriptive, and though his story meanders through the second act, I was hooked." Mark Lindquist

Oregonian 2.5 of 5 Stars
"Elwood Reid, a talented writer in the rough-and-tumble school of Tim O’Brien or Raymond Chandler, takes the story of Cooper and uses it as the framework for D.B., what you might call a speculative biography. … If Reid had put that same imaginative vigor into the FBI agent subplot, D.B. could have been a great and gutsy accomplishment with an explosive ending." Kevin Sampsell

Critical Summary

Reid’s previous novels earned him comparisons to Joseph Conrad and Raymond Carver. With powerful prose, he invites readers to witness the exploits of two men struggling to come to terms with their place in the world. Most critics agree that Reid pulls off that major task successfully, but The Oregonian remains unimpressed with the secondary story of D.B.’s nemesis. Still, D.B., more of a psychological drama than a dramatic thriller, is an effective cautionary tale for anyone who’s ever daydreamed of opting out of the rat race.