On the Trail of “D.B. Cooper”

In 1971, a skyjacker with a briefcase bomb demanded a $200,000 ransom and a parachute. Then he vanished out the jet’s back door and became an instant legend.

A determined citizen sleuth assembled a forty-member cold case team, spearheaded by former FBI agents, to solve the mystery of D. B. Cooper. And after a seven-year quest, they believe they succeeded—with a fugitive at trail’s end.

The team’s relentless investigation and final confrontation with the mystery man serve as the bookends in The Last Master Outlaw. The suspect’s astonishing life story as a daredevil fills the remaining chapters, the bulk of which comes from the heartwarming, gut-wrenching accounts of six of his women—two former wives, his only sister, a befriended flight attendant, a “getaway gal” he met up with during two more FBI escapes involving planes, and a Hollywood producer who became his cocaine-trade partner.

Buckle your seat belts as this Jekyll-and-Hyde ladies’ man travels through five countries, utilizing more than twenty identities, wigs, and fake mustaches while engaging in a half-dozen careers and raising three families. Then be a witness as the cornered chameleon is forced to face the truth in front of the cameras of a dogged cold case team, armed and ready for any eventuality.

MOVIE MAKERS, TRUE-CRIME READERS & “COOPERITES”: 2019 UPDATE

Court-released FBI records, along with supporting documents from retired military-intel commanders, collectively conclude the missing ’71 hijacker was Robert W. Rackstraw Sr. (R.I.P., 7/9/19).

After we closed our investigation at a 2018 news conference outside FBI Headquarters, the race was on for the story rights. As one senior WME agent put it to my manager, Michael B. London: “We know Tom solved it.”

Hollywood, however, went directly to Rackstraw. Sources tell us he was given a private jet-ride in for a confidential meet-and-greet with leading producers, studios and streamers. I fortunately was fully prepared for this end-run, thanks to our cold case team.

Rackstraw’s negotiations fizzled because: 1) he was the polar opposite of the folk hero many imagined; 2) our new case details and evidence have been copyrighted – including his Vietnam missions, the hijack getaway with partners, the Cooper money river ruse, the parachute recovery, the decrypting of Army-coded Cooper messages and his CIA history; finally, 3) when he traded an FBI prison cell for years of black ops work, fed officials warned the contractor he’d be re-incarcerated if he ever went public. It was the fear of that secret “John Doe indictment” that ultimately kept him from signing a Cooper deal.

Our surveillance team first heard his fear in 2013; that’s why we’re grateful to the hundreds (including relatives) who helped us document Rackstraw’s breathtaking life narrative. Now with three national book awards for true crime, THE LAST MASTER OUTLAW holds the ripcord to one of the world’s greatest adventures never told. And we couldn’t be more honored. TJC

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