Unsolved Case Files: Escape at 10,000 Feet: D.B. Cooper and the Missing Money – Tom Sullivan – Unsolved Case Files #1 – Balzer+Bray – Published 2 March 2021




NOVEMBER 24, 1971

2:00 P.M.
A man in his mid-forties, wearing a suit and overcoat, buys a ticket for Northwest Orient Airlines flight 305 bound for Seattle.

3:07 P.M.
The man presents his demands: $200,000 in cash and four parachutes. If the demands are not met, he threatens to detonate the explosive device in his briefcase.

So begins the astonishing true story of the man known as D.B. Cooper, and the only unsolved airplane hijacking case in the United States.

My thoughts

Can you solve the case? That is the premise for this new series. Escape at 10,000 Feet is a non-fiction graphic novel, that entices the reader to try their hand at solving a case that has stumped FBI investigators for years. It also introduces an interesting time in history and air travel.

This is perfect for budding young detectives. Those that love mystery novels or books on spies will love this true story about a heist at 10,000 feet and the man who got away with $200,000.

This is not a graphic novel in the traditional sense – no call outs, just panels that illustrate the story along with factual documents, FBI files, diagrams and information to help the reader piece together the facts. The graphics are bright and dramatic and the storytelling powerful through the use of the narration and carefully placed illustrations.

Something that both intrigued me and bothered me slightly is that is this an unsolved case file. That means that there is no answer provided at the end. I knew this going into the story but it is still a strange concept ending the story with no real answers. Will this intrigue or annoy young readers? The narrator presents many possible suspects but then provides evidence that disproves their involvement.

Unsolved Case Files draws upon real forensic evidence, which I know will impress and inspire young readers. The nature of the case means it is suitable for younger readers but will equally entice older readers, as it did me.

There are so many opportunities for engagement with this book. I can see a book club using the evidence, perhaps recreating it and creating their own case board as they try to solve this case. The call for any new information at the end of the book is a nice touch – and who knows, perhaps a young reader will provide insight that has not been thought have before and crack open this historic case.

The publishers provided an advanced readers copy of this book for reviewing purposes. All opinions are my own.

More information

Category: Non fiction, Graphic novel

Genre: Mystery

Themes: Aircraft, Heist, Hijacking, FBI, detective, mystery.

Reading age guide: Ages 8 and up.

Advisory: References to hijacking aircraft and bombs.

Published: 2 March 2021 by Balzer+Bray

Format: Hardcover, paperback, ebook. 104 pages.

ISBN: 9780062991522

Find it on Goodreads