Title: Code name: Papa : My Extraordinary Life While Hiding in Plain Sight

By:  John Murray

ISBN:   148081945X (ISBN13: 9781480819450)

Author’s Website:

Review brought to you by OBS reviewer Andra

Synopsis:  code-name-papa

Who’d have thought a bright, but fairly ordinary young man from middle class America who got just above average grades, dated the same girl throughout high school and went to church most Sundays, would grow up to eventually head a very secretive band of brave individuals–both men and women–who regularly put their lives on the line because they wanted to protect the rest of you. Yet that’s what we did, often sacrificing our personal lives (four marriages for me, all in the book) and our health (countless broken bones, major surgeries, even death) to do it.

Meanwhile you’re just going to have to call me “Papa” like everyone else around the globe has through most of those wildly unpredictable and dangerous years.


Code Name: Papa – My Extraordinary Life While Hiding in Plain Sight is the story of John Murray. He was the head of US covert operations for a large international group. This group, while not connected to the US government, operated with the full blessing of top people in our government.  Their job was to eliminate threats that various governments (US, Canadian and European) can’t touch for any number of reasons, to protect us common folk.  

We read about his involvement in this organization right from when he was recruited to his eventual rise to the head of the organization in the US.  You get a flavour of the missions the team was sent on.  It is quite obvious that this type of work would be very difficult for a “normal” life.  We learn that the team members have made up careers, which take them away from their home life frequently and for long stretches at a time.  The story definitely conveyed the stress and havoc that this occupation has on a person’s personal life.  

I found the concept of the story-line interesting but because of the lack of details and the repetition of essentially the same process for each “job”, I found it repetitious much of the time and thus became boring to me.  How many times does one need to hear about getting the C130 plan ready to transport the team for a job or for the return flight home?  Or ready about solving the issue by killing everyone?  I quickly became bored with the style of writing.  I kept hoping for more, but did not receive it.

I did find the descriptions of his personal life a tad bit more engaging (I suppose because that wasn’t “secret”).  I did empathize with how impossible it was to maintain a normal life.  I was happy that in the end, he was able to achieve a more stable home life in his retirement.  As well, the camaraderie between the team members was well written.  I really felt the “team” was a close knit family, looking out for each other, whether on a mission or in everyday life events.

Unfortunately for me, I found the style of writing too casual.  It just bothered me.  But I do realize this is one person’s account and that is how he thinks and talks.  It takes a special kind of person to be able to do what John has done throughout his professional life to make this world a safer place for you and I and  I appreciate and applaud his efforts.  Thank you.

*OBS would like to thank the publisher for supplying a free copy of this title in exchange for an honest review*