John Murray's memoir titled, Code Name: Papa: My Extraordinary Life while Hiding in Plain Sight is a story too unique to be considered fiction, yet mind-boggling to consider that the story is made up of one man's reality.
I was caught up in the story from the first paragraph, which reads: "It would be a lie to say I got to know my best friends in Hell. But, it would barely be a stretch to say we bonded just a few blocks north of there." Tell me: would these words draw your attention? They drew mine and the story didn't let up - yet - and I finished reading the book December 31, 2016. Yes, it has made an impression...
Never, more than now, am I happy to be me. I don't have monetary riches, yet my life feels whole. I can look forward to the future and what it may have in store, even if certain aspects of the world seem daunting. I can spend time with my family on a daily basis. I don't need to look over my shoulder, wondering who may be out to "get me" for past deeds I've committed, even if sanctioned. In fact, the only lives I've taken are those of mosquitoes and house flies.
Yet, on the other hand... I haven't gone to bed one single night thinking about how many lives I've saved because of something I've done or taken part in achieving. That being said, I've gone to bed thinking about ways I've been able to help and teach others, which has surely made my heart feel happy and light.
There are people who would cast stones at John Murray and those in his crew for all of the "sins" they committed - regardless of the motives behind the actions because a human life was a human life and, as long as a person drew breath, there was hope for change. End of story.
There are other people who would applaud him and his crew for taking on missions which brought a swift end to the scum of the earth involved in all manners of crime, especially against women and children. Otherwise, there would be a long waiting time for a legal justice system to carry out its duties, not to mention the expense involved in bringing a single case to trial, nor the complexity involved because of the international jurisdictions affected by said crimes.
Code Name: Papa certainly did portray an extraordinary life one man had while, literally, hiding in plain sight. Whether that extraordinary life is considered to be a good thing, or bad, you'll have to decide for yourself.
As an after thought, I don't recall any sexual content in this book and, for the type of book it is, I was delighted at the lack of profanity. I'm trying to recall whether or not there were even three profane words in the entire book. Also, some editing is required (the version I read) but it didn't detract from my reading experience whatsoever; that being said, the book may have been revised since I received it.
I must also add one other note of a personal nature: those who know me well know how much I love my characters and are aware of my Freedom in Love Series - and one of the characters in it named Jack Steele, a former hired assassin.
Well, as you're aware, I didn't write, Code Name: Papa but it feels like I've met the real Jack Steele, or the man he used to be in the life he lived before I was introduced to him. It's the most unusual feeling because Jack Steele is a fictional character whereas the narrator of Code Name: Papa is sharing his memoir, just changing names and places. I'm still not quite sure how to process this in my mind; it just seems too unreal when fiction meets reality.
To learn more about John Murray's, Code Name: Papa, you can visit its page on Amazon. It is a book I would consider to be one of my top picks of 2016.