Book Review- Code Name: Papa, My Extraordinary Life while Hiding in Plain Sight by John Murray

My Review – ★★★

Reading biographies and thriller/suspense novels puts me a bit out of my comfort zone, I have to remember to set that feeling aside and look at books from a general reader perspective. I did so with this novel, and was pleasantly surprised. The story itself, about “Papa” is riveting and exciting, but I felt there were areas throughout that lacked thorough development and the relaxed style of writing was not my cup of tea. That being said, Code Name: Papa My Extraordinary Life was an overall quick and fun read!

codenamepapacoverTitle – Code Name: Papa My Extraordinary Life while Hiding in Plain Sight
Author – John Murray
Length – 326 pages
Genre – Biographies, Military
Pub. Date –
Sept. 30, 2015
Summary – 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.


My Review – ★★★ Con’t.

This isn’t a recent publication, but when the author’s publicist reached out to me I thought it would be interesting to step out of my little YA box and try reading something different than my usual go-to fiction/fantasy picks. The author did a great job of recollecting many memories from the past, mostly during “Papa’s” time fighting in the wars and trying to live a normal life.

The most interesting thing to me, was the strong emotion that was shown by the narrator during some of the really intense scenes recalling times on the battlefield when he was running from his demons. The emotion really helped me to connect with a character that I found to be otherwise difficult to keep up with. Like I mentioned, bits and pieces of this book felt underdeveloped to me. In the first few chapters you go from having very little history and understanding of the premise of the story to being in the middle of Vietnam and everyone around the character is being bombed and killed by aircraft. There’s not much time spent on character or plot development other than the fact that the entire story is about Papa so you learn about him and his life as you go. I’m not too familiar with biographies, or direct engagement in war fronts, but even so I think that there needs to be adequate introduction to situations, people, and places so that the reader can follow along and feel like they are a part of that person’s journey and experiences while they are reading. This books was full of spurts of action, but it just didn’t feel very well introduced or evolved as I kept reading.

I gave this three stars because it was definitely exciting in parts and interesting to learn more about the wars and the military terms associated with the content (I am an Army brat myself) but I think it could have used a bit of improvement in the overall development to help make Papa a more relatable character and transition the memories and plot smoother. Code Name: Papa My Extraordinary Life while Hiding in Plain Sight was a quick read, and looking past the development issues I had with it I really did enjoy it.


A complimentary copy of this book was provided by the author/publicist in exchange for an honest review.


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Have you read this book? Are you a fan of military genre reads and/or biographies? If so, have you recently read any that you really enjoyed? If not, what do you like to read instead? We’d love to hear your thoughts on this review & these questions so please feel free to chat with me in the comments!

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