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Kingdom Come [Mass Market Paperback]

Jim Hougan
4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (27 customer reviews)

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Book Description

July 3 2001
In a gripping novel that combines brilliantly imagined characters with the machinations behind this century’s greatest unexplained mysteries, Jim Hougan has created a stunning international thriller of psychology and intrigue, espionage and prophecy, hairbreadth escapes and endless suspense.

After someone he has under surveillance is literally slaughtered, CIA agent Jack Dunphy is immediately ordered to leave London and return to the U.S., where he is dumped into a tedious desk job that seems calculated to make him quit. Determined to learn why, Dunphy uses all his CIA tradecraft on the agency that has turned against him–and hears the fragments of a story that seems too wild to be true . . . providing him with damning evidence of a vast conspiracy deeply entrenched within the CIA. Embroiled in a plot far more elaborate than he ever could have imagined, with players too powerful and consequences too deadly, Dunphy must uncover the shocking truth–even if it kills him.


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From Amazon

Jack Dunphy is a CIA agent operating in London, and when someone he's had under surveillance is murdered in a savage, seemingly ritualized killing, the Agency "disappears" him from Her Majesty's territory and assigns him to a headquarters job that's the equivalent of walking a Staten Island beat. Bored into somnolence shuffling files requested by the public under the Freedom of Information Act, Dunphy suspects that his bosses are trying to get him to quit, so he uses his top secret clearance to find out why. In the process, he uncovers evidence that points to a centuries-old conspiracy whose purpose has been aided and abetted by the CIA since its beginning. When his colleague and roommate is brutally murdered in what was either a warning to him or a case of mistaken identity, Dunphy decamps for the continent; with Clementine, his English girlfriend, he tracks a secret society to its Swiss headquarters and pulls off a daring raid that nets him evidence of the Agency's long-standing role in an effort to change the course of history. While it has millennial overtones, this fast-paced and provocative thriller has no Y2K "sell by" date; what it does have is an intriguing explanation for contemporary mysteries like Roswell, UFOs, crop circles, and other paranormal happenings. Jack Dunphy is an enterprising and charming spy with a solid future as a series hero. Fans of Ian Fleming will find him a likely successor to James Bond, and doubtless Hollywood will as well. --Jane Adams --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

From Publishers Weekly

Veteran journalist and spy-craft expert Hougan (Spooks; Secret Agenda) puts his inside knowledge to fictional use in this intelligent and pulse-pounding debut thriller about a CIA agent who pokes his stick under one too many rocks. John Dunphy, working undercover in London, finds his career in tatters after a college professor he had under surveillance is viciously murdered. Though the murder was neither his doing nor his fault, Dunphy is called back to D.C., interrogated for days and finally relegated to a desk job processing the agency's vast backlog of Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests. Since nobody at the CIA will tell Dunphy why he has been handled so harshly, Dunphy devises a way to find out. Using a fake name, he makes FOIA requests about everyone and anything having to do with his demotion, then routes the requests to himself for investigation. What he learns makes him a marked man. A secret society of world leaders, Dunphy discovers, has shaped history for hundreds of years, and now has its home base at the CIA. Now a marked man, Dunphy and his beautiful sidekick, Clementine, rush from one European capital to another, staying just ahead of their pursuers. With each stop, they gather more disturbing details about the secret network, which dates to medieval France and now controls world politics, economics and even the arts. (Historical figures who enter Hougan's story include famed spymasters Allen Dulles and James Jesus Angleton and poet Ezra Pound.) A former Washington editor for Harper's, Hougan demonstrates fine command of his material. His familiarity with the ways of spies, amply shown in his nonfiction, permeates his novel. Better yet, his writing is punchy and spare, his characterizations lively. Hougan slips only at the end: his finale seeks to defy convention, but may just leave readers fumbling for answers. Audio rights to Brilliance. (Feb.)
Copyright 2000 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

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Customer Reviews

Most helpful customer reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars Poorer Man's DaVinci Code March 11 2004
Format:Mass Market Paperback
Whether writting under his psuedonym John Case with his wife, or going solo, Jim Hougan has a definite gift for creating likeable characters who get caught up in the unexpected while carrying out seemingly dronelike yet out of the ordinary jobs. Hougan's main man in "Kingdom Come", Jack Dunphy has been relegated to glorified information gopher at Langley after having been pulled off an undercover assignment in London after the death of an Oxford Professor of Jungian psychology whom he had under surveillance. Dunphy's annoyance at being yanked from his cozy nest with British sweetie Clementine enhanced by the frustratingly endless grunt work of public information gathering lead him to buck the system and uncover the relevance of the professor's death. What he discovers is a Gordian knot of intrigue that eventually threatens his life and the lives of anyone with whom he comes into contact.

As Dunphy plows through clues that take him all over Europe, the reader breathlessly turns page after page, liking Dunphy and his cohorts immediately. The facts that he uncovers make for fascinating reading---puzzlers will enjoy being thrown information seemingly straight out of left field. Unfortunately, as the story leads into its ultimate denouement, it becomes choppy, the ending sequences beginning at the estate within the Swiss National Park and the ending voyage at sea seem rushed and not fully thought out, as if the author had run out of steam and simply wanted to finish the story under 400 pages. The last paragraph leads the reader to believe some sort of transference has taken place, but obviously this is certainly not developed and there seems no hint of a part two where the reader can stretch his imagination further.
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3.0 out of 5 stars KINGDOM DUMB Jan. 24 2003
Format:Mass Market Paperback
Cattle mutilations. The Roswell UFOs. Crop circles. A black Madonna (no, not Whitney Houston). These and more are "explained" in Jim Hougan's overwrought conspiracy thriller, "Kingdom Come." Hougan is half the team using the pseudonymn John Case for his/their other books, and I have to admit, Case's works are far superior to this one. Admittedly, I am not a true fan of the "espionage" thriller, so I may be a bit prejudiced, but as a thriller connosieur, I found this book tedious, redundant and at times very boring. The pacing is incredibly slow, and when the action scenes do arrive, they are crisp and efficient, if not a little bloody. Anyway, Jack Dunphy and cohort Clementine are likeable characters, and you find yourself wanting to cheer them on as they search for the reasons Jack was booted out of the CIA and why his life is in danger. The additional threat from the man Jack "steals" money from only tends to bog down the true plot. At any rate, by the time Jack and Clementine reach the source of their search, the ending is so mystic and enigmatic, that one wonders why the book was even written. Technically, Hougan has some fine touches, but overall, is at best a mediocre read.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Everything but the kitchen sink Sept. 4 2001
Format:Mass Market Paperback
Jack Dunphy makes for a good hero in "Kingdom Come" because he, unlike Bond, is flawed. Jack is relatable. He's not the perfect super-spy and not everything he does goes off without a hitch. This is very refreshing in this sort of novel.
Secret organizations within secret organizations. CIA cover-ups. Black helicopters. Cattle mutilations. Men in black. Border hopping in the modern age. Nail-gun torture. This novel has everything but the kitchen sink thrown into it. The interesting thing to observe is that somehow it all works. In the hands of another writer this wouldn't have been nearly as entertaining.
My only regret is that the character of Clementine was so one dimensional. She is never totally developed and used to her fullest potential. She's along for the ride with Jack and that's about it. More thought was given to the secondary and tertiary characters than our hero's love interest and that's a shame.
I'll admit that "Kingdom Come" does end somewhat abruptly and cryptically. But that's a minor issue. Overall this was a great read.
As the cover states:Admit nothing. Deny everything. Spare no one....
Add to that.... Read this novel. It's a lot of fun.
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2.0 out of 5 stars Promising plot ... poorly executed. July 22 2001
I had high hopes for this book when I had heard about its theme, based as it supposedly is on the books "Holy Blood, Holy Grail" and "The Messianic Legacy" by Henry Lincoln, Michael Bagient, and Richard Leigh. Sadly, those hopes were dashed as I plowed through the book. The main point of contention: Leo Schidlof (a figure used in the book) was a historical figure and he died in 1966. Yet here he was in 1988 with no explanation whatsoever. And he was not a professor at all in real life, rather he was a dealer in miniatures. So the whole premise of the book was pretty much shot for me right away - at least as far as history goes.
The writing style is very poor and is stilted in a lot of cases, particularly in some of the dialogue scenes. The characters are mainly stereotypes, albeit some are a little more fleshed out. (For you writers out there, the book is mainly populated with flat characters rather than round ones.) This was a prime example of stilted dialogue and, for me, made the book very hard to read as compared to others of the genre.
I found myself reading to the end just to figure out what the actual mystery was (even though I was pretty sure I knew) and was not really enjoying myself along the way. One thing I will say, however: I liked the main character, Jack Dunphy, in several ways. He seemed very real to me. He constantly screwed things up and did other things right - just like a real person would do. You really did get the feel that he was caught up in events that he was doing his absolute best to figure out. The problem, for me, was the plotting was just not consistent with this characterization. The other problem was the settings. Sometimes it seemed that the setting descriptions were overshadowing anything else in the book.
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Most recent customer reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars A couple of flaws, but good momentum
Enjoyed this book, look hopefully forward to some kind of sequel. Main character Jack Dunphy was interesting and humanized (though I don't see the comparison to Bond at all). Read more
Published on Jan. 30 2002
4.0 out of 5 stars Recommendation
If you like this, you should read John Case's works, which according to a possible rumor, may be Jim Hougan's penname. Read more
Published on Nov. 29 2001
5.0 out of 5 stars Just Because You're Paranoid.........
......Doesn't mean they aren't out to get you. So wrote Mark Twain many years ago and Jack Dunphy, the main character in this book, becomes a believer very quickly. Read more
Published on Sept. 28 2001 by John R. Linnell
4.0 out of 5 stars hang on for a wild, surreptitious, conspiracy trip!!!
This novel, my first by Jim Hougan gives incredible insight into what goes on behind the scenes at a big ticket, powerhouse agency like the CIA. Read more
Published on Aug. 31 2001 by Christopher L Robinson
4.0 out of 5 stars An Interesting Book!
This book was a tad different from your usual spy novel.Our hero Jack Dunphy gets demoted when a subject he has under surveillance is killed. Read more
Published on July 26 2001 by Melvin Hunt
5.0 out of 5 stars Where's his next novel?
All I can say is - Jim Hougan, bring on the next novel, and do it fast! I've read a few of his non-fiction CIA books, and now wonder why he wasn't writing fiction sooner. Read more
Published on Nov. 22 2000 by Sanity Stream
5.0 out of 5 stars Entertaining Gripper
Hougan combines a smart, entertaining style with suspenseful, fast moving plotting to produce an extremely enjoyable contribution to the spy genre. Read more
Published on Nov. 18 2000 by j. means
5.0 out of 5 stars A Fantastic and Engaging Story...
This book kept me up way past my bed time. I finished it in just over 48 hours. It would've been done quicker, but my boss doesn't like me reading novels on the job. Read more
Published on June 22 2000 by Tristan J. Weir
5.0 out of 5 stars On The Trail
Any book by Jim Hougan rates five stars. He's more on the trail than any other author. Baigent and Leigh (Holy Blood, Holy Grail) readers will enjoy this one.
Published on May 18 2000 by "kolewellen"
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