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Mad Dogs [Hardcover]

James Grady


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Book Description

Sept. 19 2006
James Grady revolutionized the political thriller with his first novel, Six Days of the Condor. Now Grady breaks fresh thriller territory with Mad Dogs, a brilliant novel launched from a totally original creation: the CIA's secret insane asylum for "retired" agents.
Five deranged CIA killers, all of them dependent on their meds and deep in the woods of Maine, are forced to break out of the asylum when someone murders their psychiatrist ---and frames them for the deed.
Crazy and traumatized by their experiences in the CIA, they operate under somewhat skewed perceptions of the real world. Their training, however, has prepared them to survive in an unfriendly world---even if that world is the Boston-to-Washington corridor as they chase down the real killer.
Suspenseful, fast, and edgy, as well as funny and humane, Mad Dogs is a stunning novel of political commentary and a tour-de-force of contemporary literary style, a look at twenty-first-century spy wars.

Product Details

  • Hardcover: 336 pages
  • Publisher: Forge Books; First Edition edition (Sept. 19 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0765316498
  • ISBN-13: 978-0765316493
  • Product Dimensions: 23.6 x 15.7 x 3.3 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 612 g
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #2,845,520 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

From Publishers Weekly

Grady's first thriller in a decade finds the author of Six Days of the Condor taking an altogether different look at the spook trade-the lives of CIA operatives who had to be institutionalized because they went crazy on the job. Five spies, all being held at an asylum in Maine, find themselves the likely victims of a frame-up when their psychiatrist is murdered in their therapy room. With remarkable ease, they escape their confines and embark on a week-long run for freedom and revenge that takes the so-called Mad Dogs-all off their meds-to the nation's capital to find out who killed their shrink and why. The adventure is narrated by Victor, the most intellectual of the bunch, who cracked up after a particularly harrowing experience on the job in Malaysia. Grady (White Flame) punctuates whipsaw bouts of action with dark humor and poignant glimpses into his characters' broken lives. Unfortunately, the Mad Dogs' search for the killer is interrupted all too often by zany, psycho-fueled episodes that sidetrack their mission and the reader's interest.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

From Booklist

His first novel (Six Days of the Condor, 1974) may still be his best, but this one gets points for sheer weirdness. Five former CIA operatives, now living in a government-run, top-secret insane asylum in Maine, break out after their psychiatrist is murdered. Framed for murder and running for their lives, they make their way to Washington, D.C., and a man they hope holds the key to the mystery. But these are deeply unbalanced individuals, each of whom sees the world in his or her unique way. Can they--and, by extension, the reader--trust their perceptions? There are a couple of ways to read the novel: as a flat-out thriller or as an extended hallucination. Either reading works just fine. Grady does a remarkable job of crafting his characters and of creating their "mission," an infiltration of a strange and frightening world: the U.S. For these former heroes, passing as "normal" is their greatest challenge, and, ultimately, this is a story of emancipation, of breaking free from--or at least coming to terms with--their own troubled minds. David Pitt
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved

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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 3.1 out of 5 stars  18 reviews
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A New Cukoo's Nest! Oct. 24 2006
By Mystery Maven - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
Mad Dogs is more than a remarkable ride -- it is a fast-paced and literate (and, at times, twisted and wildly homorous) escapade into the the insanity of present-day national security. As in One Flew Over the Cukoo's Nest, you'll cheer on the inmates, five broken and believable characters who will keep you riveted to the page with their individual and collective stories. Grady really gets inside their minds. I couldn't put it down. My husband couldn't. Nor could my neice. The ending is a kicker!
8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Leave it to the Experts Sept. 27 2006
By Nora Charles - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
I loved this book but LIBRARY JOURNAL says it better than I could "Five agents, all hidden in a lunatic asylum in Maine because they are damaged goods, make a break for the Boston-Washington, DC corridor when a terrifying murder triggers their fight-or-flight instincts. As with any good team, each member has a talent or weakness that meshes with those of the others, often to surprising effect during their week-long hegira. Grady, whose phenomenal Six Days of the Condor transformed the spy genre, grips you immediately with phantasmagoric writing at a breakneck pace. Avoiding introspection, he nonetheless illuminates the trauma at the heart of each agent's psychic wound so that you care about what happens. Could this new novel from a veteran writer/reporter be the One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest of the cyber-generation? Indisputably, it belongs in every suspense collection."
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars James Grady Hits a Home Run Nov. 2 2006
By R. J. Buikema - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
Mad Dogs is one of the most enjoyable fiction books that I have read in the past few years. Combining wit, humor, and intrigue, it is a true page-turner, fast-paced with interesting twists and turns. Jim Grady possesses a confidence and maturity in his writing style that set him in an elite class of authors, no question about it. I surprisingly found myself laughing out loud on mass transit today - the book is that good!
5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A Little Too Wild of a Ride Oct. 11 2006
By A. Ross - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
Best known for his 1974 thriller "Six Days of the Condor" (truncated by

Hollywood into the Robert Redford vehicle "Three Days of the Condor"), Grady returns to the theme of a rogue element loose within the CIA. But while that story was a classic thriller in the '70s mold, this one is all kinds of wild and wacky, and may well not be to the liking of those who like straightforward spy stories. It begins in a top secret government lunatic asylum in rural Maine, where government assets who are psychologically damaged are stashed for observation and safekeeping.

We meet the five heroes in group session with their temporary psychiatrist, and are quickly introduced to their various neuroses. When the psychiatrist is apparently murdered in the their closed ward, the quintet confer and decide that since they're going to get blamed for the murder, they'd better make a break for it. And so begins a rollicking road-trip down the Northeast seaboard to Washington, D.C., where they hope to unmask the true killer and clear themselves. Their escape is inventive, although perhaps a bit too easy -- one would think that some slightly more elaborate security procedures would be in place given the known capabilities of the patients. The trip south is relatively entertaining, as -- coming down off their meds -- they must zig and zag to avoid and outwit local law enforcement and the black ops teams sent to track them dow . Along the way, we get extended flashback chapters explaining what happened to each of the five that shattered their mind.

Posing as a German engineer, geeky Eric got swept up with other guest workers during the first Gulf War and was tortured by Iraqi intelligence to the point where he can only obey orders and has no free will. Black and beautiful Hailey was unexpectedly placed in the middle of a dangerous deal involving an African diamond smuggler / arms merchant / nuclear materials broker and some Russians and the realpolitik of the outcome left her emotionally broken. Zane is an old Vietnam vet whose bright idea for a counterintel operation along the Ho Chi Minh Trail leads to him witnessing the slaughter of his father figure and a grim rescue operation. Russell was working undercover as a Serb militiaman in Bosnia and saw one atrocity too many before he snapped. And for protagonist Victor who was working in Malaysia in the mid-'90s trying to keep tabs on al-Qaeda, it was the death of the woman he loved. These lengthy vignettes are told much more straightforwardly than the rest of the book, and make for much more compelling -- if horrific -- reading. While this background information makes one sympathetic to the five characters, they're not exactly fleshed out in any meaningful way. Each has a distinctive trait or two, and each is given a moment to shine, but they generally feel like types rather than people.

As they make their way from Maine to Manhattan to Asbury Park (NJ) to Wheaton (MD) and finally, Bethesda, the team picks up a hostage/witness and tries to piece together all the parts using their considerable spycraft. Consistently befuddled by each new piece of information, they turn to the one person who may be able to save them, in a denouement that's rather disappointing. The writing is very loose at times, veering into streams of consciousness as Grady peers into the heads of five people coming off their meds and trying to grapple with the outside world. Ultimately the book is full of energy, but energy that's not always harnessed.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Unique Story! Dec 4 2007
By Melvin Hunt - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Mass Market Paperback
This story had an original twist. It puts a new twist on the CIA. It
tells of five CIA cae officers who have been placed in Raven Castle in
the state of Maine. This is a facility where CIA officers who have gone
insane are placed. The main characters are Victor,Russell,Eric, Hailey and
Zane. You are given a biography of their CIA careers. They have a psychiatrist that they are fond of. His name is Dr. Friedman. After a
therapy session they find Dr. Friedman dead. They finally decide to escape
the facility. After the escape they begin a hunt for the real murderers.
They are doing this without the benefit of their medicines that is required to keep them stable. This turns into a wild journey. The five
patients follow their investiation all the way to Washington D.C. Along
the way they dodge every kind of obstacle. This turns into a very interesting story.

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