Kingdom Come Mass Market Paperback – Jul 3 2001
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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.
Top Customer Reviews
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.Read more ›
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.
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.Read more ›
Most recent customer reviews
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 morePublished on Jan. 30 2002
If you like this, you should read John Case's works, which according to a possible rumor, may be Jim Hougan's penname. Read morePublished on Nov. 29 2001
......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 morePublished on Sept. 28 2001 by John R. Linnell
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 morePublished on Aug. 31 2001 by Christopher L Robinson
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 morePublished on July 26 2001 by Melvin Hunt
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 morePublished on Nov. 22 2000 by Sanity Stream
Hougan combines a smart, entertaining style with suspenseful, fast moving plotting to produce an extremely enjoyable contribution to the spy genre. Read morePublished on Nov. 18 2000 by j. means
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 morePublished on June 22 2000 by Tristan J. Weir