After a lifetime of working for a secret international group, John Murray finally reveals his journey with the help of his wife, Sharon, and co-writer Abby. His memoir, Code Name: Papa – My Extraordinary Life While Hiding in Plain Sight, details his time within an organization that, while not connected to the US government, operated with the full blessing of top people in our government.
“With this book, I hope to educate the public and open up the conversation about what our country and others have really done on dangerous secret missions to help the world,” says John Murray (Papa), who deftly tells his fascinating and memorable life story, laying out facts but leaving it to readers to determine how they feel about each mission.
The highlighted missions include the deaths of eight counter covert operators in a major Las Vegas hotel conference room during a mission that has “stayed in Vegas” until now; a European mission to save sex slaves from major drug dealers; a successful all-out effort to save a small European country from takeover, and much more.
These are real stories, gritty and true—not the fantasy world of James Bond, Scandal, and others.
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.
“I highly recommend this book to anyone who is interested in what really happens to bad people who threaten the safety and well being of our world. It was a page turner that I could hardly put down.” – S. King
“I typically do not take the time to write reviews. However, this book was so incredibly riveting that I felt compelled to let other Amazon members know that it’s an honest-to-goodness page turner. I can’t wait to see what happens next…hopefully a sequel and movie!” – Max’s Mom
“The story is riveting, once you start reading you won’t want to put it down! Learning about these undercover missions involving the cooperation of several nations is mind boggling.” – L. Lynch
About the Authors:
For the sake of their own safety and that of their loved ones, the writers have chosen to move forward in revealing this story under aliases.
A Vietnam vet, John Murray, later known as “Papa,” has spent the majority of his adult life working as an undercover agent for the U.S., Canadian and various European governments. During this time, he rose from agent to the head of US Operations.
John was raised in the South by his grandfather who taught him at an early age how to survive by hunting and fishing, which all served him well for his future. He firmly believes that if he had not had the guidance of his grandfather and others who influenced his life that he never would have survived the ordeals that he did.
John, who enjoyed a very average American childhood, always wanted to be a ‘normal’ husband and father, but you’ll eventually understand why that was impossible.
Papa and his crews bore the responsibility of taking care of much of the world’s evil – evil that could never have come to the public’s attention.
Now retired, he and his wife are living in a small rural Western town. As ‘normal’ as he tries to live, he will always be haunted by the visions of what he saw and what he tried to prevent or rectify.
Sharon is a retired business executive who has lived in many parts of the US and in Asia. Happily married to John for over five years, she had no idea about his work until she experienced his nightmares about the past.
After discussions about how she might help John, he asked Sharon to help him write his memoirs just as something to leave behind, unpublished. After several years of working on them, Sharon convinced John it was a story worth telling to the world. Working on this project has helped John start to face some of the things he experienced while trying to be a good guy in a world gone awry.
This is Jones’ fifth book. She also writes for numerous magazines. The original manuscript was handed off to Abby, a friend of Sharon, who has a reputation for her easy, conversational writing style.
Abby worked with John and Sharon for approximately eighteen months to make sure John’s voice was never lost in the rewrites. She notes that both John and Sharon were wonderful to collaborate with via phone, computer and text. By the way, she has never met John!
Abby currently lives on the West Coast. She has traveled extensively and lived in many other parts of the US as well as in Europe.
Code Name: Papa—My Extraordinary Life while Hiding in Plain Sight is the first in a planned trilogy. John, Sharon, and Abby are currently working on the second book, about Papa’s mentor, Amy.
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The childhoods of Johnny and Adrianne couldn’t have been more different. Not only were they born more than one-thousand miles apart, but the cultural and financial contrasts between their respective childhoods are equally as stark.
Old-money wealth and privilege defined Johnny’s childhood in Ladue, Missouri, which is to St. Louis what Scarsdale is to New York City or Beverly Hills to Los Angeles. From the moment of his birth, Johnny’s world was private clubs, private schools, private jets, high-society etiquette, and a loving nanny named Lizzy.
Middleclass Jewish values, bickering but loving parents, and the distinct character of Long Island defined Adrianne’s early life. It was public school, public transportation, Jones Beach, and Lawn Guyland rather than Long Island or tawk instead of talk.
However, Johnny and Adrianne’s childhoods share a tragic parallel that damaged each to the core of their psyche, their emotional well-being, and brought both to the brink of death.
Where their story diverges from so many others is that rather than fall into the darkness, Johnny and Adrianne reached for the light. Thus began their respective journeys of healing, which led from the slow death of addiction to a serendipitous meeting, falling in love and building a shared life dedicated to the service of others.
Told as a tandem narrative, Adrianne and Johnny pass their respective stories of childhood trauma and abuse, addiction, healing, and final triumph of love back and forth in alternating chapters. Their stories are unique, but share parallels that create a taut and emotionally compelling narrative.
Filled with hope, inspiration and humor, The Painting and the Piano is an unforgettable story of pain, loss and the undying human quest for happiness.
Praise for The Painting & The Piano:
“Two adults overcome damaging childhoods and addictions to find each other and rebuild their lives together in this affecting debut memoir.” – Kirkus Reviews
“Have you ever read a book, that upon finishing, you just knew would be a story that would stay with you for a long, long time? Well, that certainly was the case for me when I finished the last words of The Painting and The Piano… Authors John Lipscomb and Adrianne Lugo have done a splendid job in telling their unique stories in a wonderfully intertwined way that pulls them both together. The stories, though difficult, are told delicately, and will grab readers from the very beginning. I was unable to put down this book until the very end…” – Reviewed by Tracy Slowiak for Readers’ Favorite
Excerpt from The Painting & The Piano:
I’m in an office in Manhattan. There’s a large mirror embedded in one wall. The furniture is small, a table and two chairs built especially for children. There are a few toys, but none of them are very interesting.
The room is bare and cold, even though it’s mid-summer in Manhattan.
Honey, we have to go, but we’ll be back soon, okay? Mom says.
Where are you going? I feel fidgety and kick at the kiddie chair next to me.
Just for a little walk, not too far.
My tummy hurts and I don’t want to be there.
Okay, Ady Maidy? Dad asks.
We’ll be back in a jip, Mom adds.
Jiff, Dad says.
Jiff! We’ll be back in a jiff.
Good grief. She knows what I mean, don’t you honey?
Mom and Dad look at the woman who brought us to this room. I don’t remember her name, maybe it was Ms. Abramsky, but she’s wearing beige polyester pants and a sky blue short-sleeved blouse with a ruffle running along either side of the buttons.
Her arms are folded across her belly. It’ll be okay. Your mom and dad will be here in a minute.
I look at my parents. Mom and Dad are right here.
Mom’s eyes are sharp, head tilted, arms across her chest, purse grasped tightly in her right hand. Dad’s eyes are soft, moist. His hands are in his pockets.
I guess I mean Mr. and Mrs. Schoenowitz, Ms. Abramsky says.
Can we step out into the hall? Mom asks.
Yes Mrs. Cahn, replies Ms. Abramsky.
Will, why don’t you stay with Ady, Mom says to Dad. She and Ms. Abramsky step into the hall. The door shuts solidly behind them.
I couldn’t hear what they said, nor do I think I wanted to, but when I was older Mom rehashed the conversations she’d had with the agency.
Everything was fine until I called to say we wanted to adopt Adrianne, Mom remembered saying.
I know, responded Ms. Abramsky.
When we first came into this agency we were very clear that we were looking for a baby girl that we could adopt—
I wasn’t here then—
I know that, but it should be in the file because when we were called we were told that you had a little girl from drug-addicted parents and that it would be a long-term foster parenting opportunity that probably would turn into an adoption.
At that time the mother was in jail and the father was nowhere to be found, said Ms. Abramsky.
Right…and all the time your agency is telling us, ‘Don’t worry, everything is fine—’
And it was. When you asked about adopting Adrianne we had to try and contact the biological parents, which we did—
—When Adrianne was born Mrs. Schoenowitz voluntarily put Adrianne into foster care, so we had to try to speak to both Mr. and Mrs. Schoenowitz—
So that’s why we’re here now—
—and they wanted to meet Adrianne.
What about adopting Adrianne? Is that still in the picture?
Mrs. Cahn, we’re a foster agency and in no way an adoption agency. We have certain guidelines.
Does one of those guidelines include telling Mrs. Schoenowitz she has the right to take Adrianne back?
It took a long time for Mom to get an answer to that question.
About the Authors:
Johnny and Adrianne reside in South Florida with their Yorkie, Holly. Both are involved in the AA/Recovery community. Adrianne currently works at a recovery house and Johnny continues speaking, sponsoring and helping others in recovery.
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