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Once Dead

(The Rho Agenda: Inception #1)

4.06  ·  Rating details ·  3,258 ratings  ·  170 reviews

Jack Gregory, the CIA’s top assassin, went rogue after a mission gone wrong. When a confrontation leaves him bleeding out on death’s doorstep, he is faced with an offer from a dark figure named Anchanchu. If Jack is willing to act as a human host for Anchanchu, the entity will revive him and give him another shot at life. Jack takes the deal...but he must now face the cons

Kindle Edition, 448 pages
Published August 19th 2014 by 47North (first published August 5th 2014)
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Average rating 4.06  · 
Rating details
 ·  3,258 ratings  ·  170 reviews

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Trish R.
Aug 07, 2017 rated it really liked it
Ok, so this is about our hero Jack Gregory that managed to get himself killed and was offered his life back IF he would let Anchanchu, a mind worm, tag along in Jack’s brain. Now, Anchanchu is a blood thirsty killing machine so Jack has to control that part of his brain or he’d be killing anyone and everyone around him.

Although, Jack does kill a lot of people, all of them deserved it except one old man who asked to be killed because his wife just died and he didn’t want to go on without her. So
Oct 16, 2014 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: net-galley, dnf
This was a NetGalley read that I selected based on the cover. I really wanted to like this book. The blurb sounds pretty darn cool, and the opening prologue kind of reminds me of a Robert Ludlum novel. Unfortunately, I stumbled a lot over the writing and ended up setting it aside as a DNF.

I feel like an otherwise interesting plot is bogged down by a tendency to tell the reader, at great length, what is happening in a scene--rather than showing it. That, and lots of clunky paragraphs, such as th
Cathy Ryan
All through The Rho Agenda I was intrigued by the characters of Jack Gregory and Janet Price. What was their story? Why did Jack’s eyes sometimes seem to have a red glint? In this first of three prequels we get to learn much more about Jack and Janet and what makes them who they are.

Jack, a CIA agent on the trail of his brother’s killer, finds himself facing Carlton ‘Priest’ Williams and a gang of knife wielding thugs in a Calcutta alley. After a bloody fight Jack, well outnumbered and badly wou
Mike Nemeth
Dec 26, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
"Once Dead" catapults Richard Phillips into serious thriller writer status. It's fast-moving. The hero, Jack Gregory, is conflicted in an interesting fashion, and he's good at getting himself out of serious scrapes. In the opening scene, Gregory gets jumped in an alley Return of the Dragon style. But he's not Bruce Lee. He's about as good though and gives worse than he gets. But Gregory is near death. He gets sewn up by a couple of helpful people, but it's not enough. Yet, Gregory pulls through. ...more
Aug 25, 2014 rated it really liked it

Publisher: 47 North
Publishing Date: August 2014
ISBN: 9781477824108
Genre: Fantasy
Rating: 3.6/5

Publisher Description: Gregory, once the CIA’s top assassin, went rogue after a mission gone wrong. When a confrontation leaves him bleeding out on death’s doorstep, he’s faced with an offer from a dark figure ..If Jack is willing to act as its human host, the entity will revive him and give him another shot at life.

Review: Wow, that is one of the worst covers
David Dalton
Years ago, when the first Indiana Jones movie came out (Indiana Jones and the Raiders of the Lost Ark) I read many favorable reviews. A LOT of favorable reviews; almost to the point where I was questioning just how good the movie actually was. Well, the first time I saw that movie I KNEW the reviewers were right. I loved all the cliff-hanger action scenes and the never-say-die attitude of Indiana. Nothing could stop him, he was driven.

Now fast forward to the end of Aug 2014. I came across Once D
Jacque Holst
Feb 03, 2015 rated it it was amazing
If you haven't read any of Phillips books do yourself a favor and start now.

I don't believe I've connected with an author of this type and caliber since I picked up 'Hunt For Red October' and didn't stop until I read everything Tom Clancy had in print or has put in print since. Do yourself a favor, pick up one of Richard Phillips books and start reading. You will be opening the door to a world of breathtaking action, espionage, black ops and plausible deniability. Governments hang by a thread, A
Apr 25, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
Wow! I LOVED THIS BOOK! Saying that doesn't do it justice. Everything about the book was extremely good...from the storyline to the pace. Once I started reading it I could barely bring myself to put it down. ...more
Aug 17, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: kindle
ARC from Netgalley

Thoroughly enjoyed this book, the story was excellent.Loved the dark passenger who resided in Jack(Ripper).Brilliantly written and very quick paced story.Hopefully there will be more from Jack.
Apr 13, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: audiobooks
Entertaining thriller with great characters, realistic intrigue, and a touch of fantasy to keep me happy. Already downloaded the second book in the series; looking forward to seeing how these characters evolve!
Feb 23, 2018 rated it really liked it
Although this book isn't what I expected and the violence is extreme, by the end of the book I figured that it was supposed to be that way and I will need to read the next in the series to find out if I'm right. I was expecting alien space ship stuff and got a mind worm. Everything else (except the moon-mining thing and hopefully one of the weapons used) could have happened today. The plot is edge-of-the-seat, however, and the characters intriguing, including the mind worm. There are lots of ref ...more
Oct 05, 2018 rated it really liked it
Full of plot twists and a bit of supernatural intrigue

I can't say anything about the supernatural aspect without giving spoilers, so I'll focus on the rest of the story.

This started out looking like a "Badder version of Jason Borne" with a little bit of supernatural tossed in. It grew into a combination of techno-thriller and otherworldly mystery. Fast paced, definitely not boring!
Liezl Ruiz
Feb 19, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: thriller
Once Dead is a highly detailed, eventful book, where actions are delivered blow by blow across the pages and the protagonist you'll love instantly. All the events are exciting, only that the tone of the writing is not. Or maybe it was just my Death Watch hangover. You get to read so many chapters first, for which by the way each chapter is so short, just to get the hang of the narration before you could truly appreciate it.

I remember reading a report of Jack the Ripper's real identity. He was a
Odette Cortés
Sep 05, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
As I read about Jack “The Ripper” Gregory’s adventures I couldn’t help but hearing the Bourne Identity/Supremacy/Ultimatum/Legacy soundtrack in my head. Minutes after dying Jack is approached by a creature (in what he later thinks is a dream). This strange being offers Jack a second chance to return to the world of the living, and so the ex-CIA agent rises from the dead. The book goes on a rapid pace following different characters that have major or minor roles to play in an upcoming internation ...more
Lisa Otoupal-Robel
Aug 27, 2014 rated it really liked it
A believed-dead CIA assassin turns back up after a near-death experience, accompanied by a spirit that feeds on extreme emotions. Accompanied as in ... replacing his own life spark.

I enjoyed this book. I think we all wonder if killing kills the assassins' souls! Now, we have an ancient soul inhabiting a human, who strives to maintain his humanity while avenging wrongs.

I especially like the way the spirit could be surprised. I could almost, in my head, hear it saying, "Huh. I didn't see that co
Aug 31, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Jack (Ripper) Gregory is a former CIA operative who is living on borrowed time. ONCE DEAD is how he deals with this situation and how it affects him. Add Janet Price, herself an accomplished former CIA operative, and you have the makings of a cover to cover action story. From the back streets of Calcutta to the cosmodrome at Baikonur they leave a rapidly increasing body count as they work frantically to avert a major disaster on the east coast of the United States. There are several loose ends, ...more
Jason B.
Jan 17, 2017 rated it it was ok
Eh. The concept - a contract field agent, on the verge of death, is offered a bargain by the same alien entity that occupied the body of famous killers over the years: a return to life, in exchange for being host to the entity. Aaaand that's more or less all we hear of that.

The rest of it is a ho-hum political CIA/NSA/Russian Mob shoot-'em-up, complete with your usual 10/10 superhot female agent who is just INEXORABLY drawn to our protagonist.

Tired tropes and an obvious fantasy churn.
Jan 22, 2015 rated it really liked it
Rho Agenda Inception

Having already read Phillips Rho Agenda trilogy,I was somewhat pessimistic about how he was going to top it, but top it he does ,flawlessly! All hail Jack Gregory! The Ripper's origin story manages to be both unique and unusual enough to make it believable. Can't wait to see where the next book takes me!!
James McAllister
Aug 27, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Wow, didn't think a retro story could be so good

Wondering what the hell was going on with Gregory in the other Reo Agenda episodes, I could hardly believe that a retro story could be so exspliscative + exciting + scientific!!! all at the same time!!!

Jan 31, 2015 rated it it was amazing
lots of action, scenery and well packaged

Travel the world (well, Europe anyway) with a driven character who attracts action wherever he goes. Add a very strong female secondary and you'll want more books like this! ^.^
Emily G. Seanez
Feb 28, 2015 rated it it was amazing
This series answers questions I had from the other series. Great!

This action packed book definitely is aimed at adults. While Jack and Janet fit the story line in the next series this book appeals to older readers, not young adults.
Robin Gustafson
Sep 08, 2014 rated it really liked it
Great action book

From start to finish a great action story Once dead is a great prequela to the Rho Agenda. It kept my interest all the way through
Fred Wagner
How this thing could be considered science fiction is beyond me. I suppose I should say that in general it was a decent book and a decent read. But it is not what it is purported to be. I am only hoping that this actually will in some way, shape, or form matter in the whole Rho Agenda series of books and help make better sense of the RA Assimilation books which I am now thinking I should have gone right to. And now there's 2 more books in this RA Inception series. Are they going to be mediocre a ...more
Dec 14, 2017 rated it liked it
I liked the characters Ripper and Janet in the Rho Agenda trilogy, so I finally bit on this book (Once Dead). And I liked those two characters in this book too -- BUT introducing a non-human entity to (presumably) explain the Ripper’s extra-ordinary instincts, awareness and reactions seemed just short of crazy to me. (And that’s not a spoiler as the entity is introduced in the Prologue – and talked about in Amazon’s book description as well.)

As for the antagonist’s plan, the plan’s success depen
Sep 11, 2017 rated it it was ok
Holy cow.....Zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz.....

Warning this book will come to an end. Some baddie will try to stop it. Some politcians will try to CYA. The awesome protagonist will see it to the end... Warning this story will finish. Baddie will try though hero will fight against with help of those keeping their heinies covered. Oh no, baddie started things again, hero says no, it must end. Politicians came out smelling like a rose. The end.

I gave up once I was almost halfway though. The repetition was
Oct 05, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: audiobook, reviewed
5 Stars for Narration by MacLeod Andrews
3 Stars for Story


The intro is a bit haphazard but it has enough going on to make me curious. The story became less and less plausible as it continued. I only made it to the end because Andrews did a fantastic job narrating this story. I made a comment about the story coming off like it's confused. Yup. That opinion remained to the end of the book.

Alien altered human becomes superhuman. Ok. Except that human was rather exceptional before the a
Jonathan Pettit
May 15, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Great CIA action with a bit of science fiction! Jack Gregory is a CIA assassin that finds himself in a "to live" or "not to live" situation. He opts to live with a "rider" alien in his head. The book was a well-written military action thriller, taking place in Germany and Russia. Lots of action with a couple great characters, though the science fiction aspect could have been left out. I would have the enjoyed the book just as well. The story's been done before, upper level CIA brass wants a rogu ...more
David Cochrane
Apr 25, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Great narration

Okay story.

The story was fun for a while. But then it began to seem like a comic book instead of an action thriller. I dearly wanted to like this better. But it was serviceable as long as I could forget the "heard this all before" thoughts. The story had a decent ending. Not surprising but a bit suspenseful.

Macleod Andrews is superb. The various characters came alive with his command of accents. Even when he was reading the contemplation parts of a characters involvement the accen
Dec 06, 2016 rated it liked it
Started off a bit confused until I realized it was a prequel and not a sequel. Due to being a prequel, (view spoiler) in the original books. In the end, the villain seemed to be one of the least 2 dimensional characters, and the plot itself mostly followed the standard path. Still, quick paced and ok read which ...more
Mary Stricklin
Dec 01, 2017 rated it it was amazing
The best spy and SiFi story

I normally do not like spy storys . But this story grabs you from the go and do not want to let you put it down. I personally believe anyone who likes spy stories with a touch of the supernatural would love it. I can say there was nothing that I didn't love about it. I hope the next one is just as good, because I believe I will be reading it. I don't want to give any of the story away. Let's just say that I hope certain characters are in the next story also.
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Librarian Note: There is more than one author in the Goodreads database with this name.

Richard Phillips is the million copy bestselling author of the Rho Agenda scifi series, the Jack 'The Ripper' Gregory series, and the epic fantasy series, The Endarian Prophecy. He is a retired Army Officer, West Point graduate, and has a Master of Science degree in Physics from the Naval Post Graduate School. H

Other books in the series

The Rho Agenda: Inception (3 books)
  • Dead Wrong (The Rho Agenda Inception #2)
  • Dead Shift (The Rho Agenda Inception #3)

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