In the second installment of the Gregg Hurwitz books about Orphan X, Evan Smoak is a man with a troubled past.
As a secret operative agent working for the underground Orphan Program, under the code name Orphan X he has killed many targets over the years.
Having been groomed from a very young age for the job, he grew up to be a killer, and now killing is all that he knows to do.
The death of his mentor changed all that, however. Holding his dying friend in his arms left him with a heavy sense of guilt, which has stayed with him for the last 8 years.
So he quit the government program and figured that if he has to kill, it would be to protect innocent victims. He would help those who can’t do it for themselves, for a simple price: when they meet someone else with major trouble in their lives, they should pass his number on.
For the last eight years, the chain has never been broken. Evan, with many millions hidden in various bank accounts all over the world, would never have to worry about employment or paying the bills. So he would do this job, this attempt at atonement, for free, while calling himself The Nowhere Man.
His latest case brings him across a human trafficking / child sex ring where Evan not only promises to save the girl who phoned him, but also to dismantle the entire operation once and for all.
During the operation clean-up, he is kidnapped by an eccentric businessman who calls himself Renee, and brought to a remotely located mansion to be kept under heavy guard until he hands over everything he has in his bank account.
While idling in his locked room, Evan meditates on the fact that he is, for once, in the very same circumstances as are those who usually call him for help: a desperate predicament with no evident way out.
His problems are compounded with the fact that a young girl is still stashed away in a container and he still needs to save her, and that the current owner of the Orphan Program, Van Sciver, is hot on his tails because no one leaves the program. Ever.
The story is full of action and once I started reading, it was hard to lift my eyes from the pages even for a second. Nail biting suspense, unbelievable situations that Evan has to deal with – including escaping from an enclosed and reinforced glass box – and crazy twists make this book a joy to read for any fans of characters like Jason Bourne, Jack Reacher, and even James Bond without his fancy gadgets.
At times you truly had to suspend your belief because some situations were literally inescapable for everyone but for The Nowhere Man.
However, when I read these types of books, I’m not looking for factual accuracy or too much realism. I am looking for rewarding nail-biting hours where I can follow the non-stop action and feel that I am there, watching it all unfold as a fly on the wall.