Last Updated on February 17, 2018
Orphan X is the first book in the new Evan Smoak – aka The Nowhere Man, aka Orphan X series by author Gregg Hurwitz. I picked up this book because I’m on an assassin thriller novels kick lately, having read Tom Wood’s Victor The Assassin series, Mark Greaney’s The Gray Man series and many others.
I figured Orphan X is a welcome addition to this thriller sub-genre, and I was right. However, Evan Smoak does remind me also of Lee Child’s Jack Reacher in a way as well, so that’s a plus.
The book is about Evan Smoak, a legendary assassin known as The Nowhere Man. At the age of 12, he has snatched away from his already bad life and included in a shadow government organization called The Orphan Program that trained young guys to become deadly assassins later on in life.
Each child is known only under a letter, and Evan is called X.
Trained by a father figure called Jack in all sorts, forms and arts of killing the opponent, when the program is eventually disbanded, Evan is already well underway to question the reasons why he has to kill people and why those people. He soon realizes that the life chosen for him is not a life he would choose for himself, and once the secret program is dissolved, he knows that he now can put his lethal skills to good use – not to kill, but to save people who really need saving.
He doesn’t need money for his services as he has plenty from his previous life, he has only one request: that the people whom he saves will pay it forward, by giving others in dire need of help his number to call. Maybe it’s a way for him to atone for all his dark past, or maybe he’s found his real calling. Regardless of the reason, he has become famous and people who truly are desperate have now a way to get help. Once they call, he greets them with the words ““Do you need my help?”.
Sadly his one rule turns out to be the one to put him in grave danger from the wrong people who want him dead. Someone from his past knows who he is and will do everything in his power not only to expose him but also to eliminate him.
By helping his latest client, a young girl, he’s entered a vicious cat and mouse game where he suddenly becomes the prey. And he’s now no longer sure whether the client is indeed someone in need of help or someone eager to betray him.
The story is fast-paced, the action is pretty much non-stop and Evan (not his real name, of course) is a character I couldn’t help but like, despite his rather cold and enigmatic nature. Over the years he has built a wall surrounding and protecting him both physically and emotionally. And soon this wall is about to crumble when he meets his neighbors Mia and her adopted son, Peter.
The characters have a nice depth to them, making you feel that you really want to know more about them. Evan is fearless, probably an adrenaline junkie at times and he has one main rule and honor code: never let an innocent person die.
I’m definitely looking forward to rereading the second book in the series, which will be titled The Nowhere Man to come our January 2017. I can’t wait!