Book Review: Orphan X by Gregg Hurwitz (published by Minotaur)
I was lucky enough to read this novel whilst on holiday, lounging by my friend’s pool in Dubai and it didn’t disappoint. It’s a fast-paced thriller focused on the life of Evan Smoak, otherwise known as Orphan X, otherwise known as the Nowhere Man. A black ops trained assassin from the Orphan program, Evan has gone rogue and is now a pro bono helper of those in dire situations with nowhere else to turn.
He leads a jolly double life in the souped-up penthouse of a very normal block of flats, with busy body neighbours and the tedium of attending homeowner association meetings. And a few floors below lives a VERY irritating single mother and her little boy, whom she seems to dump on Evan at every opportunity even though she hardly knows him. The little boy has a special skill with balloons and leaving grubby handprints on Evan’s freezer.
Evan is a complex character who is believable and likable in an awkward, cold on the surface, actually has a heart of gold beneath, kind of way. He uses his skills for good, feels guilty about his old mentor from the program who became a surrogate father (because he really was an orphan) and generally kicks ass. But then he discovers someone is on his tail, someone who wants Orphan X eliminated.
This was a great read, the fight scenes, descriptions of tech and weaponry were specific and detailed to give the impression Evan knew his stuff, but were not so involved that they lost my interest. I did, however, find it odd that he helped his hapless, martial arts crazed, neighbour and I was also beyond annoyed with the cliché portrayal of the single mum who lived downstairs.
Otherwise, the plot was like a rollercoaster, with the much needed still moments at the top, before the fall, to allow anticipation to build and to allow the reader to catch their breath. And then a rush of fast action and quite a few twists. I was intrigued by the ending and although I won’t rush to read book two in the series, I will keep my eye out for it and pick it up in the future.
My rating: 4/5
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