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Wednesday, 31 January 2018

Book Review: Orphan X by Gregg Hurwitz

The Nowhere Man is a legendary figure spoken about only in whispers. It's said that when he's reached by the truly desperate and deserving, the Nowhere Man can and will do anything to protect and save them.

But he's no legend.

Evan Smoak is a man with skills, resources, and a personal mission to help those with nowhere else to turn. He's also a man with a dangerous past. Chosen as a child, he was raised and trained as part of the off-the-books black box Orphan program, designed to create the perfect deniable intelligence assets - i.e. assassins. He was Orphan X. Evan broke with the program, using everything he learned to disappear.

Now, however, someone is on his tail. Someone with similar skills and training. Someone who knows Orphan X. Someone who is getting closer and closer. And will exploit Evan's weakness - his work as The Nowhere Man - to find him and eliminate him. 

orphan-x, gregg-hurwitz, book

Fast-paced and packed full of surprising twists and turns, Orphan X is a real stand-out thriller.

There really is danger around every turn for Evan Smoak (aka Orphan X) our main character and assassin turned crime-fighting hero. Evan is unique - a sort of modern-day James Bond - yet he also carries characteristics of other popular heroes from the thriller, action and adventure genres, somehow taking the best traits from each and rolling them all up into one perfect hero package. All at once he's comfortingly familiar while being completely unique; Hurwitz paying homage to the genre whilst simultaneously carving out his own path.

The fast-paced nature of the book makes it a relatively quick read, encouraging you to read faster and keep turning the pages in order to find out what happens. Before you know it you've been sucked into another action sequence and a whole hour has flown by. In truth, this is a testament to Hurwitz's writing skill and expertise - the best authors are the ones who can make you live in their fictional world and forget all about the distractions of real life for a while. Hurwitz does this with ease, welcoming you into Evan Smoak's world with open arms.

From a personal point of view, I felt that there was rather too large a focus placed on the ins and outs of the weaponry used by Evan and the other characters. I've never been interested in that kind of thing, so I found myself glazing over a little and trying to skip over paragraphs which were particularly heavy on weapon-related terminology. I also loved the developing relationship Evan shared with several of the other characters (sadly, naming names would lead to spoilers) though I would have liked to see some of the possibilities here explored in more detail. Perhaps this is something Hurwitz will address in the sequel? I guess I'll have to read it to find out!

If you give it a try, it won't be long before you begin to understand the reasons why I chose Orphan X as one of my top five books of 2017.

Rating: 4 stars

Orphan X is available to buy now.

Have you read Orphan X? What did you think? Share your thoughts in the comments below!

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