Evan Smoak #1: Orphan X by Gregg Hurwitz (Penguin)

‘Do you need my help?

It was always the first question he asked. They called him when they had nowhere else to turn.

As a boy he was chosen, then taken from the orphanage he called home.

Raised and trained as part of a top secret programme he was sent to the worst places in the world to do the things his government denied any knowledge of.

Then he broke with the programme, using everything he’d learned to disappear. He wanted to help the desperate and deserving.

But now someone’s on his tail. Someone who has issues with his past. Someone who knows he was once known simply as

Orphan X

The Jason Bourne film trilogy is one of my favourite all-time movie trilogies and the books are always fun to read so when I saw Orphan X in Tesco I immediately thought that this would be a good, fun action thriller and combined with the intriguing story, as well as the fact that this was written by Gregg Hurwitz, a writer who had a decent run on an early New 52 Batman series, I was kind of interested to check it out and I’m glad it didn’t disappoint.

Evan Smoak goes by many names. Some call him Orphan X. Others call him The Nowhere Man. He’s a product of a secret government program to identify and train black ops assassins, but now he’s retired, helping others where he can. It’s kind of similar to Allen Zadoff’s Boy Nobody, a young adult book with a comparable premise, but Orphan X has enough differences even if it’s not completely fresh and original to still be an enjoyable read.

The action was fantastic from start to finish and the pages sped by. Hurwitz knows how to write a well-paced thriller and the various descriptions and level of detail are here help to immerse you in the storyline. There are enough twists to keep the action exciting and Hurwitz also manages to make Evan a far more complex character than your average good guy assassin which has been a ridiculously overused trope.

One thing that did bug me was that there was even more product placement here than in your average James Bond film, with name after name being dropped left right and centre. But that was only a minor issue as for the large part this book still managed to remain pretty gripping, and made the most out of a compelling plot to tell an enjoyable and engaging narrative that as a result comes recommended for fans of the thriller genre.



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