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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.
Grabbing the listener from the beginning, Orphan X is a masterful thriller, the first in Gregg Hurwitz's electrifying new series featuring Evan Smoak.
I've recently gone through several suspense/thriller type books lately that had good reviews and found them to be completely dissatisfying with unreliable characters, messy plot holes, and lazy writing. As such, I've been skirting away from this genre for a bit. However, this book had such high ratings, I was curious to give it a go even though suspense and thrillers aren't usually my go-to reading for a distraction. In my experience, most of the most popular writers of this genre tend to write protagonists with egos that make them absolutely hateful to me. Evan Smoak, while certainly not humble, maintained enough humanity to make me like him and want to root for him.
The story is good. The writer clearly did his homework in the research department. There was one technology the writer included with microchips the size of sand particles that were activated by digestive juices and I thought that it sounded absurd and made-up only to find from a google search that such technology does actually exist and even operates in the way the author described. It gave me a lot more respect for the author and for the plot. An author that takes care with the research definitely shows in the writing and it went a long way in making the story more enjoyable for me.
The story has a lot of graphic violence in it. If you're sensitive to high body counts and violence, this won't be the book for you. However, somehow it did not seem to be gratuitous as it was definitely all in the interest of furthering the plot and creating suspense.
Perhaps the ending wrapped up slightly more "happily ever after" than I had anticipated but I didn't feel dissatisfied with the ending. One of my pet peeves is a story that ends without wrapping up all the story lines and this book accomplished that wrap up without having to drag us along through excess fluff to accomplish it.
While suspense and thriller isn't my usual cup of tea, I definitely will be checking out this author again. And, I must admit, I found myself getting excited and having a hard time hitting the pause button during the height of the action in this book. As far as suspense and thrillers go, this is one of the best I've read.
133 of 145 people found this review helpful
This is my favorite of Hurwitz’s books that I’ve read. Within the usual need to suspend disbelief required of action thrillers, the characters feel real and Evan Smoak emerges as a hero to invest in. His commitment to help those in genuine trouble with all the skills needed to succeed makes for exciting reading when he takes on some really really dangerous opponents owning the same skills. What adds the human dimension is the supporting cast of his neighbors in his apartment building who only know him as an importer of industrial cleaning supplies and expect him to act as a normal neighbor should - attending owners association meetings and watching kids in an emergency. This adds a messiness to his life that is not entirely unwelcome, but his previous experience has never prepared him for. His advice to a neighbor child being victimized by a school bully (take out his knees) causes a big problem with the mom and school.
The central conflict Evan needs to solve is who is after his latest client. Nothing seems to add up but he can’t quite figure out why. Distracted by the above mentioned messiness, he struggles to maintain an emotionless detachment using his 10 Commandments that govern all decision making. The most sacred of the commandments, “Never let an innocent die”, is in jeopardy as danger comes from multiple directions, placing multiple innocents in danger at once – how to choose who to save? How this plays out is both exciting and emotionally satisfying. I don’t get invested in too many character series, but this is one I am eager to revisit.
137 of 152 people found this review helpful
This is among the best thrillers I've ever read!!! It hooked me from the very start and didn't let go... Finished it in one sitting even though that meant losing a night of sleep... Simply couldn't put it down... The hero is unique and will be mentioned in the same breath as genre icons and stalwarts immediately.... The pace and plot are simply excellent. The characters are drawn w/ magnificent clarity and effortlessly have you invested from the outset. It's a wonderful adventure fraught w/ superior intensity, great introspection, and deft and timely action... There's some aptly placed and clever humor to go along w/ this total package as well... Put simply it is an outstanding work that will appeal to any reader, especially those enjoying the mystery thriller genre... The narration surpasses excellent as usual and makes the total experience one to inspire awe in the reader... I'd give it 6* if allowed... This series will be talked about and enjoyed by all, and is certainly worth the credit and a sleepless night...
101 of 113 people found this review helpful
The day will come when Evan Smoak, Orphan X, reaches the same level of recognition and following as Mitch Rapp, Jack Reacher, Jack Ryan, Jonathan Quinn, and Jason Bourne. Orphan X is that good and Evan Smoak has the same potential as those characters. Gregg Hurwitz's concept is new and different, even unique. Orphan X is the start of a new series.
This wonderful novel was narrated by Scott Brick who is the best. His narration is, as always, flawless.
VERY, VERY HIGHLY RECOMMENDED. Orphan X is a must listen.
99 of 115 people found this review helpful
If you are a fan if Jack Reacher, here is another series that you may like. Evan Smoak is a man cloaked in mystery. The reader discovers that at the age 12, Evan went away with a man and was trained as a killer. He was part of a government project called Orphans and he was Orphan X. He went off the grid after refusing to kill a fellow Orphan. He now helps people who cannot help themselves and is known as the Nowhere Man.
He lives in a penthouse in LA. He interacts with fellow tenants but truly is a man alone.
All of the sudden, Evan feels he is being set up but he doesn't know why or who.
The story got a little bogged down toward the end, but on the whole and enjoyable listen with an interesting premise.
Scott Brick was outstanding with the delivery of the story
4 of 4 people found this review helpful
This is one of those books that leaves you wanting more. Evan Smoak is a bad ass hero... you cannot help being drawn in and wanting more. More of what has shaped his life, more of his continuing efforts and more of what lays in his future. This is a page turner, you will find it difficult to put this book down.
39 of 47 people found this review helpful
Fast action from the beginning. The main character is great. The bad guys are bad.
This is a Must Listen. The narration by Brick is superb.
3 of 3 people found this review helpful
What three words best describe Scott Brick’s performance?
I didn't think Scott Brick was the right fit for this character. I like Brick for other books, but not particularly for this one. Not gritty enough so it changed the character significantly from I might have imagined had I been reading the book instead.
Any additional comments?
Felt a little manipulative - events built to evoke sympathy but via a stereotyped situation. I did a lot of eye rolling, and was not surprised by anything in the book. Seemed very formulaic.
3 of 3 people found this review helpful
If you could sum up Orphan X in three words, what would they be?
Thrilling, Entertaining, Awesome
Who was your favorite character and why?
Orphan X, he is smart, OCD, antisocial and yet amazing
Which scene was your favorite?
Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?
Any additional comments?
Amazing performance by Scott Brick
24 of 30 people found this review helpful
Spiderman, Superman, The Gray Man, Mitch Rapp, John Rain and now Orphan X. How do you defeat the undefeated? Well if they are good heroes, they all have the same weakness, innocent people. Superman will eat kryptonite to spare human life. Orphan X is the latest hero in the thriller category.
I just don't find it remotely viable. His tradecraft and surveillance technology is superior to any government's. He is a Bond like character, able not just to defeat any equally equpped super enemy, but several at the same time.
That said, if you like these types of fantasies you will love Orphan X.
33 of 42 people found this review helpful