What’s it all about?:
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 reader from the very first page,Orphan X is a masterful thriller, the first in Gregg Hurwitz’s electrifying new series featuring Evan Smoak.
What did I think?:
This is the first book on Richard and Judy’s Autumn Book Club list here in the UK and I admit to having high hopes for it after reading the thrilling synopsis and hugely positive reviews on GoodReads. In general, I did enjoy this novel but just not as much as I would have hoped so I’m a little disappointed but with the number of rave reviews it has received and the talk about a film being made starring Bradley Cooper, I don’t think the author has anything to worry about.
The plot and background story of our lead character, Evan Smoak is fascinating and I was instantly pulled in by the story of a young boy recruited to the mysterious Orphan Program and trained up to become a deadly assassin. It’s a highly secretive business and Evan is educated in many different disciplines (and sometimes in very harsh ways) to become the best of the best. He has only one point of contact – Jack, who recruited him and acts as a father figure in his life. All “orphans” are given a letter of the alphabet as their code name and when ready, are set off on different missions which usually lead to the death of another person.
Evan believes he is a force for good in the world but begins to have his doubts when he is given a particular target that he believes should not be killed. Branching out on his own, he becomes The Nowhere Man, helping people in need of his specialist services. His only stipulation is that they must have no further contact with each other once he has “helped,” and must pass his phone number onto someone else who also is desperate for his assistance. Things start to go terribly wrong on one mission when it becomes clear that his identity has been compromised and someone from his Orphan Program past is seeking him out….and not in a friendly way either!
So, good things about this novel – the premise which is unique and captivating and kept me reading until the end because of this. Evan Smoak is also a brilliant character that you can’t help but want to know more about but the author seems to keep a lot of things about this secretive individual quite close to his chest. Perhaps more will be revealed during future books in the series? I also enjoyed reading about the missions Evan completed as The Nowhere Man, it brought a bit of excitement to the novel as you wonder “Okay, what next?” as soon as his special phone starts ringing. Of course, with a novel like this, the action never stops and the author certainly gives the reader a lot to process in a very short period of time. For me, I felt like it faltered in the way that I didn’t feel connected or that I could relate to any of the characters and at times, the narrative just felt a bit busy what with everything seeming to happen at once. Saying that, I’m certain this is a novel that will capture readers imaginations and I would be quite interested to see how Evan Smoak as a character develops.
Would I recommend it?:
Star rating (out of 5):