Orphan X is a black ops assassin trained from childhood by an off-the-books government program that, as so many of these secret programs do, goes awry. When ordered to kill another "orphan," Evan Smoak decides the problems in the program run too deep to ignore. Using the training and finances he has received, Evan builds an untraceable life.
What to do with the skills he has mastered? Since he doesn't have an alternate career path, Evan embarks on missions to protect the innocent, his only requirement is that whomever he helps must pass his Nowhere Man name and number to someone else in difficult circumstances. One mission at a time, Evan pursues the despicable evil-doers.
What I liked: Exciting and full of adventurous action. Kind of...action fantasy.
What I disliked: 1) The emphasis on the aesthetic treatment of alcohol. I mean, Evan doesn't drink much, but when he does the alcohol is really special--distilled 7 or 9 times, blah, blah, blah. 2) Too many, too detailed fight scenes. While realizing the need to establish his fighting skills and variety of techniques, describing it punch by jab becomes filler rather than fun. I get it. Hurwitz knows what he's talking about and/or has expert researchers.
OK--so Evan Smoak is a high-tech Jack Reacher. Hurwitz gets a lot of background and details established in this first book and it is fun when things are moving. It took me a little while to decide whether or not I liked it because of the excess of information setting up Evan's knowledge of alcohol, martial arts, and weapons, but I did end up enjoying it. Don't we all wish for a superhero kind of vigilante to defeat and punish the bad guys?
Once you accept that this is fantasy-vigilante-hero stuff--Orphan X is great fun. I liked Evan Smoak and cheered him on, but a lot of bad people die.
NetGalley/St. Martin's Press
Techno-thriller. 2016. Print length: 367 pages