A little background from a description: As a boy, Evan Smoak was taken from a children's home, raised and trained as part of a secret government initiative buried so deep that virtually no one knows it exists. But he broke with the programme, choosing instead to vanish off grid and use his formidable skill set to help those unable to protect themselves.
The Nowhere Man proved to be less interesting. Evan has been drugged, kidnapped, and imprisoned in luxury in an isolated location. The majority of the book is one ingenious (failed) escape attempt after another. Evan must escape in order to continue his mission to save a young girl, but the plot became repetitive with one escape attempt after another. Of course, in the end he does escape and save the day, but while I wanted to believe events in the first book, The Nowhere Man was just too far-fetched for me.
Despite having had problems with The Nowhere Man, I was inclined to hope for more with the latest installment. And Hellbent proved to renew my interest in the series.
Hellbent provides a little more background on Evan's relationship with Jack Johns, the father-figure and mentor who took the young boy and trained him as an assassin for the black ops, but also taught Evan to remain human. Jack has recognized the corruption of the original Orphan Program and the attempt to terminate all of the Orphans. Jack wants Evan to save his last protege.
Joey, a sixteen-year-old girl and gifted hacker, is the current target of Charles Van Scriver, the Orphan in charge of terminating all traces of the program. Joey is a handful, but she becomes a useful partner in this novel and a means for Evan to develop more emotional depth.
In Out of the Dark, Evan (Orphan X) is prepared to go after the head of the snake--Jonathan Bennett, the man who originated the Orphan Program and has since decided to eliminate all of the Orphans and their trainers to protect himself. The problem? Jonathan Bennett has risen to the highest, most powerful position in the country. Taking him down will not be easy.
To be successful, Evan needs help and gets it from the most unexpected place, an old enemy turned ally. Candy will presumably appear in future books; she is a distinctive character with her own agenda. Also interesting is Joey's appearance at her school in Switzerland--not exactly where you would expect to find her fitting in as seamlessly as she does, but all Orphans have a chameleon-like ability. :)
I look forward to the next book, which will hopefully go back to the original mainstay of Evan helping those who find themselves in precarious situations. The idea of each victim that "the Nowhere Man" helps giving his name to the next person in need of help allows a variety of settings, adventures, and characters.
These are violent books that fit in the Thriller genre. Orphan X is not realistic, but the plots are intense and with the exception of The Nowhere Man, I've been engrossed in each book. My thanks to NetGalley for providing many hours of exciting plots and a variety of good and bad characters.