Orphan X (Evan Smoak, #1)by Gregg Hurwitz

Published January 19th 2016 by Minotaur Books

4.5 Stars

Synopsis: 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.

My Review: When Evan was young, a man rescued him from the orphanage. He was living a tough life and was happy to go with him. The man, Jack John, became a surrogate father to Evan, he also became his handler. This was an off the books, black ops training program which took children from difficult life situations and taught them to be employed as assassins. He trained him in every imaginable form of self-defense, weaponry, meditation, hand-to-hand combat and intelligence. Evan became one of the best operatives in the Orphan Program. Evan took the last name of Smoak as they never used their real names. As far as the program was concerned, the Orphans were known only by letters—Evan became Orphan X. When the program was disbanded and Jack killed, Evan went into hiding. He grew restless and knew he needed to do something.

Using the skills that Jack had taught him, wanting to honour Jack and help others, he became the Nowhere Man, the last resort for a person in desperate trouble. No one knows who the Nowhere Man is, but they know if they call him, he will help rescue them from a seemingly helpless situation. The only way someone can contact him is if he/she is given his contact information by the previous beneficiary of his services. Once they have passed on the number, there is no contact between them anymore.

It’s a lonely existence, but it is the only existence he knows. When he begins to have feelings for Mia, a single mother in his building and her young son, he is not sure what to do. He does not want to get involved, but he is pulled by the innocence and genuineness of both of them. When something goes awry with his latest client and he realizes that the sniper shooting at them in a restaurant is really after him, he is upset that he is put his newest client in danger. What happens next will keep you on the edge of your seat.

I really liked Evan. He was caring and compassionate when he did not want to be, put himself out there to help others, was smart and did not give up. Mia and Peter were the relief in his life and were very likeable. Peter was a curious, funny yet very innocent. Mia had to be strong for Peter, but was just like the rest of us, vulnerable and let it out when she thought no one was around. The suspense was well written and kept you guessing right to the end. There was a little too much killing for my taste, which is why I gave it 4 stars and not 5, but it was an essential part of the plot.
If you like thrillers with a lot of action and killing, you will love this book. Even though I am not a big fan of a lot of violence, I still liked it and am getting ready to read the next one in the Evan Smoak Series. The publisher generously provided me with a copy of this book via Netgalley.