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Orphan X

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Member Reviews

Orphan X by Gregg Hurwitz was a suspenseful, fast-paced read.  I enjoyed both the character work and the plot which was cinematic.

I received a review copy of this book from the publisher through NetGalley for my honest review. The opinions expressed in this review are entirely my own.
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Reading a book a week is no small task. Taking on such a hefty goal means I have to be very organized in choosing my reading material. It also means that starting a new series isn't always the best idea. I simply have so many books to read that it becomes difficult to keep up with a series of books. That probably explains why I've left Gregg Hurwitz's Orphan X unread for so long. His publisher sent me the first three books in his series to read and review, but I was hesitant to start the series. With seven books in total and an eighth expected next year, my curiosity got the better of me. I finally read Orphan X. 

Years ago, a black ops program took children and trained them to be assassins. They became ruthless killers who could discretely take out the kind of targets that would draw too much attention to those individuals or entities that needed them to be eliminated. Evan Smoak was one of those children. The man who rescued him from his life before became a father figure to the young boy. He trained him in combat, and defense, and built a mental fortitude into the boy that would see him become a person of the shadows, the Nowhere Man. 

That was all in the past. The Orphan program was discontinued. These days, Evan lives in a state of semi-retirement. Instead of taking on clients who pay, he helps only those who are desperately in need. For those most forlorn individuals, he is their last resort. He helps them out of the most hopeless situations. The only thing Evan asks for in return is that the beneficiary of his services passes his number along to the next person in need. Thus the Nowhere Man has a constant list of people to help. 

Despite his best efforts, cracks are beginning to form in Evan's life. First, they arise in the form of unintended personal connections, the kind of relationships that bring deadly baggage to a man like him. Then, more alarmingly, someone begins to use his Nowhere Man services to hunt him down. Someone has figured out who he really is. They've tied him back to the discontinued Orphan project and will stop at nothing to bring him down. 

On the surface, Orphan X is an exciting thriller that sees Gregg Hurwitz build his character into an impossible situation. There's only one problem, the main character just isn't that likable. I understand that Evan is an assassin, trained to operate with mechanical precision. That fits the bill for what the character requires, but it doesn't give any kind of personality for the reader to latch onto. Hurwitz attempts to give his character a moral compass by which he operates, but I just didn't buy it. This guy is a ruthless killer who has been conditioned from childhood to preserve himself no matter the cost. Flashbacks to his training and present-day interactions meant to "soften" his personality don't ring as authentic. Without a clear protagonist to root for, the thrills in the plot just don't pack much of a punch. Clearly, other readers have found more to enjoy in this series than I have, so don't take my own reaction as the final judgment on these books. There wouldn't be a long-running series if others hadn't enjoyed this one. Still, I can't see myself committing any more time to continue reading this series.
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When Evan meets Jack his life changes. When he meets Mia he is introduced to someone he wants to know.  He is an Orphan though and that has rules.

He lives his life as the Nowhere Man helping those who cannot help themselves and that might just be his downfall. He is now hunted by other Orphans and his life has changed once again. Read this puzzle of a man's life and see if you can out the pieces together before him. I could not.

I received this ARC in exchange for an honest review.
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Evan Smoak is a twelve-year-old, made super-skilled assassin. Then she is forced to disappear living among regular people. Sorry, but I did not like the book very much.
Thanks, Netgalley for this book.
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I loved reading as I kid but struggle to find time as an adult. It’s often impossible to sit down to focus.   While this book was not a favorite if still kept me entertained for the most part, I’m sure it’s not you, dear book, it’s me.
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Orphan X
Gregg Hurwitz

I LOVE the Orphan X series, unfortunately I started with book six when it was offered to me by MacMillan Audio for review and I fell in love with the complicated, flawed protagonist, Evan Smoak. So I decided the only logical thing to do would be to start from the very beginning.

Hurwitz, via his gruff and gritty, blood and bone filled, fly on the wall narrative gets down to the bare bones of his absolutely fabulous neurotic star Evan. He shows them how Evan went from abandoned orphan to the highly  trained and deadly assassin known as Orphan X, detailing the brutal training, the myriad of ruthless missions to the final act of rebellion when Evan couldn’t live the lonely government hit man life anymore. And he shows Jack’s (Evan’s Orphan handler) parental role in Evan’s education, both formal and life. Then the audience gets a look at The NoWhere Man’s alter ego Evan Smoak, the LA condo owner who deals with HOAs, vexing neighbors and the beautiful single mom DA and her son who just moved in and how he manages to go from stone cold killer to normal high-rise resident in the blink of an eye. The action never stops and the battles are as bloody as they come but the bullets are all well placed and necessary. Fans of thrillers, of solitary heroes, of series like Jason Bourne, The Gray Man, Victor the Assassin, and Terminal List will not be able to put this down.

NARRATION:
Scott Brick’s narration unlike Evan is flawless, his deep at times breathy voice is the perfect Evan and he manages to produce just the right emotion to match every scene. With a lot going on Scott keeps his voice clear and understandable and listeners will not miss a thing.

Orphan X #1 in Gregg Hurwitz’s multi-award winning Orphan X series begins the complex story of Evan Smoak, from his humble beginnings to his induction into the clandestine government run Orphan assassin program to his self-proclaimed avenger persona, The NoWhere Man. 
Evan Smoak is a ghost, a well-armed, well trained, deadly ghost who for years has been successfully flying under the radar protecting the innocent and giving those with nowhere else to turn the help they need. He does this to honor Jack, his Orphan handler and the closest thing to a dad he ever had who taught Evan to kill while still keeping him human. And Evan’s done just that until now when he finds himself in the sights of a well trained killer, a killer who is maybe as well trained as he is. So now Evan has to not only protect his latest client but keep himself alive and find out who is trying to kill him and why.
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Orphan X by Gregg Hurwitz is the cracking opener of the eponymous series that is several books—of varying lengths—long now, with a massive fan-following all around the world.

Evan Smoak is Orphan X, picked from an orphanage as a twelve-year-old and made into an elite, super-skilled assassin through seven years of rigorous training, by a top-secret government-sponsored programme. After a decade of numerous successful assignments, he was forced by circumstances to disappear from the shadowy world that was the only one he knew until then. He lives now under a carefully cultivated identity among normal, regular people, but is always on the alert for signs that could mean that he is compromised, and his penthouse apartment is a veritable fortress, armed with cutting-edge technology. 

With plenty of time, prodigious wealth, a peculiar set of capabilities and a strong moral code, Evan has become the Nowhere Man, a messiah for people in desperate, life-or-death need, reachable through a phone number known only to the previous person helped by him. Five years and a dozen missions later, a seventeen-year-old girl seeks his help to escape the clutches of the darkness that threatens to engulf her little sister too. Evan successfully finishes the relatively easy job—for someone of his calibre—and does not expect another call for several weeks. However, his latest action as the Nowhere Man seems to have triggered a series of events that have put him in the crosshairs of some clever, ruthless people with unlimited resources, hell-bent on eliminating him. Evan suddenly finds himself more than evenly matched by his opponents, which makes him commit mistakes that he otherwise wouldn’t and ignore the commandments of his former mentor that have stood him in good stead so far. He must employ all his considerable skill and experience if he wishes to come out of the deadly conflict with his life, and that of a few innocent people, intact. Amidst the fight for survival, Evan also has to confront certain unfamiliar, delicate situations in his neighbourhood that might make things more complicated.

My first taste of this series was with Prodigal Son, the sixth novel, and that hasn’t affected the pleasure of reading Orphan X—the series starter—in any manner. Evan Smoak is quite close to a superhero—not unlike Batman—mysterious, reticent and immensely appealing, and ever ready to serve the disadvantaged. Described in exacting detail that feels a bit overdone at places, Evan’s meticulously put together home and life are captivating to read about. The characters, both the main ones and the supporting cast, are well-crafted and much interesting. The plot is on an adrenaline fuelled overdrive right from the start, interspersed with enlightening flashbacks to Evan’s formative years, until the satisfactory-but-suspenseful ending. Evan's amusing interactions with his neighbours, especially with little Peter Hall and his mother, Mia, provide nice diversion from the high-octane action. Most places in this novel need the reader to suspend disbelief and I had no trouble with that, since I picked up Orphan X for the very purpose of escaping into a fictional world.

The stylish, state-of-the-art thriller is the perfect beginning to a memorable series and I am thankful to NetGalley and Minotaur Books for the review copy of Orphan X.
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Stunning Read
I received a copy of this book from Netgalley. Thank you author and publisher for making this available.
Chillingly real in what could be done to a person with the  wrong government in charge. The story grows with Evan from age 12 to mid 30's. Taken at this age, isolated except for his trainer and taught to be an expendable assassin.. Part of a program but always alone. Jack, his trainer, cheats in one way by trying to keep him from becoming just a killing machine. After many years and many deaths, Even rebels, deciding to do good in his own way, 1 person in trouble at a time. Hunted by everyone, there is plenty of action with disturbing turns and twists. A book to keep you reading all night long.
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This book was so great! Evan Smoke is a total beast and I can't wait to continue this amazing series. Highly recommend!!!
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I don't usually read Action Thrillers, but I wanted to try this one because I saw so many crime readers raving about this series.
And as expected, I was not disappointed!
This was fast and juicy and gave me the adrenaline punches that I didn't know were missing in my life!
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The first in the Orphan X series which lays out an exciting story line and a series that will keep the reader engaged.  I have read this series out of order and each book so far can be read on its own or enjoyed as the series continuing to build upon the live of Evan Smoak.  The story that built him and the story as he continues to evolve.  The excitement and story will keep the reader engaged and awaiting the next book in the series.  Ethan Smoak was chosen as a child to be a part of a special ops mission. He’s been specially trained- as an assassin. These days he uses his training to live under the radar, helping those in extreme and dire situations. The only payment he requires is that they 'pay if forward', so to speak, by finding someone else in need of Ethan’s specialized skills so that he can continue fulfilling his mission.  However, someone has Ethan in their sights- and there is only one kind of person out there who could have located him- another Orphan. Not only has he been found, his ‘clients’ are being used as pawns to fish him out into the open…  Evan’s personality is muted, as he fiercely controls all his emotions. The secondary characters provide the dramatic dialogue, while Evan internalizes and reminds himself of how to respond to complex situations. There is no reliance on gimmicks, no slick polish or shine, the dialogue is sparse, to the point, without a lot of time spent on descriptive text. The story moves at an incredibly swift pace, formatted almost like long form vignettes. It was a unique presentation, for sure, but it also helped to create a tense, suspenseful atmosphere, adding just the right amount of poignancy to the story, allowing me to fall under Ethan’s spell. I found myself cheering him on, developing a connection to him, caring about what may happen to him.  

Thank you to the author, publisher and netgalley.
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I started this series out of order (mistake on my part), but the best way to describe the book/series is to compare it with the Jason Bourne series,  or the Jack Reacher series.  I initially wanted to liken Evan Smoak to a cross between Jason Bourne and MacGyver, but Evan never needs to jury-rig a solution because he has all the gear.  Evan Smoak is a shadow operative that has all the skills and all the high-tech gear imaginable, and the ethics and morals to use it all for good.  The characters come to life with glimpses into their formative years.  The action is incredibly fast-paced;  it hooks you in at the beginning and holds you until the end.  I love this series!
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Orphan X by Gregg Hurwitz
Orphan X #1

Grabbed in the first chapter and held firmly till the bitter end…this book was unputdownable! The first chapter introduces 12-year-old Evan and the man who will train him. In the next chapter much has happened and Evan is in his mid-thirties with a whole lot of living that has happened that I wanted to know about. The introduction to the series was superb with flashbacks and snippets that fleshed out Evan illuminating his past and ultimately creating a very compelling story. 

What I liked: 
* Evan Smoak: orphan, determined, intelligent, professional, skilled, lethal, forged in fire, potential to grow, uses his skills to right wrongs, lives by a set of commandments, intriguing, a bit Zen and a whole lot more that I eagerly wait to learn about
* Jack Johns: one of Evan’s trainers, teacher, protector, handler, and a father-figure of sorts
* Mia: neighbor, single parent, attorney - prosecutor, widow, potential friend-love interest for Evan
* Peter: adopted son of Mia, active, aware, intelligent, livewire, may reach a part of Evan that has been submerged over time
* Tommy: arms procurer and provider of arms and other items for the government and for Evan…intriguing person that may show up in future books
* The flashbacks that gave hints to Evan’s life
* The Nowhere Man idea that provides unlimited opportunities for Evan to right wrongs
* The Commandments – had to look them up then copy and paste into a document to refer back to throughout my reading – would love to see them on a page in each of the books to refer to when I forget what they are ;)
* The various training techniques: pain tolerance, meditation, shooting, martial arts, defense-offense, etc
* Being reminded of other characters similar to but not quite like Evan
* Morena: seventeen-year-old who called the Nowhere Man to help save her eleven-year-old sister
* Memo Vasquez: good father to Isa, in a jam, hopes the Nowhere Man will help 
* The twists and turns and surprises that popped up making me wonder who might/might not be good/bad
* Feeling I was there with Evan from beginning to end
* The rather surprising conclusion 
* Knowing that I will read the next book in the series…soon

What I didn’t like
* That a government would choose to use orphans to create expendable assassins…and wondering if in fact this might exist in the world
* Thinking about how difficult Evan’s life must have been…
* The people and events that I was meant not to like

Did I enjoy this book? Yes
Would I read more in this series? Definitely

Note: Having read books 3, 4, and 6 of the series but never having read book 1…I had to request a copy to read/review to find out how Evan’s series began. Definitely a series I hope to eventually read all of! 

Thank you to NetGalley and Macmillan-Minotaur Books for the ARC – This is my honest review.

5 Stars
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I first read Orphan X four years ago, having bought it in paperback, and liked but didn’t love it - unfortunately this reread appears to have deleted my original review from Goodreads, which is strange not to mention annoying - but I remember getting irritated by all the vodka and gun name-dropping.
I subsequently read and loved the next five books, and am eagerly awaiting Book 7, Dark Horse, which is out in February (sadly it never came up on our region’s NetGalley) so when this came up I decided I was up for a reread - rather than just reposting my old review. I enjoyed it a lot more this time round and am going to bump my rating up a star.

Evan Smoak lives alone in his luxury apartment, guarding his privacy and security jealously, which allows him to perform the impossible rescues of people in serious trouble that give his life meaning.
Recruited from an orphanage at age twelve, Evan entered a top secret training programme to turn him into a completely deniable super-assassin for the US government. Tired of the killing, he got out, and eases his conscience by saving those who have no one to turn to, as The Nowhere Man, but now someone wants him dead, and doesn’t mind using innocents to get to him…

This has an intriguing if preposterous premise, lots of action, and appealingly noble lead character and lots of fun support characters - I can’t believe it hasn’t been made into a movie yet. Evan is like a one-man A-team, with endless gadgets, weapons and fancy technology to solve every problem. His background has scarred him but meeting feisty assistant DA Mia and her awkward but lovable son Peter bring him back to humanity. I had forgotten most of the plot so got to enjoy the twists all over again, and now that I know the character, the problems I had with it first time round no longer bothered me. I recommend this series to anyone who loves OTT thrillers  - 4.5 rounded up.

Thanks to NetGalley and St Martin’s Press for the past-publication review copy.
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Phenomenal book. The characters were well developed and engaging. This is a quick read and introduces the reader into a new world. Loved reading it.
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*4 Stars!!

Evan Smoak was chosen as a child orphan to take part in a special off the books program to become the perfect intellectual assassin. Years later the programme has disbanded and Evan has taken on a new name and mission ‘The Nowhere Man’ who people turn to for help when they’re truly desperate and have no one else to turn to. However someone knows of Evans former name Orphan X and his connection to the program and have send a team to take him out of the picture for goo. Evan has to try and stay alive whilst protecting innocents but finds its not too easy as the person following him has the same skills and training as him and is able to predict his every move before he even thinks of it. 

At the start I didn’t really like the book and was having some trouble getting into it and was considering putting it down but so glad I didn’t as I would have missed out on a really good book. Overall I really enjoyed this book, I’d compare it to Hitman: Agent 47 and Jason Bourne. It was filled with action and suspense none stop. The one thing I didn’t really like was that he seemed to drink quite a lot though I suppose with a job like his I’d need a good strong drink as well!!

*I received a copy of this book from NetGalley in return for my honest review.*
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Evan Smoak is a living legend known as “The Nowhere Man.” He’s a highly skilled, trained assassin set on a new path with a new purpose, yet still as dangerous as they come. Due to the intelligent writing and intriguing premise, I was pulled into this fast-paced political thriller right from the get-go, despite it not being my typical genre of choice. 

Boasting a myriad of tech gadgets, weapons and security methods (some of which went right over my head), this story contained elements reminiscent of Mission Impossible. And while Evan, himself, can be emotionally closed off, there is an underlying thread of humanity that runs through him, transforming this killer into a sort of modern-day superhero. 

This is the very first novel by Gregg Hurwitz that I have read, and I am so very glad that I took a chance on both him and on Orphan X. I look forward to catching up on the subsequent novels in this series and all those that will follow.
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I wasn't sure if I would be interested in this book, even though it is a mystery.  But I have to say, this book is one of the books that took me a day and a half to read, because it was that good.  This man was trained to be a contract killer and instead of doing that anymore, he decides to become a person who helps people.  But then things happen, and he becomes someone who is hunted.  

As I was reading this, I felt sympathy for Evan, he is alone, and doesn't or can't trust people.  I felt like I was walking his life with him as he tries to help people, and also tries to elude the people who are chasing him.  

This book was action packed, and had a very good story line.  The story line kept me on the edge of my seat!  This book was excellent, and I would definitely recommend this book. This is my honest opinion.
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Orphan X is a well-written, action-packed, espionage thriller with excellent scenes of action, blending the lines of good and evil. 

Evan Smoak, the main character, with the alias Orphan X, also known as "The Nowhere Man", is a trained spy and assassin. He shares his experiences and trainings throughout the read as "flashbacks", demonstrating his progression from a young child to an off-the-books, government sanctioned assassin. He then walks away to more personal missions, keeping his identity covered, and refocuses on individuals in need with whom he can use his skills to help.

I greatly enjoyed the author's incorporation of detailed martial arts, military training, weapon details, and anatomy and physiology throughout. The author clearly did his homework in writing this!

This story line quickly grabs you, with twists and turns that surprise. Well done!
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This is book 1 of the Orphan X Series.  This is a book about a man raised in an off-the-books program raising the perfect deniable assets.  These people are to help those that need help and have nowhere else to go.  Evan was an Orphan X, then he disappeared, now he has to use his skills to stay alive.
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