Last year, I read the first Orphan X book, Orphan X – it had been the best mystery I had read in quite a while. Interesting with an unusual plot and an unusual main character. At the time, I thought that it was a standalone book. I’m not sure what I was thinking or how came to that conclusion because there were two more in the series already released! This review finishes the series, as published to date (March 2019).
The Orphan X Series
By Gregg Hurwitz
Each of the books in this series (so far) have two distinct story lines. The first is Evan Smoak as the Nowhere Man, on a quest to help those that feel like they are in a totally hopeless situation, beyond help. The second story line follows Evan as Orphan X, a government-trained assassin who left the black government program. But Evan knows where too many of the bodies are buried – and the few that know his identity can’t risk him living. Orphan X must die.
Book 2: Nowhere Man
I flew through this book – so good! Evan is kidnapped. Although his kidnapper did not realize that he kidnapped a government-trained assassin, escape proves difficult for Evan. Not the best timing because Evan is up against the clock – he has to get free in time to rescue a girl before it’s too late. Oh, and let’s not let any government assassins find him. Should be easy, right?
I read this book over Thanksgiving last year and couldn’t put it down. It was incredibly fast-paced and action-packed with so much going on it was impossible to get bored.
Book 3: Hellbent
The third book in the series, Hellbent, was actually my least favorite of the four books currently in the series. I’m not sure if it was my mindset or the book, but I was at least halfway through it before I really got into it.
That being said, this is the book where Evan started to appear more human. For the first time since a fleeting relationship with his neighbor, people got under his thick shell and life wasn’t just about the mission any more – it was about avenging wrongs and protecting the few people close to him.
I also appreciated the end to this story. Like every other book, there were a couple of different story lines – a Nowhere Man mission as well as a personal mission – that were intertwined. The ingenuity of how Evan dealt with both missions was interesting and creative…. using his personal mission to take care of some deadly folks at the center of his mission as the Nowhere Man.
Book 4: Out of the Dark
The fourth book of the series, Out of the Dark was released in late January of this year and I absolutely devoured it.
The bulk of this book was focused on the mission of Orphan X – ending the government hunt for the rogue orphan once and for all. The struggle of balancing between that mission – and at this point, that mission was very, very personal for Evan – and his mission as the Nowhere Man was real. But both must be successful.
Both likable and unlikable characters from previous books had roles of varying sizes in this one. While most of the other books could be read as standalones, I think that the history of those secondary characters was valuable, so I would recommend reading the other three books before reading this one.
Review/Recommendation: I think it’s clear from my summaries that this is a mystery/suspense series that I enjoy very much. The characters and plots are just so different than so many others in the genre that it really makes these books stand out. And as a series, I think there’s some great character progression that will make me continue coming back for more. If you enjoy mysteries/suspense, then this is one series to pick up!