Sunday, February 7, 2016

From Nowhere to Target

Over the course of the nearly two decades since he made his debut, Gregg Hurwitz has quietly filled a bookshelf with 15 engrossing thrillers with memorable characters, breakneck speed paced plots and armloads of twists and turns. I say quietly, even though he has found his way onto the New York Times bestsellers list, because his name never quite rises to the level of the David Baldacci’s, the Brad Thor’s or the Lee Child’s of the thriller world.

With Orphan X and his new lead character Evan Smoak, Hurwitz is here to make the case that he has certainly earned his way into that much vaunted group of writers.
An off the books operation, ala Robert Ludlum’s Treadstone that spawned Jason Bourne, is taking a group of parentless children and molding and training them to be skilled operator’s. Hence the Orphan tag. Smoak is Orphan X in the alphabetical batting order. Once his “father”, in reality is training officer is killed, Smoak melts into society and becomes the Nowhere Man, a highly skilled Samaritan who puts his special set of skills to work trying to help people who feel they have nowhere else to turn.

In return for his assistance all the Nowhere Man asks, is that you pass along his number to someone else who may need his skillset. Along the way Smoak moves from being the hunter to the hunted; someone is out to take out the Nowhere Man and that someone has a surprisingly similar set of skills and a different entry in the alphabet.

Placed squarely in the crosshairs, Smoak’s skills are put to the test as he must save not only those in need, but also himself. Hurwitz has once again set the table for a great series, much like he did with the Tim Rackley, Troubleshooter set.  

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