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THE LAST ORPHAN by Gregg Hurwitz: Book Review

Orphan X is facing his most difficult dilemma yet.  Evan Smoak, aka Orphan X, was an assassin working for a secret intelligence agency within the U.S. Government.  When he fled that department, upset and angered by its direction, he named himself the Nowhere Man and became the last resort for those with urgent problems who had nowhere else to turn.

However, several years ago he was forced to promise, under extreme pressure, that his career as the Nowhere Man was over.  He would no longer be allowed to answer his RoamZone phone with “Do you need my help?” or take on any new cases.  But that promise is proving difficult to keep.

Evan is abducted by federal agent Naomi Templeton and a troop of agents and brought before President Victoria Donahue-Carr, the person who made him agree never to use his abilities to help those who called the special phone.  She tells him, much to his amazement, “We need your help.”

He’s informed by agent Templeton that the reclusive billionaire Luke Devine “represents a clear and present danger to national security.”  Evan asks Naomi what the government thinks Devine wants, and she answers “leverage.”  Evan’s task is to make certain he has no opportunity to carry out his plans.

Donahue-Carr tells him that she and her cabinet believe Devine wants to have his own nation-state, and he is applying his nearly unlimited power and influence to stop an environmental bill that, according to her, is essential to her re-election.

Smoak lays down his conditions, which Templeton is unwilling to meet.  She in turn outlines the government’s position, which is quite different from Evan’s, and tells him, “You’re not gonna do better than that.”  To himself, Evan thinks, “You’d be surprised.”

Templeton then has Smoak put into what would seem to be complete captivity in a hotel; he’s under 24/7 surveillance, shackled with his wrists zip-tied behind his back, and wearing a “tamper-proof” ankle bracelet.  However, one of the agents guarding Evan has a secret agenda.

He takes a DNA sample from Evan’s cheek, without Templeton’s knowledge, with plans to sell it and make a small fortune because the agent believes there’s something in Evan’s DNA that makes him nearly invincible.  But Evan has a plan of his own, and with a little help from a friend, he’s free and out of the hotel.  Then the fun begins.

Now Evan is able to investigate Luke Devine and find out what’s behind the president’s urgent need for his abilities.  He’ll have to uncover layer upon layer of Devine’s life and his plan for world domination, and what he finds ultimately surprises him.

Gregg Hurwitz has written another fascinating chapter in the incredible life of Orphan X.  Readers familiar with the series will be delighted at Evan Smoak’s return, and those for whom it is new will have no trouble learning all they need to know about Evan’s background and the reasons he does what he does.

You can read more about Gregg Hurwitz at this website.

Check out the complete Marilyn’s Mystery Reads at her website.  In addition to book review posts, there are sections featuring Golden OldiesPast Masters and Mistresses, and an About Marilyn column that features her opinions about everything to do with mystery novels.

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