To some he was Orphan X. Others knew him as theNowhere Man. But to veteran spymaster Jack Johns he was a boy named Evan Smoak.
Taken from an orphanage, Evan was raised inside a top-secret programme designed to turn him into a deadly weapon. Jack became his instructor, mentor, teacher and guardian. Because for all the dangerous skills he instilled in his young charge, he also cared for Evan like a son. And now Jack needs Evan’s help.
The Orphan programme hid dark secrets. Now those with blood on their hands want every trace of it gone. And they will stop at nothing to make sure that Jack and Evan go with it.
With little time remaining, Jack gives Evan his last assignment: to find and protect the programme’s last recruit. And to stay alive long enough to uncover the shocking truth …
So, I haven’t read the first two books in the Orphan series, but it didn’t take long to work out what was happening, the scene setting and backstory, supplied at the beginning and throughout the book is excellent and makes this easy to read as a standalone.
Orphan X trained as a killer from a young, impressionable age. His mentor contacts him as the final seconds of his life tick away. His message sets the scene for Orphan X to carry out Jack Johns last wishes. X undertakes a journey of revenge but finds it is also a voyage of self-discovery as he reacquaints with his humanity.
The pace of this story is breathtaking. Plot twists confound you, and there is plenty of adrenaline-fueled combat and violence. Painstakingly detailed descriptions let you visualise the action, not always a good thing. However, each violent act moves the story along and provides a vital piece in the puzzle that Orphan X and his young companion Joey must solve. The ending is explosive and satisfying and surprisingly poignant.
An addictive, action-packed, character-driven read that drags you into a dynamic, horrific world that is frighteningly realistic.
I received a copy of this book from Michael Joseph, Penguin UK via NetGalley in return for an honest review.