BOOK REVIEW: New hero takes bow

Orphan X by Gregg Hurwitz is published by Penguin Books.
Orphan X by Gregg Hurwitz is published by Penguin Books. PHOTOS CONTRIBUTED

FANS of Jack Reacher or Jason Bourne can rejoice as there's a new assassin-turned-good guy on the block.

Evan Smoak is The Nowhere Man. He's at the end of a phone when someone's in trouble. And all he asks in return is that, when he's sorted out your problem, you pass his number to someone else in need.

But Evan wasn't always helping the helpless.

Adopted as a child, he was raised as Orphan X - part of a black ops program. And trained to kill.

Hurwitz shares Evan's history through a series of flashbacks, so we're privy to his extensive combat training and his time in the field.

We also learn of the moment Evan decides to question the commandments on which he was raised and walk away from the only life he's known.

Now in hiding, he's built himself a bat cave-like fortress in the penthouse of an innocuous LA apartment building, working in secret, helping the desperate.

Evan's an unlikely hero and Hurwitz describes him as ordinary. Nondescript.

He's trained to blend in and does so with ease, rejecting friendship and social contact.

He's working on his latest Nowhere Man case when his own past comes back to haunt him.

For a change he's not up against lecherous landlords or corrupt cops, but someone trained to kill. Someone like him.

As far as stone cold killers go, Evan's really likeable, and we're offered snippets of his humanity and gentle nature through a series of encounters with his neighbours and those he's helping.

If you're a fan of thrillers, this book won't disappoint.

It's fast paced and there's a lot of action.

Better still, Orphan X is promoted as the first in a new series, so with an engaging hero and quirky support cast of neighbours (including a potential love interest), there's more to come.

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