Welcome a new player to the world of Jack Reacher and Jason Bourne
Reading time: < 2 minutes –
Something seems to draw me to Baltimore even when I don’t try. I can’t get enough of Laura Lippmann. And I’ll never be able to consume too much George Pelacanos. Both of those authors stay close to their hometown Baltimore throughout their books.
I picked up Orphan X knowing nothing about it, and where does it open? A Baltimore playground, of course. That’s where a kid is lifted from poverty and begins his transformation into Evan Smoak. And also, trained under the shrouded guidance of the U.S. military as Orphan X.
He becomes a government assassin, sent to kill tough enemies. Regardless, like robots taking over a factory, the advent of drones pushes Orphan X out of a job. For a trained assassin, Evan turns out to be a decent chap and decides he wants to help the world. He finds people who need some assistance and lends them a hand, all the while leaving his past … in the past. Or so he thinks.
Funny thing about assassins, they tend to make enemies. Evan is no different in that regard. He helps a woman who he thinks may be using him. The cat-and-mouse chase that follows is harrowing and exciting. You’ll get blisters on your fingers turning the pages so fast. This is a masterful thriller with a fantastic premise. For my reading, he carried on a smidge too long in the climactic fight scene – six entire pages, holy right hook, Batman! – and offered too much description with naming each maneuver. It came as no surprise that the first person he thanked in acknowledgements was his Sensei.
But those are minor flaws in an otherwise brilliant book. An added bonus: it’s already been optioned for a movie, so you can read the book before the movie comes out, something I LOVE to do. Double bonus: this is the first in a series, so there’s more Evan Smoak waiting in the wings. How often do you have a chance to get in on the ground floor with a super hero? Don’t miss your chance. You’ll thank me.