Book Review: Orphan X

I’m a huge Hurwitz fan and look forward each year to his new release. In my opinion, he’s one of the best thriller writers out there today, creating intricate interlocking webs within his stories yet making them feel as if they could actually happen. His novels typically revolve around very quiet and small ideas rather than overblown globe-trotting international “the world is about to end” premises, and it’s in these that he excels.

orphan xWith Orphan X, Hurwitz has created a character to rival Jack Reacher and Jason Bourne. The Orphan program is again something that feels like it could actually have happened, and the research involved with this novel is outstanding.

The same pedestal that gives this novel its grandeur, however, is also its downfall, as a lot of this feels like it’s been done before. It’s impossible not to see the influence of the Bourne novels, or other similar “good guy assassins,” even including a code similar to Dexter Morgan’s rules, that Evan – like Dexter – is forced to break in order to keep his conscience. I didn’t feel like the twists and turns were as exciting or surprising, given the premise and magnitude of where this story could have gone.

That being said, I also hold Hurwitz to a pretty high standard.

My favorite parts of this novel weren’t the high octane action scenes but the moments where Evan Smoak is dealing with his HOA and the people in his building. The realities of the difficulty of single parenthood while juggling life, as seen through Mia and her son Peter, were also high points. That juxtaposed relationship as Ethan enters their lives slowly and unintentionally added a depth to the novel that I really enjoyed.

Despite my small complaints, this is one heck of a read and Hurwitz definitely has a character that will spawn multiple books and movies. Definitely worth checking out.

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