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Prodigal Son: An Orphan X Novel


Prodigal Son: An Orphan X Novel

January closes with the publication of a new Orphan X novel, which would be a reason to rejoice at any time of the year. PRODIGAL SON is the sixth entry in Gregg Hurwitz’s superlative series and is the rarest of books in the sense that it has been written to bring newcomers to the Orphan X mythos into the fold while providing for fans answers to questions that have been hanging for some years now. All of the above is wrapped in a pitch-perfect plot shot through with suspense, countless action scenes, and recommendations concerning everything from adult libations and sobriety mantras to weaponry of all manner and sorts. In other words, there is something for everyone here.

Orphan X is Evan Smoak, who, on the cusp of adolescence, was plucked by a mysterious stranger from a foster home and trained to become one of the most dangerous assassins in the world. Evan walked away from that life and became the self-styled Nowhere Man, who worked off the radar to help those in situations where his skills could be brought to bear effectively. At the conclusion of INTO THE FIRE, Evan was ready to retire, in part because of a mutually assured destruction deal between himself and the United States government. He was barely out of a job when he got a phone call from someone with whom he had never really spoken: his mother.

"...a pitch-perfect plot shot through with suspense, countless action scenes, and recommendations concerning everything from adult libations and sobriety mantras to weaponry of all manner and sorts."

After a wild-eyed vignette, PRODIGAL SON picks up where INTO THE FIRE left off. Evan is tasked by his mother --- a wealthy, enigmatic woman named Veronica --- to help someone  he doesn’t know for reasons he doesn’t understand. The man in distress is Andrew Duran, whose life is a hot mess on all fronts. Duran is working the night shift on an impound lot when a man and woman who are (almost) obviously masquerading as government agents recruit him to let them know when the owner of a particular vehicle shows up to claim it. They dangle enough money in front of him to clear up his delinquent child support obligation and a few other things. Duran does as he was requested, but only winds up witnessing a murder and having the pair --- they turn out to be a rather twisted brother-and-sister assassin team --- after him as well.

Evan interjects himself into the situation rather quickly, and it is a reunion of sorts as he and Duran knew each other at the foster home. But they barely have time to renew old acquaintances before Evan is required to display his wide skill set for the first of many times in order to save them both. He brings the fight to his adversaries and along the way discovers why the murder that Duran witnessed was committed, as well as the research behind a secret weapon that has terrifying potential should it ever be unleashed. Evan calls in a couple of big guns who have appeared in prior novels for assistance. They are certainly needed.

In between the cluster freaks, Evan also discovers quite a bit about Duran’s background, including but not limited to why he was put into foster care. By story’s end, Evan is almost at peace with himself and is making a few tentative steps toward the next phase of his life’s journey. It’s almost certainly going to be a long one.

If you read PRODIGAL SON, you will be a fan of Hurwitz for life if you are not already. In addition to the books in this series, he has written over a dozen stand-alone titles and a number of graphic novels. You will have plenty of worthwhile reading material to keep you occupied until the next Orphan X book drops, which hopefully will be in one year.

Reviewed by Joe Hartlaub on January 28, 2021

Prodigal Son: An Orphan X Novel
by Gregg Hurwitz

  • Publication Date: December 28, 2021
  • Genres: Fiction, Suspense, Thriller
  • Mass Market Paperback: 544 pages
  • Publisher: St. Martin's Paperbacks
  • ISBN-10: 1250253233
  • ISBN-13: 9781250253231