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Description - Prodigal Son by Gregg Hurwitz

The World Needs a New Hero . . . a tense and exciting new thriller from Gregg Hurwitz featuring Evan Smoak - aka Orphan X

He can escape anything. Except his own past . . .

'Evan. It's your mother. I heard you help people . . '

Evan Smoak used to be known as Orphan X- a figure as elusive as a rumour, until he came to the rescue of those who most desperately needed his help. The kind of help no one else could provide. The kind that caused concern in the corridors of power.

As a boy he'd been plucked from a foster home and trained as an off-the-books assassin inside a top secret US government programme.

Which is why, even forced into early retirement, he dare not trust the phone call. Nor the caller claiming to be his mother. Asking him to protect a complete stranger who just happened to be in the wrong place at the wrong time.

None of it stacks up. Yet it bears the tell-tale signs of the secret world that made him. And from inside it, a deadly new threat to the nation's security.

But this time the danger is more personal than he could have ever imagined. Because blood runs deep ...

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Book Details

ISBN: 9780241402856
Format: Hardback
(240mm x 162mm x 41mm)
Pages: 464
Imprint: Michael Joseph Ltd
Publisher: Penguin Books Ltd
Publish Date: 4-Feb-2021
Country of Publication: United Kingdom

Book Reviews - Prodigal Son by Gregg Hurwitz

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Book Review: Prodigal Son by Gregg Hurwitz - Reviewed by (02 Mar 2021)

5 stars Prodigal Son is the sixth book in the Orphan X series by best-selling American author, Gregg Hurwitz. Now retired from his Nowhere Man role, Evan Smoak is disturbed by a persistent caller: “Evan, it’s your mother.”

He’s highly sceptical, but ultimately, can’t resist verifying, so he heads to Buenos Aires where, indeed, he meets a woman he believes to be what she claims. Veronica LeGrande wants him to help someone, but when he makes a cursory investigation, he barely survives an attack by a Hellfire missile. And he begins to wonder if coming out of retirement will end up voiding his unofficial Presidential pardon.

Andrew Duran’s life has been no picnic, and now a series of bad luck incidents finds him penniless, estranged from his daughter and her mother, and on the run from people he believes are out to kill him. In his poorly paid position watching over an impound lot, he has witnessed a murder without seeing the killer, but he is certain he is now a target.

Having neatly escaped the missile, Evan’s next stop is his personal tech expert, Joey Morales, interrupting the “normal” life he’s insisting she try to live. Together they research the victim and gradually uncover a disturbing situation: they are dealing with someone powerful and dangerous.

When Evan tracks down the man he’s meant to be helping, the reception is hostile, but he soon realises that he recognises Andrew Duran from his youth. Before long, both are the target of a nasty pair of siblings employed to do “wet work”

In this instalment, Joey’s prodigious tech talents are useful in gaining entry to three secure facilities, for one of which she tags along. Crashing a party (and rescuing a teen from a sexual predator) are in the mix. And of course, TommyStojack comes up with some nifty hardware when needed.

The interactions between Evan and Joey are always entertaining, and as usual, the dialogue is often darkly funny: “Evan said, ‘Is that a bread knife?’ Duran regarded it. ‘Steak knife, I think.’ ‘No,’ Evan said. ’I’m pretty sure it’s a bread knife. That curved end is gonna give you problems unless you plan to saw me to death.’ Duran considered. ‘Maybe I’ll just nick you and let you die of tetanus in five months.’”

Flashbacks to Evan’s youth at the Group Home give the reader some more detail of his selection into the Orphan Program, and Hurwitz also challenges him with a raft of emotions he’s unaccustomed to dealing with.

If every book in this series is replete with hi-tech devices, this one, featuring AI, autonomous weapons and microdrones, is especially so. Evan gets a tour of an AI development lab and is witness to some jaw-droppingly scary tech adaptations, especially when there are glitches in ethical adaptor software. And the concept of “outsourcing the negative emotion associated with killing so our soldiers don’t have to feel it” is certainly unsettling.

Suspension of disbelief is needed, but once again, plenty of action, injuries too numerous to tally, a body count of eighteen, several exciting climaxes and one helluva cliff-hanger ending. More please, Mr Hurwitz.


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