Review: Prodigal Son by Gregg Hutwitz

Publisher’s Description

Forced into retirement, Evan Smoak gets an urgent request for help from someone he didn’t even suspect existed—in Prodigal Son, the next New York Times bestselling Orphan X book from Gregg Hurwitz.

As a boy, Evan Smoak was pulled out of a foster home and trained in an off-the-books operation known as the Orphan Program. He was a government assassin, perhaps the best, known to a few insiders as Orphan X. He eventually broke with the Program and adopted a new name—The Nowhere Man—and a new mission, helping the most desperate in their times of trouble. But the highest power in the country has made him a tempting offer—in exchange for an unofficial pardon, he must stop his clandestine activities as The Nowhere Man. Now Evan has to do the one thing he’s least equipped to do—live a normal life.

But then he gets a call for help from the one person he never expected. A woman claiming to have given him up for adoption, a woman he never knew—his mother. Her unlikely request: help Andrew Duran—a man whose life has gone off the rails, who was in the wrong place at the wrong time, bringing him to the deadly attention of very powerful figures. Now a brutal brother & sister assassination team are after him and with no one to turn to, and no safe place to hide, Evan is Duran’s only option. But when the hidden cabal catches on to what Evan is doing, everything he’s fought for is on the line—including his own life.

Thrilling Reads Review

In the sixth book of the exhilarating Orphan X series, we find black ops assassin and freelance vigilante, Evan Smoak still struggling with his demons as he wrestles with trying to go straight and stay retired or continue being “the Nowhere Man.”

From the first Orphan X book you wonder about how 12-year-old Evan Smoak ended up in the Orphan program turning seemingly unwanted children into highly trained killing machines. That backstory is explored here brilliantly by Gregg Hurwitz.

A book that is set in the present and past can be tricky with flashbacks and flash forward, but in Hurwitz’s capable hands it’s a delight to what is basically Evan’s origin story in much more depth than we have in the other Orphan X books.

I really like this series and the Evan Smoak character. Hurwitz does an outstanding job of not giving us a typical super hero type black ops specialist trope. He puts Evan in an L.A. condo with his OCD issues and his struggles to navigate his blossoming relationship with neighbor and love interest, Mia–who’s an assistant district attorney–and her son Peter.

I also like the Joey character. A brilliant teenage hacker whom Evan reluctantly mentors.

In Prodigal Son we have a mystery woman claiming to be his mother–whom he never met. She needs help, which forces him out of retirement. There is a military technology component to the plot that is riveting, but I won’t get into that to avoid spoilers.

As usual, the action and location descriptions are fantastic to read. Hurwitz is known for his in-depth research, like swimming with sharks and going through shooting drills with Navy SEALs.

This book has great action, intrigue, twist and turns, and cool gadgets in thrilling locations. Highly recommend you give this a read.

Author Interview with Gregg Hurwitz

I had the pleasure of interviewing Gregg Hurwitz for my MEET THE THRILLER AUTHOR podcast which you can catch below.

It's safe to say that Alan Petersen loves mystery and thriller books. He writes high-octane thrillers, hosts the MEET THE THRILLER AUTHOR podcast, and reviews thriller/mystery books.

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