Tuesday, February 7, 2023

#Review - The Last Orphan by Gregg Hurwitz #Thrillers / #Suspense

Series: Orphan X (#8)
Format: Hardcover, 352 pages
Release Date: February 14, 2023
Publisher: Minotaur Books
Source: Publisher
Genre: Thrillers / Suspense

Evan Smoak returns in The Last Orphan, the latest New York Times bestselling Orphan X thriller--when everything changes and everything is at risk.

As a child, Evan Smoak was plucked out of a group home, raised and trained as an off-the-books assassin for the government as part of the Orphan program. When he broke with the program and went deep underground, he left with a lot of secrets in his head that the government would do anything to make sure never got out.

When he remade himself as The Nowhere Man, dedicated to helping the most desperate in their times of trouble, Evan found himself slowly back on the government's radar. Having eliminated most of the Orphans in the program, the government will stop at nothing to eliminate the threat they see in Evan. But Orphan X has always been several steps ahead of his pursuers.

Until he makes one little mistake...

Now the President has him in her control and offers Evan a deal - eliminate a rich, powerful man she says is too dangerous to live and, in turn, she'll let Evan survive. But when Evan left the Program he swore to only use his skills against those who really deserve it. Now he has to decide what's more important - his principles or his life.

The Last Orphan, by Gregg Hurwitz, is the 8th installment in the authors Orphan X series. After flying to Iceland to get a rare drink of vodka that is only served on the icy mountains, The Nowhere Man, aka Orphan X, former government assassin, is on his way to visit Mia Hall who has been in a coma for the past 2 months. But Secret Service Special Agent Naomi Templeton, and the US President Victoria Donahue-Cane have other ideas. Other ideas thanks to Evan violating the terms of his secret pardon.

Evan has been called an unsanctioned assassin by many, including Victoria who was installed, not elected. But Evan never once thought about leaking the details of the fabled Orphan Program which Victoria believes has ended, and Evan is the last of his kind. His motto is, it's amazing what you can accomplish if you truly believe that the world doesn't owe you anything. That's especially telling for the new millennials who believe they are entitled to everything free and don't have to work for everything.

So, after being captured, and treated like a terrorist, Evan is given an opportunity. If he ends he life of Luke Devine, who has his finger on some really high ranking and important people, including Senators who are holding up Victoria's agenda, he will be pardoned and can retire in peace. Evan has a code to only kill if the person really deserves such a fate, so he investigates this man and finds a great deal of corruption that requires him to use his fighting skills.  

With a little help from 16-year-old Joey Morales, the infamous teen hacker, as well as Tommy Slojack, his armorer, Evan once again has to dig deep into the murders of two innocents. One a boy named Johnny Seabrook, and a girl named Angela Bufford. Thanks to the unrelenting posting of his younger sister, Ruby, Evan must call in a favor from the one person that you never figured would be a great addition to Evan's team: Candy McClure aka Orphan V. Candy is a hoot. 

She's funny, she's dangerous, and she may have ended up on the bad side of Evan, but by now, the two are pretty spectacular when the work together. So, Evan, and Candy have to take on Luke's past, as well as the hired guns who are supposed to protect him. Even though Evan has taken on some really bad, bad, people over the course of this series, he still has his 10 commandments thanks to his mentor that he has never forgotten. 

He still has a moral compass which he uses to make a choice of whether or not he's going to be intimidated by Jill Biden aka Victoria, or allow Elon Musk, aka Luke Devine, to live and do what he can to stop the President's trillion dollar Bill from being used to pad millionaire's pockets and ensure her probably election to 4 more years of running the country. There is a fourth character who Evan is now adding to his team and that's Aragon, the former smuggler who is going straight. Aragon is a cool character who pretty much helps Evan on a minutes notice.

On a personal issue, I adore Joey and Evan together. He's like the uncle she's been hoping for after a miserable childhood that saw her drummed out of the Orphan program. Add Tommy to the story and you have a bit of levity and comedy as well. Again, Tommy has been around for a very long time, and he's always got some sort of moment that gets to the heart of what's happening to Evan. So, thanks to Joey, and Tommy, and yes, Candy, this situation goes from an S3 (Shit Show Supreme) to something else entirely that leaves you wondering what happens next?

On a side note, Joey has been doing a side project for Evan. That side project is likely to be the reason for the open ending of this story. I look forward to seeing what happens next to this motley crew. 

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