The Nowhere Man (Orphan X #2) Review
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In Orphan X, author Gregg Hurwitz introduced readers to a shadowy new literary action hero who fights for those who can’t fight for themselves. And in the follow-up, The Nowhere Man, the man formerly known as Orphan X finds himself battling both his past and an over-the-top new enemy.

The story continues to follow Evan Smoak, a mysterious crime-fighter known as the Nowhere Man. Trained from his youth as a black-ops assassin, he’s broken away from the system that wanted to terminate him (and still hunts him) to help the helpless, one case at a time. When Evan is captured and taken to a remote—and heavily fortified—location, he finds himself in a strange position. This time, he’s the one who needs help. But his clients need him—and he’ll do whatever it takes to get to them.

While Orphan X was a high-speed thriller, following Evan on a series of wild adventures, The Nowhere Man is a very different novel. Here, Evan isn’t racing through the streets, battling bad guys. He’s trapped in an enormous chateau that, while luxurious, has been carefully designed to keep him from escaping. Not only are there locks on the doors, security cameras, and vicious armed guards everywhere; there’s also gas piped into the vents to knock him out as needed. So there’s not a lot of running for Evan this time around—the occasional fights, sure, but there’s more tension and suspense than breakneck action.

The story also spends a lot of time in flashbacks. It recaps parts of Evan’s history that also played a large part in the first novel, which may be disappointing for readers who are expecting the same thrills. Some of the twists, too, seem a little too convenient—and a little hard to believe—making the story not as strong as the original.

Still, there are plenty of touches here to hold readers’ attention. Evan’s captor, René, is the kind of villain that you’d find in a James Bond movie. He’s so completely—and flamboyantly—sinister that he adds a kind of wild playfulness to the story. Troubled by his family’s displeasure and his own inadequacy, he’s come up with an elaborate scheme to fund both his lavish lifestyle and his bizarre fountain of youth. And while parts of the story may not live up to the action and adventure of the first installment, this outrageous villain and his chateau full of thugs keep it entertaining.

The Nowhere Man doesn’t quite keep up with the gripping action and thoughtful drama of Orphan X, but it’s still a tense and fascinating read. And once you finish, you’ll be eager to see what’s next for this shadowy hero.

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