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The Prodigal Son by Gregg Hurwitz

The latest thriller featuring Evan Smoak, formerly known as Orphan X, and sometimes known as the Nowhere Man, is a page-turning, seat-of-your-pants adrenaline ride.

As a boy, Evan was taken from a foster home and trained as an assassin by the US government in a programme so top secret, very few people were aware of its existence. He left the organisation and decided to devote himself to helping others in trouble until a phone call from the United States President forced him into retirement. But then he gets a phone call from a woman claiming to be his mother, and she asks him to protect a stranger who is in trouble after witnessing a murder, so it seems he may come out of retirement after all.

Evan is trained to take nothing at face value, but it turns out this really is his mother – the woman who gave him up when he was just a baby – which causes him to remember a painful past as a foster child. And as he gets more information about this case, he uncovers more than a stranger in trouble but a deadly new threat to national security.

This is not a book for the faint-hearted, as there are some visceral scenes, but the violence is balanced with an emotional heart and excellent characterisation of Evan and the cast of characters in his world. It’s fast-paced, with loads of technology, but it also grapples with Evan’s emotions and him learning to connect – even love – those close to him despite his training to keep people at a distance. The world that Gregg Hurwitz is creating in this series is multi-layered and compelling. I can’t wait to read the next in the series.

Reviewer: Karen McMillan

Penguin Random House