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2018 Reading Challenge

2018 Reading Challenge
Jill Elizabeth has read 25 books toward her goal of 175 books.
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Books Review: Orphan X and The Nowhere Man by Gregg Hurwitz

Orphan X
What an AWESOME find this series was!! When I got the NetGalley email offering the three books, I was intrigued but figured it’d read like every other good-guy-turned-killer-turned-good-guy-on-the-run thriller – which is to say that it would read well and quickly but not make much of a mark long-term. Was I ever wrong! Evan Smoak is an incredible protagonist and hero/anti-hero blend, but the books are about so much more than that – they’re about what it means to live and what life is worth, full of kick-ass action to be sure but also of unbearable near-misses and poignant might-have-beens that round out the story and make Smoak one of the most real characters I’ve ever crossed paths with in this type of book.

In this first installment, we meet Evan and get a big chunk of his backstory – along with his current situation. He’s the Nowhere Man, the person you call when you literally have nowhere else to turn. The action is thick on the ground, the characters are well-crafted and utter originals full of quirks and skills that seem impossible to embody yet somehow render them exceedingly believable. And secrets – holy cow are there secrets! There are more secrets wedged into these pages than one book should be able to hold within its covers, and each one is teased out with just the right amount of lead-in and open ends to keep you reading – and guessing – from the opening pages until the last.

The Nowhere Man
OK, I thought book one was AMAZING, and was cautiously optimistic but a bit fearful, as series like this sometimes peter out after such an initially strong showing – it’s tough to follow up AMAZING, after all… But don’t fear – book two not only did not disappoint, it upped the ante…

Evan Smoak is such a fabulous character – on one hand, the most talented and incredibly aware professional EVER. On the other, the most clueless self-aware person on a personal level… In this second book, Hurwitz makes Smoak more human, and that was a brave decision but one that I think paid off marvelously. The tables turn in this book, and watching how Smoak handles that tells the reader so much more about him than a recitation of backstory (no matter how carefully presented) ever could have, and that telling really added a depth to the character and series.

The secrets and action are still thick on the ground (thicker, if that was even possible). Watching the delicate rolling out of facts and fictions throughout the course of these novels has been a delicious treat – the reader is given just enough to lead you along, but never so much that you fail to feel like the rug was pulled out from under you when things finally (inevitably) go sideways.

This is an incredible series and I can’t wait to see what comes next!!

Thanks to NetGalley for my review copies of both books. The newest Nowhere Man book – Out of the Dark – releases on January 29, 2019 – and there’s a short story – The Intern – coming on December 18, 2018. You can pre-order both now…

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