Featured Review: ‘The Last Orphan’ by Gregg Hurwitz


Evan Smoak is back for another go-around in this hard-hitting thriller from New York Times bestselling author Gregg Hurwitz.

By now, readers know that Smoak, as a child, was taken from a group home and trained by the government to be an assassin as part of a Top Secret, off-the-books program. Thankfully, Evan had a different handler than the rest of the Orphan operators, one who instilled a set of principles in him, along with ten unique rules to live by. Years later, Evan split from the program, deciding instead to use his lethal set of skills as a vigilante fighting for justice, and the Nowhere Man was born. But that didn’t stop the government from looking for Evan, or him from going after everyone who had anything to do with the Orphan Program. A one-man war was waged, but now, things have changed.

Over the last seven books, Evan Smoak has helped those in need while, for the most part, staying off the government’s radar. Those days of hiding in plain sight, though, are long gone. Now, the president of the United States wants Evan captured—but once they get their hands on him, things don’t go quite the way he anticipated.

Rather than execute him on the spot, or worse, drag him in for interrogation and sift through every memory he’s made along the way, Evan is surprised when POTUS instead hands down an offer. In order to restore his “informal pardon,” as Smoak has taken to calling his specific arrangement, he must agree to kill a man named Luke Devine. A billionaire who has excelled at “trading power for more power,” Devine has an unprecedented amount of reach, and anyone who has that kind of leverage over politicians of the highest power—including two who could sway the vote on a trillion-dollar environmental bill—is a direct threat to the president. Especially one who is up for reelection, and desperate to push her agenda before it’s too late. 

Evan, with no other cards to play, accepts the offer in order to stay above ground. But before he’ll go through with an assassination, he vows to first see if the mission requirements align with his own core beliefs, which quickly becomes an issue for him after new details emerge—forcing Evan to decide once and for all whether he’ll abandon his own values to once again become an operative for the federal government, or risk putting a target on his back that even he can’t run from.

Gregg Hurwitz delivers another blockbuster hit with The Last Orphan, one of his best novels to date and an early contender for book-to-beat in 2023. What makes this series so unique, among other things, is how far Evan has come over the course of these now eight books. From hiding in his luxurious, fortified penthouse where he only took missions via his 1-855-2-NOWHERE line for help to now back to running an operation (albeit against his will) for the government. In many ways, the series has come full circle, only now, Evan isn’t alone. Having built up several relationships over the years, Hurwitz continues to expertly develop his hero, and without revealing any names, longtime fans will be thrilled to see several familiar faces return in this one. That, combined with another impossible scenario for Evan to navigate, brings a familiar feel to the story, but just when you think you know how Hurwitz will wrap things up, he throws in a final curve that’ll have readers on edge waiting for the next installment.

Every time it looks like Gregg Hurwitz can’t top himself, he delivers another impossible-to-miss thriller . . . and The Last Orphan is everything his fans love, plus so much more.

Book Details

Author: Gregg Hurwitz
Series: Orphan X #8
Pages: 352 (Hardcover)
ISBN: 1250252326
Publisher: Minotaur Books
Release Date: February 14, 2023
Real Book Spy Rating: 9.75/10




Praised as “One of the hardest working, most thoughtful, and fairest reviewers out there” by #1 New York Times bestselling author Lisa Scottoline, Ryan Steck has “quickly established himself as the authority on mysteries and thrillers” (Author A.J. Tata). Steck also works full-time as a freelance editor and co-hosts the ThrillerTalk podcast when he’s not streaming and hanging out with his growing community on Twitch. His debut thriller, FIELDS OF FIRE, which #1 New York Times bestselling author Jack Carr says “will leave you speechless and begging for more,” comes out on September 6, 2022. For more information, be sure to follow him on Twitter and Facebook.

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