Evan Smoak aims high in this fourth bloody installment in the fast-moving Orphan X series (Hellbent, 2018, etc.).
Evan is Orphan X, and he is on a daunting mission: “Killing the President was going to be a lot of work.” To be sure, the morally corrupt President Bennett is trying to cover up his crimes by wiping out everyone in the darker than dark Orphan program that he once oversaw. The two men know they're out to get each other, and Bennett is “the most inaccessible and heavily guarded man on the face of the planet.” Further, Secret Service Special Agent in Charge Naomi Templeton is given the job of protecting him against X, so simply shooting up a presidential motorcade won’t cut it. Meanwhile, there’s a distinct subplot—fans already know that Orphan X is the Nowhere Man, who helps certain people who call his encrypted cellphone. This time the desperate caller is Trevon Gaines, who’s found his entire immediate family slaughtered but is kept alive by the drug-smuggling killers who call him a “retard.” Trevon is a highly sympathetic character who notices precise details wherever he looks, only eats yellow or orange food, and frets about the “Scaredy Bugs” in his head. Protecting him and his lone remaining relative is a side job for Orphan X that lets him do what he does best: kill a lot of criminals. Oh yeah, and there’s a dude called Orphan A who doesn’t have his fellow orphan’s best interests at heart. The plotting is clever, the action is nearly constant and usually over-the-top, and X has something resembling a moral core. Bad guys get what bad guys deserve, and we don’t need no stinkin’ due process.
Hurwitz fans will certainly enjoy this latest entry in the series, while those unfamiliar with it might like to read the books in order. They’ll be hooked.