“Will keep readers on the edge of their seats.”Publishers Weekly (starred review)
Who is THE NOWHERE MAN?
He is spoken about only in whispers. He comes to those in greatest need of his protection. There is no enemy he cannot fight. He lives by his own code. He takes no prisoners. His name is Evan Smoak.
Taken from a group home when he was young, Evan was raised and trained as an Orphan, an off-the-books black box program designed to create the perfect deniable intelligence asset: An assassin. Evan was Orphan Xuntil he used everything he’d learned to disappear and reinvent himself as the Nowhere Man. But now, his new life has been interrupted by a surprise attack from an unlikely source. Captured, drugged, and spirited off to a remote location, Evan finds himself heavily guarded from everything he knows. His captors think they have him trapped and helpless in a virtual cage, but they do not know that they’re dealing with one of the deadliest, most resourceful men on earth.
“Superb on all levels and a must-read for all thriller fans.”Providence Journal
“A masterpiece of suspense and thrills.”Associated Press on Orphan X
About the Author
Read an Excerpt
The Nowhere Man
By Gregg Hurwitz
St. Martin's PressCopyright © 2016 Gregg Hurwitz
All rights reserved.
What He Needs to Know
A naked selfie.
It starts with that.
Hector Contrell sends a seventeen-year-old kid to troll middle schools in East L.A. The kid, improbably named Addison, makes for fine bait. Seedily handsome, starter mustache, pop-star cheekbones, dirty blond hair flipped just so. He wears a hoodie and rides a skateboard, the better to look like he's fifteen. He says he's a pro skater with a contract. He says he's a rapper with a deal at a major label. He's really a pot-smoking dropout who lives in a rented garage with his older brother and his friends, spends his nights playing Call of Duty and hitting a green glass water bong named Fat Boy.
He hangs out near campuses at lunch, after classes, his skateboard rat-a-tat-tatting across sidewalk cracks just barely past school-ground limits. The girls cluster and giggle, and he chooses one to peel off the herd. He tells her to snap pictures. He tells her to get a secret Facebook account, one her parents don't know about, and upload them there. He tells her that everyone does this in high school, and he's mostly right, but not everyone is hooked into a scheme like this. He targets Title I schools, broke girls, easily impressed, looking for a dream, a romance, a way out. Girls whose parents lack the resources to do much if they disappear.
The secret Facebook page links go to Hector Contrell.
The genius of it is, the girls create the sales catalog themselves.
From Contrell the links go to all sorts of men with unorthodox tastes. Austrian industrialists. Sheikhs. Three brothers in Detroit with a padlocked metal shed. Online they can peruse the merchandise discreetly and, if need be, ask for more product information — different photographic angles, specific poses. They make their selections.
Given immigration confusion, gang influence, and splintered family trees, disappearances aren't rare when you're dealing with broke ethnic girls. They're a renewable resource.
Hector Contrell comes in the black of night, and another girl vanishes off the streets and wakes up in a stupor in Islamabad or Birmingham or Sào Paulo. Some of the girls are kept. Some are designated for onetime use.
Anna Rezian is the next prospect. Her father is a plumber, works hard, comes home late and tired. Her mother, a cocktail waitress, comes home later and more tired. Only fifteen, Anna takes care of her younger brothers and sisters, tries to remember to look at her textbooks after she gets the kids down. It's a hard routine for a girl her age.
One day after school, Addison's blue eyes peer out from beneath his scraggly bangs and pick her and only her. That night she touches up her eyeliner, sheds the flat-front Dickies with the worn knees, checks the lighting. This choice, this moment, is going to be a portal to a Whole New Her.
But after she uploads the selfie, nothing magical happens. Staring at the image she has released into the world, she feels an unease begin to gnaw at her.
She decides to stop after the one photo. But Addison needs more; they've been requested from a buyer in Serbia. In a ganja haze, he catches her in the alley outside her family's one-bedroom apartment. When his low-rent hipster charms fail him, he tells her what she'd better do. Big-shotting in the Crenshaw night, he lets fly that he works for someone who will hurt her and her family if she turns off the tap.
She stays up all night, trembling in the glow of her ancient laptop, clicking her way through the infinity of Facebook and chasing threads. Friends of friends have heard of friends who have disappeared. Over the top of the screen, she looks at her sleeping siblings and contemplates what it will feel like if harm befalls them because of her stupidity. She looks at her sleeping parents, exhausted after their long workdays. The chasm of guilt inside her widens by the second, pushing her further and further away until she is on an island of her own making, until her family members seem like specks on the horizon. Something awful is coming, either for them or for her. She makes the choice.
She sends new photos.
She stops sleeping. She starts plucking out her hair in patches. She cuts herself at school, hoping the pain will wake her from this nightmare. Maybe it's a cry for help instead, each crimson line across her forearm a smoke signal released in hopes that someone will ride to her rescue.
Someone does see the signal. One of her classmates' fathers, an older man with a cane and a fresh limp, finds her sobbing in the bathroom of a 7-Eleven when she's supposed to be in homeroom. He gives her a phone number: 1-8552-NOWHERE. A magical fix-it line.
Evan Smoak picks up.
"Do you need my help?" he asks.
That's how it works.
* * *
Fourteen hours later Evan is standing outside Addison's rented garage. The air tastes of car exhaust. The streetlights are broken, the stars smeared by smog, the night dark as tar. Evan is a wraith.
Addison's brother, Carl, and his crew of friends are out scoring black tar at a park in Boyle Heights. Evan knows this. Addison is alone. Evan knows this, too.
He has done his research.
The First Commandment — Assume nothing — demands it.
The wraith raises a single knuckle, taps the garage door.
A moment later it creaks upward.
Stooped, Addison emerges from an effluvium of day-old bong water. He rocks on his heels, gauging Evan.
By design, Evan is hard to gauge. Thirty-something. Fit but not muscly. Somewhere around six feet. An average guy, not too handsome.
Addison underestimates him.
This happens a lot, also by design.
The kid's lips twitch to the side. He jerks his head, flips his hair out of the blue eyes that have landed many a young woman on a container ship heading for uncharted waters.
"The fuck you want?" he says.
"Hector Contrell's address," Evan says.
The pretty-boy lashes flare, but Addison covers quickly. "No idea who that is. And no fucking way I'd tell you if I did."
Evan looks through him. This tends to make people uneasy.
Uncertainty washes across Addison's face, but he blinks it away. "I know people, you tool," he says. "People who can make you disappear like that." The snap of his fingers, sharp in the crisp air. "Who the fuck you think you are anyways?"
"The Nowhere Man," Evan says.
The kid's Adam's apple jerks once. Up. Down.
The moniker is not widely known. But dark rumors have spread through certain streets like trash blown down graffitied alleys.
Addison takes a quick step to the side to stabilize himself. His voice comes out husky, pushed through a constricting throat. "That's just a bullshit story."
"Then you don't have to be scared, do you?"
Addison doesn't say anything.
"You do know what happens to the girls," Evan tells him.
It takes a moment for Addison to relocate his voice. "They disappear."
"I don't know. Guys."
"Who use them for ...?"
The kid shrugs. Actually muffles a snicker. "Whatever guys do."
"I can't tell you. Hector will kill me. Literally kill me."
Evan's gaze is steady.
Addison falters. "No," he says, a new realization dawning. "Oh, no. Look — I'm just a kid, man. I'm seventeen. You're not gonna kill me, are you?"
There is a punch Evan was taught in his early teens by a gruff marine close-quarter-combat instructor.
It is called the palate breaker.
A nonlethal blow that fractures the bridge of the nose, the sinus bones, and both orbital sockets, splitting the skull horizontally temple to temple. It leaves the upper jaw floating, unattached.
Evan's gaze narrows. He picks his spot.
You wouldn't have thought the kid could keep his feet, but there he is, upright on the curb. Something like drool leaks from his lips, the holes of his nose.
"No," Evan says. "I won't kill you."
Addison makes a wheezing noise. With his new face, it will be hard for him to troll for girls anymore.
"The address," Evan says again.
What is left of the mouth tells him what he needs to know.CHAPTER 2
The Social Contract
Evan slipped through the plastic tarp into a new-construction McMansion, the spoils of Hector Contrell's war on the broke families of East L.A. The house, distanced from its neighbors, topped an inclined driveway at the edge of Chatsworth.
Evan drifted through doorless frames, making silent progress toward the heart of the house. Studs framing the wide halls and exposed ceiling beams gave him the impression that he was walking into a massive rib cage, into Hector Contrell himself. Sawdust chalked the back of Evan's throat. Nails protruded from the floor, poking the soles of his Original S.W.A.T. boots. The aggressively checkered gunner grips of a custom Wilson Combat 1911 pistol bit the flesh of his palm.
He found Contrell in the living room-to-be, ensconced like a pilot within a cockpit of computer monitors and servers from which he ran his flesh empire with impunity. A burly, bearded man wholly unhooked from the social contract, who took what he wanted because he wanted it. The high-tech station with its bluish glow and snaking cables seemed anomalous, sprouting up like a mushroom from the exposed subfloor.
Hector noticed movement in the shadows and stood, revolver quickly in hand. For a time, it seemed, he kept rising.
Standing just past the semicircle of pushed-together desks, Evan looked up at him. A FUCK YOU tattoo on the front of Hector's neck indicated that nuance was not the man's strong suit.
Hector said, "I don't know who you are or why you're here, but I'm gonna give you five seconds to leave before I aerate your torso." For emphasis he kicked one of the monitors off the desk, which went to pieces at Evan's feet, sparking impressively.
Both men kept their guns down at their sides.
Evan watched the monitor give off a dying spark. Then he lifted his eyes.
"One of the functions of anger is to convince people of the seriousness of your intentions," he said. "To signal that you're out of control. Unpredictable. Willing to do damage. To evoke fear."
Hector drew himself even taller. No minor feat. Backlit by the monitors, his meaty left earlobe showed a missing slot where an earring had been ripped free.
Evan took a step closer. "So look at me. Look at me closely. And ask yourself: Do I look scared?"
The big man leaned in, the glow of the computers turning his face into a shadow-ravaged landscape — empty eye sockets, pronounced jowls, the curve of one cheek. His thick lips pulsed, the first show of hesitation.
Evan's gun remained at his side, just like Hector's. They faced each other across the desk.
When Evan was fourteen, Jack had trained him how to fast-draw. It wasn't with High Noon theatrics — unholster, lift, and aim. It was a two-millimeter tilt and 3.5 pounds of index-finger pressure.
The shadows shifted across Hector's face. His beefy hand twitched around his gun. He moved first.
The plywood walls gave off a good echo.
* * *
Later that night Evan eased into the alley that ran behind the dilapidated apartment that accommodated Anna Rezian's family. A sheen of blood had hardened on his left forearm, cracking like dried mud when he moved. He'd washed his hands and his face but could feel the leftover flecks on the side of his neck.
There'd been backspray.
He lifted his black phone from his pocket. It was a RoamZone model, encased in fiberglass and tough black rubber, the screen protected by Gorilla Glass. He kept it on him.
It was a lifeline. Not to him, but to those who called it.
He sent a text to Anna: OUTSIDE.
As he waited, a concern niggled at the base of his skull. He had seen something in Hector's house — he didn't know what it was, but it was wrong. Was his client in danger? No. He'd been thorough. Not a threat to her. Not a threat to him. Something else. Something important but not immediate.
Anna's backlit silhouette appeared at the mouth of the alley about ten yards away. She wore a nightie, her spine hunched, her dry hair sticking out. The alley formed a wind tunnel, the October air whipping at her brunette tufts, making them wag stiffly.
"You're safe now," he told her.
Her feet were bare. He could see the tremble in her knees.
"I thought you were one of them coming to get me," she said. "I thought walking down here would be the last thing I ever did. But then ... but then it was you."
"I'm sorry I scared you," he said.
"What does it mean? That I'm safe?"
"You don't have to worry anymore," he said.
"Any of it."
"Has other concerns now."
"And his boss? The guy behind it all?"
Anna trudged forward, her scalp shiny in the spots where she'd plucked out her hair. Her face held the same look he'd seen in his other clients, a worn-through, hollowed-out expression that came from falling out of the slipstream of life.
"Albert is safe?" Her voice cracked. "And Eduard?"
Anna came closer yet, her cheeks glinting. "How about Maria? They won't hurt Maria?"
"There's no one left to hurt Maria."
Openly sobbing now. "Mayrig? Hayrig?"
"Your mother and father will be fine."
He thought of her family in their beds and wondered at the serenity they might offer her. At her age he hadn't had much, which meant he'd had nothing to leave behind. As a twelve-year-old, he'd stepped off a truck-stop curb into a dark sedan and blipped off the radar. Back then any gamble was worth the taking. This one had gotten him out of East Baltimore. He'd been to Marrakech and St. Petersburg and Cape Town, and he'd left his mark in blood at every stop. But he'd never had what Anna had waiting for her upstairs. The chill breeze brought with it the realization that he'd devoted his life to preserving for others what he couldn't have himself.
"The pictures of me," she said. "They'll be so ashamed."
Before leaving Hector's place, Evan had safed the house, finding little more than construction materials, empty beer bottles, a few hefty dumbbells in the garage. Fast-food wrappers layered a mattress thrown on the floor in one of the bare-bones rooms upstairs where Hector was living during the construction. Evan had gone back down to the comms center and dragged the considerable body out of the way. Once the cockpit was clear, he spent a few stomach-churning minutes navigating the databases, clicking through the files of past "eligibles" to locate the matching buyers. Client information was sparse and coded, but he forwarded it on to the local FBI field office. But not before wiping all information about Anna Rezian off the servers.
"The pictures are gone," Evan said. "No one will have to know anything."
Anna took an unsteady step to the side and lifted a hand to the cracked stucco wall. "Eduard. He's safe now. He's safe." Still working it through, thawing out of denial.
"You're all safe."
Anna's face wobbled, and for a moment it seemed she might come apart entirely. "I don't know how I can face them. Knowing what I almost did to us all. I'll never forgive myself."
"That's up to you."
She looked stung by his response. Tears clung to her lashes. She bit her lips. Her chest rose, her nostrils flaring. Deep breath. Exhale. The tears did not fall.
"You're not to call me again," Evan said. "Do you understand? This is what I do. But it's all that I do."
"Albert and Maria are okay now." Her lips barely moved. Her voice, little more than a whisper. "Mayrig and Hayrig. And Eduard. Eduard."
"Anna, I need you to focus. Look at me. Look at me. I have one thing to ask of you before I leave."
Her eyes found a sudden clarity. "Anything."
"Find someone who needs me. Like you did. It doesn't matter if it takes a week or a month or a year. You find someone who is desperate and has no way out. Give them my number."
Every call was digitized and sent over the Internet through a series of encrypted virtual private network tunnels. After pinging through fifteen software virtual telephone switch destinations around the globe, it came through his RoamZone.
"Yes. You tell them about me."
"Like Nicole Helfrich's dad when he found me in the 7-Eleven?"
"Like that. You find someone. Tell them I'll be there on the other end of the phone."
That was the final step for his clients. A task, a purpose, an act of empowerment that transitioned them from victim to rescuer. Evan knew all too well that some wounds never healed, not fully. But there were ways to contain the pain, to take ownership over the scars, and this was one of them.
Anna lunged at him and wrapped him in a hug. For a moment his arms floated a few inches above her thin back. He was unaccustomed to this kind of contact. In the moonlight he could see the wine-colored streak on his forearm, the dark half-moons beneath his nails. He didn't want Hector Contrell's blood on her clothes, in her hair. And yet Anna's embrace tightened, her face pressed into his chest.
He lowered his arms. She was warm. He felt the wetness of her cheek through his T-shirt. She clung to him.
Her voice came muffled. "How do I thank you?" Evan said, "Be with your family."
He'd meant it as the next instruction, but it struck him that it was also the answer to her question.
She stepped back to wipe her eyes, and he took the opportunity to slip away.
Excerpted from The Nowhere Man by Gregg Hurwitz. Copyright © 2016 Gregg Hurwitz. Excerpted by permission of St. Martin's Press.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.
Table of Contents
1. What He Needs to Know,
2. The Social Contract,
3. War Machine,
4. Clean as a Scalpel,
5. The Eyes of the Data-Mining Beast,
6. Struck Oil,
7. The Inevitable Gurgle,
8. His Own Dollhouse,
9. Our Lady of Holy Death,
10. The Strange Language of Intimacy,
11. No Longer the Same Place,
12. Magical Machinations,
13. Last Glance Back,
14. Rambo in a Bespoke Shirt,
15. Back-Alley Philosophers,
16. Faithful Companions,
17. Beautiful Monster,
18. Flesh and Bone,
19. Somewhere Much, Much Worse,
20. No End Point,
21. In Trouble,
22. Divine Right,
23. Destroying Angel,
24. A Complex, Sticky Business,
25. Not Very Nice,
26. Man or Nature,
27. Six in Total,
28. The Grim Reapress,
29. Your Bad Self,
30. Someone's Idea of a Library,
31. A Hard Man,
33. The Inexpressible,
34. What It Is You Do,
35. Into the Snowy White,
36. A Real Fighter,
37. More Animal Than Human,
38. A Bad Night's Work,
39. To the Brink,
40. People Who Deserve It,
41. No Ready Answer,
42. Corners of His Mind,
43. Unleash Hell,
45. A Different Kind of Ruckus,
46. All the Honey,
47. Collision Avoidance,
48. Some Bizarre Mating Dance,
49. Flicker of Coldness,
50. Making His Preparations,
51. A Shout into the Abyss,
52. Some Kind of Advantage,
53. Some Delicacies,
54. Bad Dogs,
55. Almost There,
56. Mostly Certain,
57. A Very Persuasive Call,
60. The Only Person Worse Than Us,
61. To Do Harm,
62. That Gnawing Feeling,
63. The People No One Wants,
64. The Slender Man,
65. Fragile Little Bond,
66. Banged Up in All the Right Ways,
67. What Was Missing,
68. Object Permanence,
69. No Extradition,
70. The Slightest Misstep,
72. The Old Stories,
74. Overlord of Everything and Nothing,
Also by Gregg Hurwitz,
About the Author,
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
Great story twists and turns awesome
After being thoroughly captivated by Evan Smoak in "Orphan X", I knew this would be a good book. However, it turns out it was a GREAT book! The physical and mental trials he went through in this adventure was over the top unbelievable. Addictive and spellbinding, the surprises just kept coming. If you like a really tight, intense thriller...read this one! Thanks Mr. Hurwitz..seriously!
One of the very few sequels I have read that is as good (if not better) than the original.
Evan Smoak was Orphan X--a boy trained in a top-secret government program to become a lethal weapon, an assassin. After being asked to kill another operative, Evan decided to leave that life behind. He became the Nowhere Man, the helper of people in trouble. In book 2, Evan is called upon to help a high school girl being drawn into a sex trafficking scheme against her will. After taking care of her problem, he decides to follow through further and find the local house where the girls were kept before being sent off to buyers. There he himself is attacked and captured and awakens to find himself in a plush room in a chateau in the mountains with bars on the balcony window and armed guards at his door. Why? The major portion of this book is spent watching Evan carry out a plan of escape, eliminating his captor's hired muscle one after the other. Remarkable, edge-of-your-seat action with a truly intelligent hero who is flawed and all too human. The touch of humor was missing from this second book. Instead, Evan begins to face an existential crisis. Is this all his life will ever be? Can he possibly live a normal life with wife, children? I like this character very much and thought this thriller was one of the best I've read. I look forward to reading the next two books in the series. Highly recommend for lovers of the genre. I wish to thank the publisher for providing me with an ebook copy of this book and the others in the series via NetGalley for my honest review.
Evan Smoak series is totally binge worthy! Five stars. Nowhere Man by Gregg Hurwitz is book two in the Evan Smoak series. This book could easily be read as a standalone, although I would suggest reading book one as well. Active members of the Orphan program nearly succeeded in assassinating Evan. After the confrontation, Evan resumes his undertaking of helping those unable to turn to anyone else. While tying up loose ends with a human trafficking ring, Evan is kidnapped. Most of Nowhere Man takes place while Evan is in his kidnapper's custody. What proceeds is an intricate game of cat and mouse where both men consistently underestimate each other. This conflict makes for suspenseful interactions that kept me eager for a resolution. I was honestly unsure how Evan would make it out of his situation. When the ending did come, it was quite epic and served as a turning point for Evan. I am surprised at how attached I have become to this character. The author is not only presenting a thrilling vigilante story. Evan is a vastly sympathetic character that the reader gets to know slowly through his adventures. I, of course, have already started the next book in the series. I can tell reaching the end will make for a bittersweet wait until more books come out. Nowhere Man was given to me by St Martin's Press through NetGalley for my honest opinion. I encourage all readers to come to their own conclusions.
After deciding he can't stop his ways and that it was safer for him alone Evan sets out again to right injustices against the little guys. Caught unawares Evan gets snagged and now has to get himself free or suffer the consequences. There's plenty of action and fighting which means a high body count and tons of excessively descriptive pages of fluff as Evan battles not only physically but emotionally as well. Unfortunately he's still out to save the world and with the surprise revelations now he may have a bigger reason to fight than ever. I have to admit this time all of the imagery and descriptive narration just got old. I found myself scheming to bypass the more mundane because I wanted to know what happened. The author keeps the action going with plenty of twist and turns so I didn't want to miss out, since it ended in a cliffhanger I have to read the next one too.
In this, the second book in the Orphan X series, Gregg Hurwitz again gives us a fast-paced story, with his fascinating main character, Evan Smoak, doing some soul-searching in between dishing out punishment to those who've earned it. Evan Smoak has transformed himself into the Nowhere Man, who uses the "particular set of skills" he learned in a rogue government program to privately help ordinary citizens who find themselves in extreme danger. All he asks in return is that they “pay it forward” by passing his phone number on to one person who needs his help. This time, though, he finds himself held captive by an extreme narcissist who wants to access his money (of which he has a considerable amount). Evan spends a fair amount of his captivity drugged up, and a fair bit wreaking havoc on his guards. At the same time, he's also being pursued by another orphan, who's been tasked with eliminating him. There's a lot of action, and once again the ending of this one left me ready to move on to the next one (Hellbent). Well done, Mr. Hurwitz, well done! Thanks to Netgalley and St. Martin’s Press/Minotaur Books for providing a copy for an unbiased review.
Another five star rating. Evan Smoak is captured. The kidnapper wants all of his money and is not afraid to use torture to gain his ends. Evan never loses sight of escape and how to lower the odds against him. Prior to his capture, he rescues a young girl from traffickers and learns another girl is being shipped in a container from California to Florida and he is determined to rescue her. The novel brings in much of his past, particularly his relationship with Jack Johns. To go into what happens to Evan, his captors and the people from his past will bring up way too many spoilers. This second novel has tied up most of the loose ends from the first one and did it well. Once again, great reading and now on to the third chapter. Thanks to Net Galley and Minotaur Books for an ARC for an honest review.
Have enjoyed reading the Orphan X books by Gregg Hurwitz. This second book was just not as likable because Evan did little to help others because he needed helping. His captor in this work is really intense and does not get his due fast enough. Hurwitz is a skilled author and made me stay up late and keep turning the pages. "A copy of this book was provided by St. Martin's Press via Netgalley with no requirements for a review. Comments here are my honest opinion."
He became the protector of the innocent, the weak, those unable to get the results he can. Evan Smoak is THE NOWHERE MAN, a renegade from the program that groomed him to be a covert weapon, but no one walks away from the Orphan program, no one. Gregg Hurwitz digs deep into the man Evan Smoak has become and we are witness to what makes this man tick, as well as what makes him as good as he is, no matter how dark things look. But sometimes, it takes a lot of luck to survive and Evan’s luck has run out, for now… Ambushed, drugged and kidnapped, Evan wakes up a prisoner to a narcissistic sociopath who wants something Evan has, but does he know who he is dealing with? Will Renee find Evan’s Achilles Heel, bringing Van Sciver into the picture? Can Evan find his way out of the deadly vise he is being squeezed with? Confused, guarded by fierce goons, Evan gets a call for help he cannot ignore, but getting out of the elaborate fortress won’t be easy, it may be impossible… Vivid details set the atmosphere for this quieter, yet still emotionally taut addition to the Orphan X series. The action is different this time out, the tone is different, and Evan isn’t the invincible asset he once was. He has been tortured, weakened, and seems more human…until he becomes so driven, he will push the envelope between life and death, Van Sciver, be damned. What he needs is an angel… There may have been few bumps in the road this time out, but I wouldn’t have missed THE NOWHERE MAN for anything!
I received a free copy of The Nowhere Man by Gregg Hurwitz through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. This is the second full-length book in the Orphan X series. Back to work after his encounters in Orphan X, Evan Smoak is busy terminating a human trafficking ring when he is taken captive. Oddly enough, the capture has nothing to do with Evan’s work, it’s all about the money, well some of the money. While Evan is imprisoned, he’s aware he is the last hope for a girl on a ship heading toward a sleazy flesh peddler. Also, while captured, Evan’s next call for help comes in. It’s a young boy desperate for help. The clock is ticking and both of the young people need Evan. However, in order to save both, Evan must escape, and his escape must be in time. This was a great follow-up to Orphan X. It shows both that Evan is facing dangers outside of his work history and that it is important for Evan to be careful about revealing himself.
I really enjoyed Orphan X due to its fast pace and intriguing character Evan Smoak. He is the typical macho man who drinks vodka and makes smartass comments, I loved it. I wanted to read the rest of the trilogy, but did not want to wait so long between books, so with Hellbent coming out at the end of this month, I picked up Nowhere Man. The story picks up where Orphan X left off. Evan is still helping those in need, but in this story, he is actually captured by a psychopath and has to escape. There was a lot of violence in the story as he kept killing guards and they kept being replaced. The story was fast paced for the most part and kept me in suspense although knowing there was a third book meant he was going to get away. Some of the characters from the first book make a reappearance and we learn a bit more about Evan's early life. Of course Van Sciver is still trying to find Evan a erase him which only adds to the action. A good thriller but if you do not like violence, then do not pick this one up. I can't wait to see what the next book has in store for us. Based on the ending of this one, it is going to be another good ride.
The Nowhere Man Needs Rescuing Himself Last year, Gregg Hurwitz introduced us to Evan Smoak, a former highly trained government assassin who now works freelance helping those who are caught up in impossible circumstances. I was looking forward to returning to learn more about Evan in The Nowhere Man, this year’s follow up, and it is another mostly wild ride. As the book opens, Evan has taken on a new client, a young woman who is being targeted by a human trafficking ring. As Evan is attempting to wrap up the final lose ends, he is kidnapped and wakes up some time later in the middle of a room. He has no idea where he is or even who has him. Naturally, Evan plans to escape, but he must escape in time to help someone in need, that last loose end from the human trafficking ring. However, his “host” appears to have thought of everything in order to keep Evan captive. Normally, this is a situation that Evan would help someone out of, but, even if he could ask for help, who could he call? If you aren’t familiar with Gregg and his work, he writes thrillers, definitely not the cozies I normally read. I knew as a result that this would have more language and violence than my normal choices, so I was ready for it going in. I also knew that this book would involve our main character being held prisoner. I’m not normally a fan of stories where the main character is held prisoner and has to escape since they feel repetitive and slow down the pacing. This one did have some interesting twists to that genre, but ultimately it fell into some of those traps. And that’s not to say that I found the book boring overall. The ticking clock on Evan needing to escape added a nice dimension to things that kept me turning pages. The action scenes are fantastic, and the climax will definitely keep you glued to the book although it does have a weakness. It’s just that the pacing was more uneven than the previous book. Evan is a bit of a loaner. We did meet a few of his neighbors in the first book, but given the plot of this book, we don’t get to see much of them. We didn’t really need to see more of them because the character development we got to see in Evan alone was interesting and I can’t wait to see how it plays into future adventures. We meet some strong new characters along the way, although I did feel one of them was over the top. And I have to mention Gregg Hurwitz’s writing. He does a fantastic job of bring the story to life. We get description that increases the tension and pull us into Evan’s world. The Nowhere Man is very different from what I normally read, but I enjoyed this break of sub-genres. If you are looking for a fun book you won’t want to put down, I definitely recommend it.
I'd likely give this 5 stars if it weren't for the extended time Evan spent in captivity. Now don't get me wrong, Nowhere Man is a very good book and it is suspenseful, thought provoking and many of the things I liked about the first book in the series, Orphan X. I just felt like a little bit of Groundhog Day reading the 'Evan held hostage' scenes. Nit picking perhaps but it's my review. Fans of the first book may also find the flashback/memory scenes of Jack a bit redundant, but there is a significance to all of it that pays off. I love, love, love the return of Candy, another orphan from the previous book. Such extreme confidence and sexuality rolled into a talented assasin. Respi was also a great character addition to the plot and hope to see her in future series. What drew me into the series in the first place was Evans' passion for helping those that can't help themselves. There is something unique and special about that compassion, coupled with his skill set that that gives the reader this enjoyable sense of redemption and justice that is richly satisfying. While this was present in the book, it lacked any depth and was a bit too tidy with the wrap up. It left me wanting to see more of that side of Evan. Additionally, Mia and her son are back but it also falls short of expectations. So for me the book felt unbalanced, too much of one thing and not enough of what I wanted. I'm still a fan and definitely on board for the next book in the series.
Loved the writing style, the edge of your seat reading. Once I had started I was unable to stop. Too bad it's just fiction, or is it? Will surely buy more by this dazzling author!
I love Gregg Hurwitz books. This one was really not for me. I gave it 4 stars due to the writing. I know it's not my genre and not my style, but I know that there are people out there that will go crazy over this stuff. When I first started reading it, it was like reading the steps a video game would take. Not sure if you get that, but that's what it was like. Instead of watching a video game, your reading it. I am sure there are teenage boys and young men that would be all over this and I think that's a good thing. We need to get more young people involved in reading. Like I said, not my style, not my genre, but I think it was written very well and needs to be recognized. Thanks Minotaur Books and Net Galley for providing me with a free e-galley in exchange for an honest review.