The Last Orphan by Greg Hurwitz

I wonder if this is the last book in the Orphan X series. My money is on the last but one as there are several changes in Evan Smoak that suggest he is finding it harder to keep the human side of him shut out, he is a bit Jason Bourne-ish in character. He has also made a few errors, missing a shot for one example, but being caught by government operatives being the biggest, that also make him more human.

Smoak is the result of a program that he started when he wask taken out of an orphanage and put through a series of tests and training that created a flawless killer and then used by the government as a human weapon. The book starts with two seemingly disparate stories.

Story number one is based around Johnny Seabrook, a happy-go-lucky young man living on his looks and always ready to party. He attends one of Luke Devine’s parties and ends up dead alongside a young woman.

Meanwhile, government agents are tracking down Smoak at the request of the president and her request will be that he is pardonned if he gets rid of Luke Devine. Smoak eventually finds a link between the two young people who were killed and Luke Devine and so takes the request to kill him. Devine is, however, a dark version of Smoak, although he operates in different ways and seems to be one step ahead of him.

Although a lone wolf, Smoak needs the help of several friends for this task and it is here that I think you can sense the ending of this series. Smoak needs to call on them much more and his techy, Joey a sixteen year old girl who has been through similar things to Smoak, needs him to help her emotionally.

These books aren’t meant to deal with the big themes of the day, but it does touch on how the wealthy are treated and the links between companies and the military, always a murky area. What is not missed out of the book though are the fights, the violence and general thrillerness of this genre and so I thoroughly enjoyed it and will miss the series if it is to come to an end.

It turns out there is another book, Lone Wolf, due to be published this year (2024).

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