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Review: Evan Smoak returns in Hurwitz's 'The Nowhere Man'

Associated Press logo Associated Press 1/17/2017 By JEFF AYERS
This book cover image released by Minotaur shows, "The Nowhere Man," by Gregg Hurwitz. (Minotaur via AP) © The Associated Press This book cover image released by Minotaur shows, "The Nowhere Man," by Gregg Hurwitz. (Minotaur via AP)

Associated Press (AP) — "The Nowhere Man" (Minotaur), by Gregg Hurwitz

Evan Smoak, the anti-hero from last year's "Orphan X," returns in an even more intense and harrowing thriller.

Smoak was trained as an operative in the orphan program and was known as Orphan X. He has evaded that life, but his lethal skills are still put to use as a vigilante. After he saves someone, he tells that person to give his phone number to another one who needs his special services. He's a ghost, known as The Nowhere Man.

After receiving a call from a young woman, Smoak is able to rescue her, and when he takes out the man responsible for her predicament, thugs in full combat gear knock him unconscious before he can escape and he wakes in a prison cell.

His captor, Rene, tells him that he will be released when he transfers $27 million from his bank account. Rene doesn't realize Smoak has access to more money than that — and is more resourceful. He's also pleased that he's been imprisoned not by his former colleagues who are looking for him, but a criminal solely interested in money.

The novel focuses on Smoak and the psychological issues associated with being trapped without any hope of escape. The more he fights back, the more Rene and his henchmen are ready for him. Smoak keeps count of every minor detail in case it can be used to help him escape. Just when it could get a bit repetitive with the attempts to flee followed by recapture, an element is added that makes the narrative jump even more in intensity.

Hurwitz knows how to put the reader deep in the mind of his hero as the pace never lets up.

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