Book Review: Prodigal Son by Gregg Hurwitz

By Ana Downes

Gregg Hurwitz has done it again! “Prodigal Son” is the newest installment in what has been my personal all-time favourite series since the end of 2016/start of 2017. This novel certainly lived up to my (rather high) expectations! Hurwitz is my favourite author. I have read almost all of his novels and I am a huge fan of his writing style. It is clear that he puts a tremendous amount of research into every book, and this comes through with the accuracy and detail in each one.

 The story itself is highly enthralling! In his many novels, Hurwitz has shown a great aptitude for drawing readers into his stories through fantastic character development, effective dialogue and thrilling plotlines.

“Prodigal Son” is the sixth installment in the “Orphan X” series. Evan Smoak, also known as the Nowhere Man, was taken from a group home at the age of 12. He was raised and trained in a top-secret government operation called the Orphan Program. The program aims to create lethal weapons (trained assassins) as government assets. Each orphan in the program is assigned a letter and a handler – Evan is Orphan X. For the sake of deniability, none of these orphans ‘exist’ in the eyes of the government.

As might be expected, the program is being shut down, but what with all of their training, resources and skills, the only people who can decommission and eliminate the orphans are themselves. Evan decides to go rogue and slips into the shadows as the legendary Nowhere Man, helping those in desperate situations with nowhere to turn. However, there is someone out there who wants Evan dead, and who will go to any lengths to see it happen.

To avoid giving away any spoilers, I will simply add that in this book, a newly retired Evan gets a call for help from someone he could have never expected – a woman who claims to have put him up for adoption…. his mother.

This novel is written in third person perspective. Gregg Hurwitz develops this story through Evan’s interactions, the events that occur and occasional flashbacks from his childhood. Evan is the perfect main character – strong morals, very likeable, consistent, intelligent, skilled, and tenacious. I have found myself very attached to him and hoping for his well-being, along with the other supporting characters in this series!

“Prodigal Son” continues in the pattern of the Orphan X series, displaying an intricate plotline and eliciting strong emotions from the reader. On par with Hurwitz’s other thrillers, “Prodigal Son” will leave you at the edge of your seat to the very last page… literally. This novel ended on a crazy cliff-hanger and I am anxious to see what happens next!

The interesting thing that I noticed as an avid reader of the series is that Hurwitz has taken a slightly different approach in writing style for “Prodigal Son.” Whereas in previous novels Hurwitz’s lead character Evan Smoak does not show emotion (“never make it personal” is one of his commandments), in this story Hurwitz takes a leap with his character development. He begins to give readers a lot more insight into Evan’s inner feelings, using poetic and deep language to convey emotion. Accompanied by Hurwitz’s exposure to a different side of Evan is the use of more informal language throughout the novel compared to the preceding novels.

In this story, readers get to see Evan experience his most ‘personal’ mission ever, bringing up unresolved past wounds.

Overall, “Prodigal Son” is a fantastic book, fulfilling my expectations and keeping me in suspense all the way through. I would recommend this series to anybody, but especially people who enjoy action-packed thrillers. I cannot wait to see what comes next for Evan Smoak!Rating – 5 / 5 (Because 10 / 5 is not an option ☺)