The Last Orphan
Published February 14th, 2023
The Last Orphan is the eighth book in the Orphan X series about Evan Smoak, a retired assassin who atones for his past by undertaking high risk missions to protect the vulnerable from dangerous predators. I’ve read them all in order, but this one was the first we’ve listened to as an audiobook: my hubby had no problem picking up the story, as you get all the relevant background. I liked it more than the last one (Dark Horse), but it’s still missing the Wow factor of the earlier books.
When Evan is captured by government agents, the president offers him an ultimatum – go after a powerful political fixer, Luke Devine, who’s affecting her chances of getting an important environmental bill passed, or she’ll revoke his pardon. Doubting his abilities for the first time, he agrees only to check the story out, discovering that the man is linked to the murder of a young actor at a party at his Southampton mansion. As Evan meets up with witnesses, he encounters Divine’s security team, who always seem to be a step ahead of him. Is the Nowhere Man losing his touch or has he finally met his match?
This one has Evan facing up to a new vulnerable side – so it’s lucky that he has hilarious but deadly Candy and snarky but loyal Joey on his team. The villains here are particularly nasty, and there’s a torture scene that I found gratuitously disturbing – of course this makes it more satisfying when Evan metes out his own brand of justice, but it went over the line of what I’m comfortable reading about.
I always enjoy the humour and digressions in these books; my husband complained about the excessive scene descriptions – not something I’d noticed previously and while I know what he means, it didn’t bother me as much. Narrator Scott Brick does a good job with the various voices, and as a bonus the audiobook features a conversation between the author and fellow bestselling thriller writer Lisa Gardner which is worth a listen. 3.5 rounded up for great action scenes and the delightful interactions between X and his friends.