Prodigal Son: Book summary and reviews of Prodigal Son by Gregg Hurwitz

Prodigal Son

Orphan X #6

by Gregg Hurwitz

Prodigal Son by Gregg Hurwitz X
Prodigal Son by Gregg Hurwitz
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  • Published in USA  Jan 2021
    432 pages
    Genre: Thrillers

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Book Summary

Forced into retirement, Evan Smoak gets an urgent request for help from someone he didn't even suspect existed - in Prodigal Son, the next New York Times bestselling Orphan X book from Gregg Hurwitz.

As a boy, Evan Smoak was pulled out of a foster home and trained in an off-the-books operation known as the Orphan Program. He was a government assassin, perhaps the best, known to a few insiders as Orphan X. He eventually broke with the Program and adopted a new name―The Nowhere Man―and a new mission, helping the most desperate in their times of trouble. But the highest power in the country has made him a tempting offer―in exchange for an unofficial pardon, he must stop his clandestine activities as The Nowhere Man. Now Evan has to do the one thing he's least equipped to do―live a normal life.

But then he gets a call for help from the one person he never expected. A woman claiming to have given him up for adoption, a woman he never knew―his mother. Her unlikely request: help Andrew Duran―a man whose life has gone off the rails, who was in the wrong place at the wrong time, bringing him to the deadly attention of very powerful figures. Now a brutal brother & sister assassination team are after him and with no one to turn to, and no safe place to hide, Evan is Duran's only option. But when the hidden cabal catches on to what Evan is doing, everything he's fought for is on the line―including his own life.

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Reviews

Media Reviews

"One hell of a series...Nuanced and energetic, this is a great thriller." - Booklist (starred review)

"[E]ngrossing...The pacing is breathtakingly brisk throughout, and the action is relentless...This series continues to impress." - Publishers Weekly

"Exhilarating pabulum for action fans weary of heroes who bother to maintain social lives." - Kirkus Reviews

"Fans of Tom Clancy or Lee Child will love this latest installment of the Orphan X series by Hurwitz, which offers twists and turns, danger and adrenaline, and gadgetry worthy of James Bond. There is an underlying examination of the meaning of family that lends extra depth to the book." - Library Journal

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Reader Reviews

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Cloggie Downunder

More please, Mr Hurwitz!
Prodigal Son is the sixth book in the Orphan X series by best-selling American author, Gregg Hurwitz. Now retired from his Nowhere Man role, Evan Smoak is disturbed by a persistent caller: “Evan, it’s your mother.”

He’s highly sceptical, but ultimately, can’t resist verifying, so he heads to Buenos Aires where, indeed, he meets a woman he believes to be what she claims. Veronica LeGrande wants him to help someone, but when he makes a cursory investigation, he barely survives an attack by a Hellfire missile. And he begins to wonder if coming out of retirement will end up voiding his unofficial Presidential pardon.

Andrew Duran’s life has been no picnic, and now a series of bad luck incidents finds him penniless, estranged from his daughter and her mother, and on the run from people he believes are out to kill him. In his poorly paid position watching over an impound lot, he has witnessed a murder without seeing the killer, but he is certain he is now a target.

Having neatly escaped the missile, Evan’s next stop is his personal tech expert, Joey Morales, interrupting the “normal” life he’s insisting she try to live. Together they research the victim and gradually uncover a disturbing situation: they are dealing with someone powerful and dangerous.

When Evan tracks down the man he’s meant to be helping, the reception is hostile, but he soon realises that he recognises Andrew Duran from his youth. Before long, both are the target of a nasty pair of siblings employed to do “wet work”

In this instalment, Joey’s prodigious tech talents are useful in gaining entry to three secure facilities, for one of which she tags along. Crashing a party (and rescuing a teen from a sexual predator) are in the mix. And of course, TommyStojack comes up with some nifty hardware when needed.

The interactions between Evan and Joey are always entertaining, and as usual, the dialogue is often darkly funny:
“Evan said, ‘Is that a bread knife?’
Duran regarded it. ‘Steak knife, I think.’
‘No,’ Evan said. ’I’m pretty sure it’s a bread knife. That curved end is gonna give you problems unless you plan to saw me to death.’
Duran considered. ‘Maybe I’ll just nick you and let you die of tetanus in five months.’”

Flashbacks to Evan’s youth at the Group Home give the reader some more detail of his selection into the Orphan Program, and Hurwitz also challenges him with a raft of emotions he’s unaccustomed to dealing with.

If every book in this series is replete with hi-tech devices, this one, featuring AI, autonomous weapons and microdrones, is especially so. Evan gets a tour of an AI development lab and is witness to some jaw-droppingly scary tech adaptations, especially when there are glitches in ethical adaptor software. And the concept of “outsourcing the negative emotion associated with killing so our soldiers don’t have to feel it” is certainly unsettling.

Suspension of disbelief is needed, but once again, plenty of action, injuries too numerous to tally, a body count of eighteen, several exciting climaxes and one helluva cliff-hanger ending. More please, Mr Hurwitz.

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Author Information

Gregg Hurwitz Author Biography

Gregg Hurwitz is the New York Times, #1 internationally bestselling author of 21 thrillers, including Into the Fire (January 2020), and two award-winning thriller novels for teens. His novels have won numerous literary awards, graced top ten lists, and have been published in 32 languages.

Gregg has written screenplays for or sold spec scripts to many of the major studios (including The Book of Henry), and written, developed, and produced television for various networks. He is also a New York Times bestselling comic book writer, having penned stories for Marvel (Wolverine, Punisher) and DC (Batman, Penguin). He has published numerous academic articles on Shakespeare, taught fiction writing in the USC English Department, and guest lectured for UCLA, and for Harvard in the United States ...

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