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Prodigal Son: An Orphan X Novel    by Gregg Hurwitz order for
Prodigal Son
by Gregg Hurwitz
Order:  USA  Can
Minotaur, 2021 (2021)
Hardcover, CD, e-Book
* * *   Reviewed by Hilary Williamson

Prodigal Son follows Into the Fire as the sixth in Gregg Hurwitz's spectacular thriller series starring Evan Smoak. Selected as a child for the U.S. black Orphan program training assassins, Evan deserted to become the legendary Nowhere Man. He used his training to help people in desperate need.

However, as Prodigal Son opens, Evan is trying to become Mr. Ordinary - in fact his presidential pardon depends on his doing so. That's interrupted when the mother he doesn't remember contacts him, asking him to help Andrew Duran. The latter was in the wrong place at the wrong time, sending him on the run from a vicious (brother-sister) assassination team.

The story moves back and forth in time, revealing facets of Evan's childhood, plus friends and foe in foster care - and how he was enlisted in the Orphan program - never seen before. Evan meets his mother, Veronica LeGrande, in Buenos Aires (where she's dating the minister of foreign relations).

Evan starts to help Duran and, as readers know by now, he's very, very good at what he does (Joey helps when hacking is needed). He survives repeated attacks. Someone is very serious. It all centers on a secret microdrone program, the new focus of mutually assured destruction.

To save Duran, Evan not only needs Joey's help, but also that of Orphan V, Candy McClure, who's also 'Out in the cold' and missing action. There's certainly action a plenty in the sizzling conclusion to Prodigal Son! It ends on a cliffhanger that leaves readers keen for what will come next.

Audiobook Review:

Scott Brick narrates this thriller masterfully. He covers Evan's childhood encounters with the Mystery Man and his discovery of the reality of the urban legend surrounding him.

These dialogues alternate with the modern day, often over-the-top action. Brick's voices change nicely between Duran, the foster kids, the assassin siblings, and of course Evan himself, his mother, Peter, Mia and Joey (my favorite character). The characters' emotions, e.g. Duran's despair, come across vehemently.

As always with audiobooks, I find it a totally different experience listening than reading, offering a new perspective on the story and its characters. Even if you've already read the book, you'll enjoy hearing it as well.

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