Looking for a thriller book series you won't want to put down? Learn how to read the Orphan X books in order and get your fix of mystery, action, and betrayal.

Table of Contents

Orphan X books in order

Packed with action, adventure, twists, and turns that will keep you on the edge of your seat, the Orphan X series has deservedly become a fan favorite worldwide. The main protagonist, Evan Smoak, has been compared to the likes of Jason Bourne, Jack Ryan, and Jack Reacher, which is pretty awesome company to keep.

If you’re looking for a new thriller series to get hooked on, we’ll show you how to read this New York Times bestselling book series in order.

Orphan X books and short stories

So far, the author Gregg Hurwitz has published seven novels and three short stories, with the eighth novel hitting the bookshelves in 2013. Let’s explore each title in more detail.

1. Orphan X (2016)

Evan Smoak is a lone wolf passionate about helping those with nowhere else to turn. He also has a dark past coming back to haunt him.

At 12, he was kidnapped from a group home to become a part of the Orphan Program, a top-secret project training ruthless government assassins.

The training turns Evan into a deadly weapon. However, he uses his acquired skills to escape the program and disappear without a trace.

He becomes The Nowhere Man, a legendary figure helping vulnerable people without asking for anything in return.

But it turns out he can’t hide forever as the Orphan Program manages to track him down with a single goal – to eliminate him.

2. Buy a Bullet (2016) (short story)

The Nowhere Man has earned legendary status for helping those less fortunate. But how did it all begin? Follow as Evan Smoak, previously known as Orphan X, completes his first mission as The Nowhere Man. He helps a young woman escape from the clutches of a violent yet powerful man.

3. The Nowhere Man (2017)

Evan might have impressive skills and resources, but he lacks one crucial thing – luck. He gets ambushed, drugged, and locked in a room somewhere. He might not know who has captured him, but he does know he must escape.

Follow along as Evan tries to piece together what happened to him and outwit his captors, so he can protect the ones whose lives depend on him.

4. Hellbent (2017)

One thing set Evan apart from all the other trainees under the Orphan Program: the bond he developed with his handler, Jack Johns. To everyone else, he was a nameless killing machine, but to Jack, he was always just a boy named Evan who was dealt a bad hand.

Seeing him as a father figure, Evan is hell-bent on protecting Jack after the government goes after him.

5. The Intern (2018) (short story)

A local tabloid news site intern decides to trail an aggressive reporter into a crime zone, which turns out to be a bad decision. When things go terribly wrong, the only one who can help her is The Nowhere Man.

6. Out of the Dark (2019)

Desperate to scrap any trace of the Orphan Program, the highest government officials start killing off all the remaining deniable intelligence assets and their mentors. Naturally, Evan and Jack’s names are high on this kill list.

After losing Jack, Evan decides to go after the man behind the Orphan Program – none other than the President of the United States.

7. Into the Fire (2020)

Max Merriweather gets clear instructions from his cousin Grant on what to do if he ends up dead – take the envelope he received to a local reporter. But now Grant is brutally murdered, and the reporter is nowhere to be found. So, Max does the only thing he can think of: call The Nowhere Man.

Evan takes on the mission but soon realizes he can’t survive it alone. So, he enlists the help of Joey Morales, a fellow Orphan who knows a thing or two about hacking, and Tommy Stojack, a brilliant gunsmith. Together, they head straight into the fire.

8. The List (2020) (short story)

Evan’s associate, Joey Morales, tries to prevent a young woman from committing suicide but unfortunately fails. Joey quickly discovers the reason behind this suicide attempt – a document called “The List,” ranking women on campus based on their sexual performance.

Now it’s Joey’s turn to ask for help from Evan. They team up to uncover the men behind “The List” and make them pay.

9. Prodigal Son (2021)

Evan accepts the government’s offer to cease his activities as The Nowhere Man in exchange for an unofficial pardon. However, then he gets a call from an unexpected person – his mother. She urges him to take on a new mission and help Andrew Duran, a target of a brutal duo of assassins.  

10. Dark Horse (2022)

Although he is a kingpin of a major drug-dealing operation, Aragon Urrea is beloved in South Texas for helping the downtrodden. When a vicious cartel kidnaps his daughter, he turns to The Nowhere Man. Although reluctant to take on a new mission, Evan sets off to rescue the girl from an impregnable fortress.

About the author

The New York Times bestselling author Gregg Hurwitz has over 20 crime thriller novels under his belt, including the Orphan X series. His novels have been translated into 33 languages and have won multiple awards.

Besides writing international bestsellers, Hurwitz has an extensive list of writing credits to his name. Among other impressive achievements, he has written many Batman and The Penguin comic books for DC and WolverinePunisher, and Moon Knight volumes for Marvel.

Currently, he resides in Los Angeles and serves as the co-president of the International Thriller Writers organization.

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In what order do I read Orphan X books?

Since Gregg Hurwitz’s Orphan X series builds upon itself to a large extent, you should read Orphan X books in chronological order. The only exception is the Buy a Bullet short story that takes place before the events of the first book in the series.

Will there be an Orphan X book 8?

There will be an Orphan X book 8 titled The Last Orphan. The hardcover edition of the book is expected to come out in 2023. You can purchase it on Amazon.

Why is the series called Orphan X?

The series is called Orphan X after the code name that the main character received as part of the off-the-books operation known as the Orphan Program.

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