Crime & Beyond Wiki

Hello all,

Great May discussion of Orphan X by Gregg Hurwitz. Lorraine introduced us to this book at one of the book swap parties and we finally got around to discussing it at a club level. It got rave reviews from the majority of us, and that says a lot since 22 people weighed in. Here’s what the book was about:

Evan Smoak is a man with skills, resources, and a personal mission to help those with nowhere else to turn. He’s also a man with a dangerous past. Chosen as a child, he was raised and trained as an Orphan, an off-the-books black box program designed to create the perfect deniable intelligence asset: An assassin. Evan was Orphan X―until he broke with the program and used everything he learned to disappear. But now someone is on his tail. Someone with similar skills and training who will exploit Evan’s secret new identity as the Nowhere Man to eliminate him.

This is the first in a series featuring Evan Smoak and Warner Bros. has purchased the film rights and it looks like Bradley Cooper will play Evan. Hurwitz will write the screenplay, so hopefully the movie will follow the book more closely than most.

On the whole, we LOVED the book. The scores were: One 10+, three 10s, two 9.5s, six 9s, four 8.5s, three 8s, one 7, one 5, and one 3.5. We decided that Evan Smoak did not resemble Jack Reacher, but instead was a cross between Jason Bourne and Ghostman. Here are some comments heard around the table.

Kerry, Jose, Dave, Denise, Raj, Chris and Lorraine loved it.
Gail thought it was too technical and had to suspend her disbelief.
Deborah couldn’t say she loved it, but she liked it a lot and Jay concurred.
Janice and Kelly merely enjoyed it.
Sharon L. thought it was guyish (since her score was 9.5 that was not a bad thing).
Janine was heard to say, “this book pissed me off.” (guess who gave it a 3.5?)
Kim thought Evan had class, so nothing like Reacher.
Jeff thought it was very similar to other books we’ve read.
Bruce read the book in one sitting and Dennis also thought it was a page turner.
Terri said it was no Baldacci or Grisham.

Many noted the comparison to comic book superheroes. The author has written quite a few comic books, so this wasn’t a stretch. Jose and Kelly (our new member) saw a lot of comparisons to comic characters, their superpowers and their drive to do good.

We liked Evan, but also ended up discussing a lot of the other character. We liked Jack and how he raised Evan. We loved Peter and his balloons that he sent up to Evan’s apartment. Lorraine was so inspired that the snack she brought to the club were cookies shaped like the balloons and were attached to notes that Peter sent like “Bad men are here.”

Some of the characters that got the slap vote were Mia, Katrin and Candy. Your vocabulary word of the day is: Steganography - the practice of concealing a file, message, image, or video within another file, message, image, or video. The word steganography combines the Greek words steganos, meaning "covered, concealed, or protected", and graphein meaning "writing.” This was how the bad guys communicated.

A couple of side notes, the floating bed in the book actually does exist and I’m sure everyone is running out to purchase one.

The quotes in Mia’s apartment were from Jordan Peterson. The Commandments that Jack taught Evan weren’t complete, but included:

1. Assume Nothing
3. Master Your Surroundings
4. Never Make it Personal (Evan struggled with this one)
6. Question Orders
7. One Mission at a Time
9. Always Play Offense
10. Never Let an Innocent Die
12. Any Means Necessary

Lorraine also unveiled her Crime & Beyond Time Capsule, which is a 60-ounce cocktail shaker (an ode to the martinis served at the Christmas party) decorated by Lorraine with all kinds of cool stuff (including the bullet on top). It is the perfect size to fill with lots of quotes, photos, and fun stuff. Anyone is welcome to put something in the capsule. I have already put 3 things inside, but you’ll have to wait to see what they are. We plan to open it up at the 2018 Christmas party and look inside as a group. It will bring back lots of memories and no doubt be very amusing as we relive the funny things that happen during club. Just remember, what happens in book club stays in book club—or gets put into the book club time capsule.

Thanks to Lorraine for everything you do for the club. Jeff’s official title is Webmaster. I think Lorraine’s new title is Artistic Director. I’m happy to say that now we’re a book club with a Wiki page AND a time capsule. We really rock!

Next Month we will discuss The Black Widow by Daniel Silva. There is a copy at the library that is up for grabs.

Here is a trailer to The Book of Henry, the movie that comes out on 6/16 that Gregg Hurwitz wrote. It looks awesome!

THE BOOK OF HENRY - Official Trailer - In Theaters June 16