Out of the Dark, book 4 of Gregg Hurwitz’s Orphan X series seemed to wrap things up in a bow. Hero Evan Smoak had discovered the hidden secrets from his past and killed the man responsible (a man who just happened to be the President of the United States). At the start of Into the Fire, Smoak has decided that with his past behind him, he will also give up the mantle of the Nowhere Man, a persona that he developed to help people in trouble. Of course, before doing that he needs to complete one more job.
The very cold open involves the killing of Grant Merriweather, but before he dies he gives up the name of his cousin Max. It turns out that Greg is a forensic auditor and has entrusted Max with information to take to the media in case of his death. But before he can do that Max finds himself the target of a hitman and while on the run finds his way to Evan Smoak’s number and becomes the client for Smoak’s last case.
Into the Fire is a Russian doll of a novel. Every time Smoak thinks he has cut the head off the organisation that is targeting Max he finds another level deeper. And each time he goes deeper the level of difficulty for him goes up, this includes spending half the book battling a concussion which throws off his balance and timing. But Smoak will be Smoak, backing himself in a range of increasingly dangerous situations including being dropped into the middle of a dog fight and infiltrating (and then escaping from) a prison to kill one of his targets. This is, as always, suspend-your-disbelief and sit back and enjoy action from a master of this genre.
Through all this Smoak continues, slowly, on his journey to become a normal human being, a theme that underlies all of the books in this series. He continues to mentor the trainee orphan, computer hacker-whizz teenager he took on a couple of books back. His relationship with neighbour Mia goes cold and then becomes more complicated as he tries to help out his other neighbours in the only way he knows how. And he has to grapple with the real concept that shortly he will stop doing the only thing he has been trained all of his life to do.
Into the Fire is another great entry in this ongoing action series. Unsurprisingly, in the age of prestige streaming TV, it is also in development as a TV series. And not to disappoint fans too much, Hurwitz leaves a little bit dangling to set things up for a possible action-packed future.
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