There certainly are a lot of lone-wolf good guy/ gal, PI, do-gooder, antihero, vigilante types out there in the thriller world. Dark pasts, inner demons, trying to find closure for all the pain, trying to right all the wrongs… They’re our guilty pleasures, the ones we root for, the ones who expose the secret government programs and all those other conspiracies: Bourne, Salander, Reacher, Hawk… the list goes on. Evan Smoak from Gregg Hurwitz’s Orphan X series is a new character of the genre, but one that has made quite an impression. An orphan trained and active as a secret agent until he tires of the game and goes rogue. He moves underground, relocates to Los Angeles and gives out his phone number to help people in trouble: 1-855-2-NOWHERE. He becomes The Nowhere Man.
The Orphan X series continues at its lightening pace with Hellbent. When his original handler and trainer Jack John calls him in trouble and asking for forgiveness, Evan knows that something is wrong. His arch-enemy Charles Van Scriver has tracked down Jack in an effort to flush Evan out. Van Scriver is now the head of the Orphan program and Evan is a loose end, someone who knows too much about the Orphan program. Jack leaves Evan a clue to find a lost Orphan, a young woman named Joey who is both an asset and liability for the reclusive Good Samaritan.
Many of the recurring characters from the first two Orphan books make appearances in Hellbent: Mia the DA and her son Peter from downstairs, Melinda the art-restoring counterfeiter. They help to move Evan’s character forward a bit. And there’s an interesting Nowhere Man case imbedded in the story. As usual, Hurwitz’s writing is detailed in all things tech, and military strategy; his action sequences from hand-to-hand to small arms to full-scale car chases are as exciting as ever.
Hellbent is the best of genre. A morally straight and mindful Smoak taking on a sidekick in an effort to face off with Van Scriver in an ultimate game of cat and mouse. This one is good as a stand alone, but even better with the perspective of reading the full series. I highly recommend you pick up the Orphan X series today.
5 out of 5 stars
Thank you to NetGalley, St. Martin’s Press, Minotaur Books, and Mr. Hurwitz for the copy for review.