OUT OF THE DARK: Five Questions with Gregg Hurwitz

Gregg Hurwitz author photo


Since he kicked off his new series in 2016, you’d be hard pressed to find a better thriller franchise going today than Gregg Hurwitz’s Orphan X books.

Now, four books later, Hurwitz’s character, Evan Smoak, is one of the best heroes in the genre . . . and just when it looked like this series couldn’t get any better, Hurwitz pulled the rug out from under readers’ feet with a massive, jaw-dropping reveal in last year’s Hellbent that sets up the biggest, most dangerous, most impossible mission of Smoak’s career. 

In my January 2019 CrimeReads column, I wrote that Out of the Dark is the book Gregg Hurwitz will be remembered for, and I stand by that statement. Everything that’s happened over the last three novels has been leading to this, and he delivers in a big way. 

Thankfully, Hurwitz agreed to go back on the record for our Five Questions segment this year, and I asked him about everything from how he’ll ever top himself after this to whether or not there’s a movie update he could offer. See the full Q&A below, then make sure to grab a copy of Out of the Dark, the latest action-packed Orphan X novel, in stores January 29th. 


TRBS: Without giving anything away . . . this book is amazing. You really outdid yourself! The last three books have all been building to this one. But did you always know that? Did you plan from the very beginning to eventually write this book?

Hurwitz: “I did. I knew where it was aiming. If you go back and read the first three books you’ll see a lot of bread crumbs leading the way to Out of the Dark.”

TRBS: With the way Hellbent ended, the stakes were obviously much higher heading into this book. Was Out of the Dark intimidating to write, and what kind of research did you have to do before actually sitting down to write it? 

Hurwitz: “I did a lot of research into the Secret Service and security measures at and around the presidency. This book has so many moving parts and subplots that it should have been hugely intimidating to write but it was actually—bizarrely—a breeze. I’ve had maybe three novels in my career (out of twenty) that I wrote my way through without a hitch and this was one of them. I have no idea why that’s the case. And man I wish it were true for the rest!”

TRBS: Who are some of your favorite authors, and what was the last great book that you read?

Hurwitz: “Too many to name. There’s so much great work out there. I’ll go back to my favorite trinity of writers: William Faulkner, Stephen King, Thomas Harris.

“The last great book I read was The Untethered Soul. It’s about living inside our bodies and our minds and the world—three danger zones we all need help navigating. It helped me break frame to see myself and the way I orient myself in the world in a different fashion. I’d put this on the mindful awareness/meditation track that Orphan X is always practicing in order to better himself.”

TRBS: I read a while back that the Oprhan X movie may have hit a snag. Are there any updates you can share with us? 

Hurwitz: “Nothing big yet. But plans are being laid.”

TRBS: Lastly, what could possibly be next for Orphan X, and when can readers expect to see him again?

Hurwitz: “Orphan X needs to seriously regroup after Out of the Dark. It is the biggest mission of his life—and maybe the biggest mission he’ll ever attempt. I think he’ll need some time off drinking vodka and figuring out his place in the universe. But I have a feeling he might be ready to return to the stage sometime around Jan 29, 2020.”


Praised as “one of today’s finest book reviewers” by New York Times bestselling author Gayle Lynds, Ryan Steck (“The Godfather of the thriller genre” — Ben Coes) has “quickly established himself as the authority on mysteries and thrillers” (Author A.J. Tata). Steck also works full-time as a freelance editor and pens a monthly thriller column for CrimeReads. For more information, be sure to follow him on Twitter and Facebook. He currently lives in Southwest Michigan with his wife and their six children.

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