Featured Review: ‘Into the Fire’ by Gregg Hurwitz

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Into the FireFollowing the 2019 blockbuster hit Out of the Dark, Evan Smoak—aka Orphan X—returns in the latest high-octane thriller from New York Times bestselling author Gregg Hurwitz. 

His last job was one for the ages. Now, following intense blowback and years of being hunted by the very government that once plucked him from an orphanage as a boy and turned him into a skilled, calculated killer, Evan Smoak wants to retire. But what is retirement for a guy like Evan, who broke from the Orphan Program and went on to become a feared vigilante known as the Nowhere Man? 

That is the question he grapples with here, and when his roam zone rings yet again, another desperate soul on the other end begging for help, Evan intends to make this mission his final one . . .

Of course, nothing is ever that easy in the life of Evan Smoak, who once again finds himself outnumbered and up against the odds. 

Max Merriweather has nowhere to go. Previously, his cousin Grant, a forensic accountant, gave him an envelope containing a flash drive with instructions to hand everything over to a media contact should anything ever happen to him—which, of course, it does. Someone, after first appearing to try and save Grant’s life following a serious car accident that leaves him unconscious, ends up killing him in the hospital. Then they take out the LA Times reporter who was supposed to take the envelope.

Suddenly, Max fears for his life and turns to the Nowhere Man for help. 

Evan, unable to turn his back on Max, jumps in to lend a hand—but when he and Joey Morales, his smart-talking sixteen-year-old protegee, discover that Grant’s flash drive contains detailed readouts regarding various criminal records, he inadvertently finds himself sucked into LA’s dark underworld, where danger awaits him at each and every turn. Complicating matters further is Evan’s inability to respond physically the way he’s used to after sustaining a series of concussions that leaves him battling troubling symptoms on top of the bad guys. 

With any hope of retirement put on hold until he’s able to save Max and make sense of the information in their possession, Evan must first run through yet another gauntlet of dangerous adversaries to save the day. But this time, with everything working against him and the clock rapidly ticking down, he realizes he may have met finally met his match. 

Hurwitz, who continues his impressive run of top-notch thrillers here, delivers a brilliant setup that, in a way, resets his series following the events of Out of the Dark. Truth is, that book closed a major arc, and with no way to top the scope of that story (can you tell we’re trying to avoid spoilers?) or raise the stakes any higher, Hurwitz did the next best thing by taking Evan back to ground zero. Orphan X finally found the answers he’d spent years searching for, but that doesn’t make him any safer. Especially when his life as the Nowhere Man piles on, forcing Evan to, for the first time, seriously consider stepping away from the action. 

Of course, readers will hope Evan Smoak—who has emerged as one of the genre’s premier heroes alongside the likes of Mitch Rapp, Scot Harvath, and Jack Reacher—waits a bit longer to hang up the roam zone, and with Hurwitz continuing to find creative ways to use his star protagonist, the sky is the limit for this franchise moving forward. Bottom line: if you aren’t yet reading this series, start. 

Think John Wick meets The Bourne Identity . . . Gregg Hurwitz pulls off another daring, action-packed thrill ride with Into the Fire, one of his strongest novels to date and a major player for best thriller of the year.

Book Details

Author: Gregg Hurwitz 
Series: Orphan X #5
Pages: 400 (Hardcover)
ISBN: 1250120454
Publisher: Minotaur Books
Release Date: January 29, 2020
Book Spy Rating: 9.0/10

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Praised as “One of the hardest working, most thoughtful, and fairest reviewers out there” by #1 New York Times bestselling author Lisa Scottoline, Ryan Steck 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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