Book review: Into the Fire by Gregg Hurwitz

Tuesday, January 21, 2020 Permalink

It’s no secret I love this Orphan X series although I’m kinda astounded we’re up to the fifth book already. As each year rolls around and a new adventure appears in my mailbox I have to go back over past reviews to remember exactly what happened in the previous outing. And weirdly, I’m always a book or two out. This time around I’d completely forgotten the plot of book 4 and was thinking we were picking up after book 3. I suspect I’m in denial about the fact this might ultimately come to an end.

Having said that, it really doesn’t matter when you enter this series as Hurwitz does a great job of effortlessly easing new readers into the world of Orphan X. The Nowhere Man.

Book review: Into the Fire by Gregg HurwitzInto the Fire
by Gregg Hurwitz
Series: Orphan X #5
Published by Michael Joseph
on 03/03/2020
Source: Penguin Random House Australia
Genres: Thriller / Suspense
ISBN: 071818551X
Pages: 400

Max Merriweather is at the end of his rope. Separated from the woman he loves and barely scraping by, Max is a disappointment to everyone in his life. Then his very successful cousin Grant is brutally murdered.

Two months before, Grant left Max an envelope with instructions to take it to a reporter if anything happened to him. Now the reporter is missing and Max’s apartment is ransacked. A man at the end of his rope, he calls The Nowhere Man.

With mixed feelings, Evan takes on this mission, easily finding the men who are after Max and executing a plan to keep him safe. But it isn’t as obvious as it seems—and Evan finds himself enmeshed in one of the most challenging missions of his life.

So… I’d forgotten the story arc that shaped this series kinda ended in book four. And I for one am happy about that… cos they often drag on longer than they need to. I mean, I know it’s handy to have something simmering along in the background… something bigger, something worse, something more personal, something more dangerous (murdered parents, childhood trauma, sordid pasts). But…. sometimes it gets old.

Evan killed off his ultimate arch-nemesis in the last book of the series (oops, sorry #spoileralert), suggesting he’s a free man. Although he’s now pondering what that means….

Now that Evan was no longer running from something, he’d started to wonder where he was running to. Lately he felt worn down, bone-tired. More and more, questions were arising from some deep-buried place.

How much atonement is enough?

How much longer could he forge through the refuse-choked alleys of cities, staring down eyes as black as the abyss, souls clouded with sick attentions?

Would he just keep going until he was holding down a slab at the morgue?

At some point had he earned enough of himself back to deserve something better? p 17

I often moan about books featuring two (or more cases, which magically come together) and this series usually does because of the whole Orphan X backstory vs Nowhere Man thing, however this time it’s one case only. Basically.

And it’s certainly juicy enough to keep readers interested. On one level it seems pretty straightforward. But of course it isn’t. Like many of his ‘Nowhere Man’ clients, Max is likeable and his character was engaging and interesting, offering complexity completely unrelated to the plot… but rather his own baggage.

And of course Evan brings in my fave (young Joey and Orphan program drop-out and hacker extraordinaire). I love her relationship with Evan and that continues to evolve here. We also again meet some of Evan’s neighbours including DA Mia and her son Peter. There’s been a simmering attraction between Evan and Mia but he’s conscious that his background would really put a dampener on any relationship.

In this outing however – for the first time – their worlds collide.

Although these books are action-packed, Hurwitz continues to introduce weightier elements. It really came up in the last book as Evan realised his mentor attempted to instil in him some humanity that other Orphans weren’t offered. And it’s this part of his ‘self’ he’s been attempting to grow.

Things get a little convoluted at the end but it’s satisfying. Hurwitz again introduces all sorts of weaponry – guns as well as high tech security Evan justifiably deploys to protect his lair, and the detail of those elements are mind-blowing. I suspect those with knowledge of that kind of stuff would nod contentedly/knowingly at the research Hurwitz undertakes.

This series is steaming along nicely and Hurwitz continues to mix it up. I think I’d be frustrated by now if Evan, the former cold-blooded assassin-developing-a-conscience was still fighting other Orphans and hiding from ‘the world outside’ while attempting to unearth his humanity.

So roll on 2021 and the next in the series. *drums fingers impatiently*

Into the Fire by Gregg Hurwitz will be published in Australia by Penguin Random House and available from early March 2020. However the book is also released in other markets in late January, so I’m posting this a little early.

I received an advance copy of this book from the publisher for review purposes. 


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