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Out of the Dark: An Orphan X Novel

Review

Out of the Dark: An Orphan X Novel

OUT OF THE DARK will singe your hair from the moment you crack its binding. This latest installment in Gregg Hurwitz’s Orphan X series reveals yet another heretofore hidden aspect of its protagonist’s past. Meanwhile, in the present, he is both hunted and hunter, creating an atmospheric, action-filled tale in which the suspense level is ratcheted up past 11. Hurwitz gives us what are basically two novels in one, played out on different ends of the United States. At the same time --- and without breaking pacing --- he provides just enough information about Orphan X and the Orphan Program to quickly bring the uninitiated up to speed.

The main story concerns a cat-and-mouse chase between Evan Smoak (Orphan X) and Jonathan Bennett, a career politician and the President of the United States. It was Bennett who, as an undersecretary at the Department of Defense, had overseen the Orphan Program and given Evan and others their mission orders. After rising through the government ranks and being elected President, Bennett has begun to systematically eradicate every trace of the Program, with Evan as his primary target. Bennett is utilizing Judd Holt (Orphan A) for this purpose. Evan is equally, if not more, eager to take Bennett off the map. While he goes after the President, Holt and the Secret Service pursue him.

"OUT OF THE DARK will singe your hair from the moment you crack its binding.... The action, suspense and character development [here] are more than enough to warrant your time and attention..."

Hurwitz offers a new definition of broken-field running out of the dark as he places Evan in mortal danger on any number of occasions and lets him find his way out. There is also plenty of insider intelligence with regard to the inner workings of the Secret Service and the defensive mechanisms in place to protect the life of the President, all of which make Evan’s goal seemingly unattainable. The revelations would slow down the pace of the book in lesser hands, but Hurwitz never missteps and incorporates the details into the narrative so cleverly that it actually speeds things up.

Evan spends a bit of time off the page traveling between Washington, D.C. and his home base of Los Angeles, where he is helping a young man named Trevon Gaines, who has inadvertently run afoul of Russell Gadds, a cruel and ruthless crime lord who appears to be untouchable. As punishment, Gadds has wiped out Gaines’ entire family except for his sister, who is doing relief work abroad. The ticking clock here is set by her return to the United States. Gadds has promised to kill her when she arrives, so it becomes crucial for Evan to cut Gadds’ strings before her plane lands.

Gaines, who is struggling with an insurmountable loss superimposed on a neurological condition that affects his ability to deal with folks, has a basic goodness and decency about him that make him a sympathetic character even without the tragedy that has befallen him. As busy as he is, Evan cannot refuse the young man when he contacts him and tells him his tragic story. Evan has to balance the professional and the personal on opposite sides of the country with almost no chance of fulfilling either goal. Witnessing Evan’s attempts to resolve both matters will keep you reading as quickly as you can right up to the last breathless page while anticipating the next installment.

The action, suspense and character development in OUT OF THE DARK are more than enough to warrant your time and attention, but Hurwitz supplies a bit of lagniappe just for grins and giggles. Those interested in recommendations for some top-shelf adult beverages will find several to add to their lists, carefully curated and no doubt lovingly sampled by the author. The same applies to the catalog of high-grade weaponry that Evan grimly utilizes for defensive response and truculent attack during the course of his daily activities. His difficulties with personal relationships will certainly carry over into future books.

Speaking of which, if Trevon Gaines were to make more appearances down the road, well, that wouldn’t be a bad thing at all.

Reviewed by Joe Hartlaub on January 29, 2019

Out of the Dark: An Orphan X Novel
by Gregg Hurwitz

  • Publication Date: January 29, 2019
  • Genres: Fiction, Suspense, Thriller
  • Hardcover: 400 pages
  • Publisher: Minotaur Books
  • ISBN-10: 125012042X
  • ISBN-13: 9781250120427