hellbent“Hellbent” by Gregg Hurwitz is the third in his Orphan X series. I enjoyed the previous books, and this is the best book yet. Not to worry, those who have not read the previous books can jump right into “Hellbent” without any problem. Contextual references throughout the book fill in relevant background without wasting pages rehashing old events.

Hurwitz shaped assassin Orphan X, into likeable character Evan, who has gone rogue from the government program. Evan vanished from society, but then “vanishing was easier when you already didn’t exist.” Evan transformed himself into “The Nowhere Man,” and now uses the skills he learned in the “black program” to help those who desperately need help and have no other options. This time when Evan answers the 1-855-2-NOWHERE phone and asks “”Do you need my help?” he recognizes the familiar voice on the other end of the phone; it is Jack, Jack Johns. Jack, who turned him into an assassin, and the only father he had ever known. And, Jack answered the question with a single word, “yes.” So it begins, and this time the mission is personal.

The story unfolds layer after layer as Evan untangles the mess surrounding Jack, the Orphan program, and the last orphan Jack took under his wing, a young girl named Joey. While page after page is filled with suspense and action, threads of sacrifice, redemption, and compassion run through the story as well.

This is not a “formula” book with continuing characters dropped into a random plot to save the world and rescue the underprivileged. Hurwitz tells a specific and compelling story that advances and develops persona that is Evan.

I received a copy of “Hellbent” from Gregg Hurwitz, St. Martin’s Press, Minotaur Books,  and NetGalley. It is well written and engaging. The pacing is quick and relentless, and it is a book readers will find hard to put down.