“Into the Fire”

“Into the Fire” by Gregg Hurwitz is part of the “Orphan X” series. Without complications, life would be sterile, and Evan Smoak’s life is certainly not sterile. The book opens with a scenario that grabs readers, both regular and first time — a detailed glimpse into the living space of Orphan X. Hurwitz provides all the backstory needed for new readers and refreshes events for regulars. The recap brings Smoak into the conflict with a directed question; “How much longer?”

Hurwitz expertly develops characters, their subtleties, and their everyday lives, both the ordinary and the extraordinary. All players are uniquely positioned, ready for what is to come. New characters are sympathetic, realistic, and relatable. Evan Smoak is consistent and dependable. As always, he remains alone; the mission is always first. Paranoia is Orphan X’s best friend with good reason.

The narrative is tense and purpose driven. Every line and every action has significance and function, either to advance the plot or to define the characters. Hurwitz gives characters focus and direction, then steers them into the plan. Conspiracy details are mixed in with everyday life activities and complex interpersonal relationships. Hurwitz skillfully creates a twist, another problem, and then a new threat, just waiting to work its way to the surface. Chapter titles are expressly tailored to foreshadow the events and actions that follow. Specifics are accurate to the smallest detail from the Hello Kitty t-shirt to the most complicated weapons.

“Into the Fire” stretches Smoak’s abilities and determination to the limit. I received a review copy of “Into the Fire” from Gregg Hurwitz and Minotaur Books. It is wild, uncompromising, frantic, and human, and an outstanding addition to the Orphan X series.

DO NOT skip ahead, but know that the last three words in the book are the most important.