Into The Fire by Gregg Hurwitz
|Into The Fire by Gregg Hurwitz|
|Reviewer: Lesley Mason|
|Summary: Orphan X or The Nowhere Man is back. Fast moving thriller, sympathetic characters (and some downright ugly ones) and a masterful use of language – what more could you want?|
|Buy? Yes||Borrow? Yes|
|Pages: 480||Date: February 2020|
|Publisher: Michael Joseph|
|External links: Author's website|
Grant Merriweather is a forensic accountant. Or rather, was. He was brought into an ER room after an alleged car crash, his friend pleading with the medics to keep him alive. He was needed alive just long enough to give up a name. His cousin, Max.
Max is not so much the black sheep of the Merriweather clan as the lost one, the abandoned one, the one no-one really cares about. His marriage collapsed, his family have effectively disowned him and he's making so little money that he breaks into his own apartment to avoid having to meet the super and lie about when he'll be able to make the rent. He's the least likely person to be asked to carry out the "in the event of my death" kind of mission.
Which is precisely why he was…only keeping that promise proves harder and more deadly than he could ever have anticipated. After all, Grant was an accountant.
As things start to go horribly worse, a stranger in a restaurant, tells him that some-one can help, gives him a phone number.
Evan Smoak. Escapee from the Orphan programme, Evan is still searching for he's not sure what: redemption maybe. He still answers his RoamZone with his trademark Do you need my help? He still helps the only way he knows how, which has a tendency to be brutal, accurate, and not strictly legal.
Max calls him.
Reacher, Strike, Smoak – they're all flawed heroes cut from the same cloth. Smoak is more extreme though – an extremity born of his background. He's not quite the loner though. He has help. Hurwitz has deployed that back-story to give his avenging angel access to an armourer, a computer hacker and a great deal of money. Suspending disbelief is the best place to start enjoying a thriller of this kind, but it really helps when the author has really thought about how and why those things are possible…why the armourer is so helpful, and so able to be so helpful…how the computer kid learned her skills…and why despite it all, she's still just a scared teenager, with all the stroppiness that entails…and where the money comes from.
There's James Bond levels of gadgetry deployed, but mostly to sustain the hero's lifestyle rather than to help him win the fights…the latter happen through earned skill, good tools, intelligence, and knowing when to ask for help.
All a good thriller needs is in here. An implausible situation made plausible (just about), jeopardy ramped to the max, released, re-emerging. Twists. Humour. Appropriate levels of malice and violence – never over-done, never gratuitous. People get hurt. Actions have consequences.
What Hurwitz produces is what takes a good thriller to the next level. He takes a tight plot, a fast-paced read, and like Coben and Child, raises the game by brilliant use of language, coming out with similes and metaphors that you want to steal and character catchphrases that are not just anchoring, but also wise. I still love the second commandment: how you do anything, is how you do everything. and there's a whole host of other soundbites that I'm culling to quote later…but you need to read it for yourself and I won't spoil.
If you enjoy this one, check out the back catalogue of the Orphan X stories, start at the beginning with Orphan X (Evan Smoak) by Gregg Hurwitz or just about anything from the two authors mentioned above Lee Child and Harlan Coben.
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