Thanks to Macmillan Audio and NetGalley for an Advanced Reader’s audiobook.
WOW- just WOW! For those of you like me who’ve read the Gray Man series since its inception, this latest from Hurwitz proves the best in the series to date. But be forewarned: this unbelievably FANTASTIC new book in the Gray Man series ends on an almost unbearable cliff hanger ending- and the Book 8 simply can’t come fast enough!
For those new to the series, there’s no book like the present to jump into the dangerous world of Evan Smoak (known by his code name Orphan X). Each book offers a cascading and twisty series of thrilling plots while layering new insights into the characters’ back stories. There’s Evan who got rescued from an orphanage to become one of the U.S.’s most deadly assassins. Evan has since retired and dedicated himself to personal redemption as “The Nowhere Man,” taking on humanitarian missions to save innocents who find themselves in situations of desperate need. Evan’s just come off a mission in which he narrowly escaped with his life and that blew up his carefully guarded penthouse apartment base. There’s his nurturing, sexy neighbor and district attorney Mia Hall, and her adorable, smart son Peter, both of whom are smitten with Evan and have no real idea of his true identity. And then there’s rebellious, needy, touching teenager Joey Maroles, the youngest and last recruit of the Orphan X program, who Evan has rescued and reluctantly taken on as his ward.
In Dark Horse, the lines of who deserves to be saved by the Nowhere Man start to blur, as Evan finds himself taking on the big drug cartels. Evan gets a call on his Nowhere Man phone from Aragon Urrea, a Texas drug kingpin, begging Evan’s help to get back his kidnapped innocent daughter, Angelina, who’s been taken by a rival cartel. Can Evan help a corrupt man to get back his beloved daughter – and what will Evan demand in return from Aragon when it comes to stopping the drug trade? Along the way that takes us deep into the heart of a Mexican cartel, and as Mia falls into a sudden health crisis, Evan is forced to truly do some soul-searching about his vow not to have a personal life, and what it means to be there for the people you love and who depend on you. There’s one deeply moving scene where Evan explodes at Joey in anger, and we see him have to wrestle with his own dark past, his OCD tendencies as a way to create control over his world, and his struggle to make himself empathic and vulnerable to those with whom he’s closest.
This series just shimmers with excellence and keeps deepening with resonance as the characters grow and Evan starts taking on huge problems beyond the life of one person such as the opioid drug trade by cartels as well as greedy pharmaceuticals.
Lastly, the narration of the audio by Scott Brick is once again simply superb, as his resonant voice draws you deeply into the characters.