Get Blog Posts Via Email

View RSS Feed


DARK HORSE by Gregg Hurwitz: Book Review

Orphan X, aka Evan Smoak, aka The Nowhere Man.  So many names for one man.  But each name represents a different part of the person who grew up in foster homes, became an undercover government agent, and is now a vigilante who works to help those who have nowhere else to turn.

By any definition, Aragón Urrea is an evil man.  Murderer, drug dealer, enforcer, gang lord–he’s left a trail of broken men and bodies behind him.  But there is one good thing in his life, his eighteen-year-old daughter Anjelina.  There is nothing Aragón would not do for Anjelina, his sweet, beautiful daughter.

In the midst of her birthday party, after making a heartfelt toast to her, Urrea is called by one of his men to a nearby building to deal with a problem.  When he returns to the celebration, chaos greets him.  While he and his men were punishing the man who raped a teenager, armed men broke in to the room where the party was taking place and abducted Anjelina.

Urrea hears about Orphan X, and in desperation he calls him and tells him about the kidnapping.  He admits that he is a bad man, has done terrible things, but says his daughter “is untainted by who I am and what I have done.”  Although Evan has never worked for a client like Urrea before, he can hear the genuine pain in the man’s voice and decides to help.

Assisting Evan is Joey, a teenager who is as good with technology, both legal and illegal, as Evan is with his skills.  Like Evan, Joey is a former Orphan who was placed in the Program; unlike Evan, who left voluntarily, she “washed out.”  Now both are on the government’s hit list because they know too much about what the undercover agency did in the past and continues to do.

In addition to trying to find Angelina, Evan is dealing with some personal issues.   First is his relationship with Joey, and relationships are something that neither one is good with.  Sixteen-year-old Joey wants the freedom to take a road trip alone.  Evan is vehemently against it, citing her age, her inexperience being on her own; Joey, naturally taking the opposite point of view, cites her technological and martial arts skills.

Mia Hall, a neighbor of Evan, is presenting Evan with another relationship problem.  The two have an on-again, off-again romantic connection, and Evan is very fond of Peter, her young son.  But given that Mia is an assistant district attorney and Evan is The Nowhere Man, involved in all sorts of illegal operations that he can never discuss with her, their romance doesn’t appear to have a future.  Yet neither can seem to break away from the other.

Dark Horse is the seventh novel in this series.  Reading the books in the order they were published gives the reader a deep insight into Evan’s mind and his behavior.  He’s reached the point in his life where he tells himself he’s done being The Nowhere Man, but he cares deeply about justice and recognizes that he is the last resort for the people who contact him.

Gregg Hurwitz has written another intriguing book about a man torn between his demons and his conscience, his past and his present.  Dark Horse in an excellent addition to the story of Evan Smoak.  You can read more about the author at this website.

Check out the complete Marilyn’s Mystery Reads at her website.  In addition to book review posts, there are sections featuring Golden OldiesPast Masters and Mistresses, and an About Marilyn column that features her opinions about everything to do with mystery novels.


Leave a Reply