Hellbent sees Evan Smoak aka Orphan X, aka The Nowhere Man embark on a rage fueled quest for revenge as he fights his way through a haze of corporate killers in search of the man responsible for murdering his mentor, Jack Johns.The third installment in the Orphan X series is pure adrenaline with action scenes aplenty However, there s a lot of character development growth in Evan as he progressively establishes relationships and expands his silo d inner circle.Hellbent works both as a standalone and as part of the broader Orphan X story line serving as both an entry point into the three novel series to date and as a continuity of Evans fight against the Orphan program My rating 4 5 stars The Orphan X books are my favorite action thriller series right night now and Hellbent continues where Orphan X and The Nowhere Man left off. 4.5Can you hack itShe kept her head lowered, her fingers movingI m gonna pretend you didn t ask me that He cast an eye toward the facility s front doorThe cops are gonna be here soon Well,she said,then it s a good thing I m fastThis one kept me enthusiastic all the way through I like the returning characters and the new ones There s still some grim stuff, but not quite so much spelled out or maybe I just got good at skimming, but I don t think so.The conversation above is Evan Smoakes the Nowhere Man and Joey, his 16 year old offsider of sorts, who has somehow ended up in his care I think these books are better read in order, but I have to say, if I hadn t heard how much the series improved, I probably wouldn t have continued I m glad I did Evan s scuffed knuckles, a fetching post fight shade of eggplant, ledged the steering wheel His nose was freshly broken, leaking a trickle of crimson Nothing bad, a shifting along old fault lines We know Evan is a killer, trained in some kind of special government program where he was taken as a young orphan and brought up learning all the intricacies of self defence, weapons and munitions, hiding in plain sight, and a lot of computer skills He s also had some kind of relationship with Mia and her young son down the hall A bit of romance that he can t afford, given his lifestyle But she and Peter are pretty good at spotting his various war wounds And he still wishes he could maybe have a normal life If only.Joey, the fast worker in the opening quote, was a newly recruited orphan whose training was interrupted, and she really IS a computer hacking whizz She s pretty hard bitten for 16 and has good reason to be Evan is completely out of his depth dealing with her, since his only real understanding of family was with Jack, his handler who raised him and treated him like a son It s the closest Evan s come to having a parent But the raising involved all the martial arts, how to get forged papers, how to travel the world and kill people without being discovered Jack had trained him for so many contingencies, had made him lethal and worldly and cultured But not domestic So, out of his depth We meet up with the worst of the baddies from the previous books Van Sciver is in charge of eradicating any trace of the orphan program, particularly wiping Orphan X, Evan Smoakes, off the face of the earth.As well as Joey, who s both a help and a teen aged hindrance, we also meet a whole new bunch of delightful drug runners from El Salvador The tattoos were overwhelming Pentagrams and names of the dear departed Crossbones, grenades, dice, daggers, machetes And words words in place of eyebrows, blue letters staining lips, nicknames rendered across throats in Old English letters Other tattoos coded for crimes the men had committed rape, murder, kidnapping Their rap sheets, inked right on their faces Then there was this guy It was his eyes They were solid black The man had tattooed the whites of his eyes ACK Is that even possible I enjoyed reading how our intrepid heroes I include Joey deal with so many enemies Evan has a habit of counting the people he needs to eliminate, counting his bullets, and then keeping score as the story progresses We just know he can t possibly have enough ammunition to win the day it isn t humanly possible Is it Read it and see As for me, I m waiting for the next book.Thanks to NetGalley and St Martin s Press for the preview copy from which I ve quoted Hellbent NetGalley To Some He Was Orphan X Others Knew Him As The Nowhere Man But To Jack Johns He Was A Boy Named Evan Smoak Taken From An Orphanage, Evan Was Raised Inside A Top Secret Government Programme And Trained To Become A Lethal Weapon By Jack And Yet For All The Dangerous Skill He Instilled In His Young Charge, Jack Jones Cared For Evan Like A SonBut Jack Knew Too Much About A Programme That Had Gone Rotten He Was A Loose End That Needed To Be Dealt With But If You Go After The Only Person Who Ever Treated Him Like A Human Being, You Can Guarantee That The Nowhere Man Will Be Coming For You Hellbent On Making Things RightWith Hellbent, Gregg Hurwitz Raises The Bar Again With A Masterclass In Hi Octane Thriller Writing Gregg Hurwitz gives us another adrenaline fuelled thrill ride of an adventure in the third of the Orphan X thriller series with a wide and diverse collection of characters The resourceful Evan Smoak finds himself on an emotional search for vengeance aided by others and still finds time to be the Nowhere Man, helping a man by taking on a ruthless LA gang Orphan Y, Charles Van Sciver, is now the Head of the Orphan programme, he and other shadowy government forces are determined to get to and eliminate Evan, and all the other orphans no longer in the fold of the official programme Evan gets a call from Jack Johns, his beloved father figure, mentor and handler, who helped to raise him as than a mindless assassin, asking him to collect a package Sciver has targeted Johns as a means to get to Evan, Evan is horrified at the killing of Jack, feeling desperate guilt and a sense of a responsibility The package turns out to be ex orphan, 16 year old girl, rootless and problematic Joey, who has him scrambling to cope but he is determined to protect and guide her Joey is a fearsome and gifted computer hacker whose talents complement Evan and help him on the path to gaining revenge She is the trigger for Evan to reflect on himself and what he has become, adding emotional depth to his character Hurwitz is on great form in this action packed thriller, with great characterisation, wonderful and compelling plotting, in a complex story with non stop tension and suspense An entertaining series that I have loved reading Many thanks to Penguin Michael Joseph for an ARC. 3.5 starsIn this addition to the Orphan X series, Evan Smoak also known as Orphan X is out to avenge the death of his mentor Jack Johns When Evan was twelve, Jack took him from an orphanage and put him in a super secret Department of Defense black ops program a scheme designed to turn orphans into highly skilled assassins The children were stripped of their names and designated alphabetically Orphan A, Orphan B, Orphan C.and so on Jack was like a father to Evan, and made sure the boy kept his humanity while he learned to kill Orphan X got his first mission at nineteen, and eliminated many targets after that Finally, burnt out, Evan left the program and set himself up as The Nowhere Man a good samaritan who helps people in desperate trouble.However, no one is allowed to leave the Orphan Program If a member opts out, the program director Charles Van Sciver, also known as Orphan Y sends a hitman or hitteam after the deserter Thus, killers have been after Evan for years, but his secret apartment is a fortress and he s taken elaborate measures to protect himself These measures are fully described in the first book, Orphan X Van Sciver, who s been continually frustrated by Evan, has even incentive to murder him now reasons that extend high in government circles So Orphan Y decides to get to Evan through Jack Johns Van Sciver, who has phenomenal data mining capabilities, locates Jack and kidnaps him This leads to Jack s death and the terrible scene is shown to Evan via phone Of course Orphan X now has to go after the director, which will presumably bring Evan out into the open As events unfold Evan becomes the reluctant guardian of a feisty sixteen year old girl named Joey Joey flunked out of the Orphan Program and is in Van Sciver s sights So Evan has to protect the girl while he goes after the director Van Sciver and his team take a two pronged approach to finding Orphan X they locate and torture people who might have information about Evan and they kidnap a youngster that left the Orphan Program hoping Evan will try to rescue him Orphan X is a very resourceful guy though, and Van Sciver s crew suffers loss after loss Moreover, Joey is a talented computer hacker and programmer, and she sets up a sophisticated data mining system of her own..one that helps Evan trace his enemies Joey is an interesting character She s a lonely, troubled girl with fierce fighting skills, but no idea what to do outside the Orphan Program Evan tries to be supportive, but he doesn t know how to deal with teenage girls Still as long as Joey has her special shoebox, a case of Red Bull, and plenty of Twizzlers she s willing to help Evan As the story proceeds, Van Sciver pursues his mission to kill Evan and all other fugitive Orphans Evan goes after Van Sciver there s plenty of death and destruction You get the idea As all this is happening, Orphan X gets a call on the RoamZone phone used to contact The Nowhere Man A Los Angeles resident named Benito Orellana needs help His son Xavier is about to be initiated into the Mara Salvatrucha gang and Benito begs Evan to get the young man out of the gang s clutches Evan agrees to help, and engages with the gang s vicious thugs All this frenetic activity leads to a violent and dramatic climax a satisfying finale and I think a lead in to book four Additional characters that add interest to the story include Prosecutor Mia Hall Evan s downstairs neighbor who d probably like to be than friends Peter Hall Mia s young son, who sends messages to Evan via kite Candy McClure an Orphan who uses her sex appeal for deadly purposes David Smith an Orphan boy who s being hidden Freeway leader of the Mara Salavatrucha who s had his eyeballs tattooed black Tommy a fantastic gunsmith Jonathan Bennett a powerful government official and Hellbent is a good book, full of action and excitement It can be read as a standalone but I d strongly advise reading Orphan X first Thanks to Netgalley, the author Gregg Hurwitz , and the publisher Minotaur Books for a copy of the book You can follow my reviews at Book three and Evan has returned home to his specialist vodka and his living wall of herbs, both of which I find hilarious in a man who does what this one does for a living Anyway I am accustomed to it now and it does not detract from the rest of this fantastic book In Hellbent the action starts on page one and continues pretty solidly throughout the book A new character called Joey is introduced who turns out to have some very useful skills and ends up partnering Evan in a quest for revenge Of course a lot of it is very far fetched but it is fun and it is exciting and it is exactly what you want from a book like this.Highly recommended for fans of the genre and I can t wait for the next one It is scorched earth time for Evan Smoak He was originally known as Orphan X from his time as a deep black government assassin trained from childhood in the Orphan program Later Smoak became known as The Nowhere Man, helping people who have nowhere else to turn But now Smoak is out for revenge on his own account, in scorched earth revenge seeking the death of the twenty five men who were involved in the death of Smoak s beloved mentor, Jack Johns A sort of perverse 47 Ronin Johns has contacted Smoak minutes before his death by the hand of Charles Van Scriver who has taken over the Orphan program for his own aims Orphan X has played the great white whale to Van Scriver s Ahab, but this time Van Scriver has the highest backing and he can t let Orphan X outsmart him again.To add to Smoak s grief and anger, Jacks has left Evan a present in the form of a sixteen year old runaway from Van Scriver s personally run Orphan program To add to Smoak s revenge he must keep the runaway, Joey Morales, alive with the goal of saving her from the Orphan program.The excitement starts from page one and just keeps on building Evan is used to flying solo, this time he has to accept the aid of a friend and from his temporary ward.Hurwitz s usual smooth writing is in evidence along with his intricate plotting and fascinating characterizations This book is not all action there are themes of redemption, sacrifice, and forgiveness.Thanks to NetGalley for an ARC in exchange of a fair and honest review. Gregg Hurwitz is one of my all time favourite authors and a go to author if I need little sleep as a result of not being able to put his book down Hellbent is the third book in his Orphan X series and it is definitely one of those books Tons of fun and a page turning, exciting thriller In Hellbent we learn about Evan Smoak Orphan X and what makes him tick We see a side of him that is vulnerable and uncertain This novel picks up after The Nowhere Man left off with Van Sciver still on the hunt for X His next move is to kidnap and kill X s mentor, Jack Jones Jack leaves a cryptic note for X instructing him to pick up a package which happens to be a teenage girl named Joey who was discharged from Orphan training and is now in danger of being eliminated by Van Sciver as well Gregg Hurwitz has created a masterful and memorable character in Evan Smoak I enjoyed his interaction with Joey and the other fascinating characters he came in contact with An exceptional ending that leaves us wanting.The author fails to disappoint and I can hardly wait to read his next thriller starring Evan Smoak.I truly loved this novel Thank you to NetGalley and Minotaur for an arc of this novel in exchange for my honest review. When I finished Hellbent , the third book in Gregg Hurwitz s fantastic series featuring rogue government assassin Evan Smoak, I got to thinking You literally could spend the entire year reading books in different series, between YA, mysteries, thrillers, science fiction, fantasy, even romance It certainly would make things easier in terms of figuring out what your next book to read should be There really are some amazing series out there, and this one is no exception.When Evan Smoak not his real name was young, a man rescued him from a troubled life and he trained Evan how to kill He was part of a fully deniable black program buried deep inside the Department of Defense, becoming Orphan X, an expendable assassin who went where the U.S government would not and did what the U.S government could not But eight years ago, Evan went rogue from the program and became the Nowhere Man, the last resort for a person in desperate trouble No one knows who the Nowhere Man is, but they know if they call him, he will help rescue them from a seemingly helpless situation Evan had simply stepped off the grid, keeping only the operational alias he d earned in the shadow service, a name spoken in hushed tones in the back rooms of intel agencies the world over Jack Johns was the man who brought Evan into the program, and he was the man who helped Evan remain human despite the things he had to do, the things he saw Essentially, Jack has been the only father Evan has known, and when Jack calls him out of the blue one night, they both know his time is running out One of Evan s fellow Orphans, Charles Van Sciver, is now in charge of wiping out any traces of the former program, and he s hellbent on finding Evan to enact some deep seated revenge, so he strikes at Jack in an effort to get to Evan Jack sends Evan on one last mission, to rescue his last proteg before she falls into Van Sciver s clutches.What Evan finds is not what he is expecting, and this recruit leaves him with his hands full He s bound and determined to make those who hurt Jack pay, and he knows he must strike at Van Sciver and his cohorts some of whom are lethal former Orphans themselves before he becomes the next target But he has no idea just how high up the command to wipe out the program and him comes from.In the meantime, Evan must also balance his responsibility as the Nowhere Man, which leaves him with a complex and potentially dangerous mission, and he is forced to both confront the path his life has taken, and wonder if he s destined to spend the rest of his life alone If so, is that what he deserves Hellbent is an excellent combination of kick ass action, pulse pounding suspense, and complex character development The characters aren t one dimensional, even the villains you get to understand what has made them the way they are The one thing I always have trouble keeping in mind when reading this series is that Evan seems so world weary, so wise beyond his years, but he s only in his late 20s or early 30s at best.While I would recommend reading this series from the start and Orphan X is one heck of a start see my review you could start with this book and not feel utterly disoriented However, you d definitely miss some of the nuances that make this series such a find.We could all use a little Evan Smoak in our lives I m excited that the fourth book in the series is slated to be released in January I m finally back on track Seriously, if you re a thriller fan and you ve not dived into this series yet, take my advice Do it.See all of my reviews at itseithersadnessoreuphoria.blogspot.com, or check out my list of the best books I read in 2017 at Though this series is about a well trained man who helps people who need helping while also trying to dodge another member of the Orphan program, Van Sciver, who wants him dead, it s also about kids in foster care and the way the system fails these orphans About not having parents or guardians who are able alive to care for kids There are two stories going on here One, Evan Orphan X is tasked with rescuing a package the dying wish of his mentor, Jack Johns And two, a man calls saying his son is being recruited by the notorious MS13 gang, which is terrifying on the news in real life and terrifying as described in this novel He wants Evan to rescue his son before he commits murder and there is no going back Evan against the entire MS13 gang Why not As with the previous Orphan X books, lots of exciting scenes involving guns and hand to hand combat fill the novel I think I ultimately liked this book best of the three because it wasn t just all thrills There was heart in this novel than the others If you like the Mission Impossible movies, you d like Hellbent.Thanks so much to NetGalley and to Minotaur Books for the opportunity to review this novel.For reviews, please visit
Gregg Andrew HurwitzGregg Hurwitz is the critically acclaimed, New York Times and internationally bestselling author of 20 novels, including OUT OF THE DARK 2019 His novels have been shortlisted for numerous literary awards, graced top ten lists, and have been published in 30 languages.He is also a New York Times Bestselling comic book writer, having penned stories for Marvel Wolverine, Punisher and DC Batman, Penguin Additionally, he s written screenplays for or sold spec scripts to many of the major studios, and written, developed, and produced television for various networks Gregg resides in Los Angeles.
- 406 pages
- Gregg Hurwitz
- 12 December 2017 Gregg Hurwitz