Wednesday, August 24, 2022

Review: Dark Horse by Gregg Hurwitz

by Gregg Hurwitz
Release Date: February 8, 2022
2022 Minotaur Books
Kindle & Audiobook Editions; 432 Pages
ISBN: 978-1250252302
Audiobook: B094DPKFHX
Genre: Fiction / Thriller
Source: Review copy from publisher

4.25 / 5 Stars

Aragon Urrea is a kingpin of a major drug-dealing operation in South Texas. He's also the patron of the local area—supplying employment in legitimate operations, providing help to the helpless, rough justice to the downtrodden, and a future to a people normally with little hope. He's complicated—a not completely good man, who does bad things for often good reasons. However, for all his money and power, he is helpless when one of the most vicious cartels kidnaps his innocent eighteen year old daughter, spiriting her away into the armored complex that is their headquarters in Mexico. With no other way to rescue his daughter, he turns to The Nowhere Man.

Now not only must Evan figure out how to get into the impregnable fortress of a heavily armed, deeply paranoid cartel leader, but he must decide if he should help a very bad man—no matter how just the cause.
My Thoughts
Dark Horse is the next entry in the Orphan X series, and this is one of my favourites series out there. While not the most suspenseful book of the series, it is definitely a solid entry and a lot of fun to read. The story seemed to focus more on relationships and Evan's growing sense of how to fit into a world he knows little about, except as an assassin.  
Evan's character development has always been one of the strengths of this series.  Both he and Joey have come to a crossroads in their lives where they need to figure out who they are and who they wish to be as well as the people they want in their lives. Having lived a solitary life for so long, with few people he could trust, Evan is slowly learning about having fun and enjoying life.  Unfortunately, having been an assassin for so long, and having been involved in such a secret program, he has enemies all over the place, and in some pretty high government levels, enemies who do anything to see him dead. The author does a great job with Evan as he comes to terms with his more humane side and accepts that his lethal side will always be a part of him. 

Joey and Dog have been favourites of mine since they joined the Orphan X world a few books ago and I always look forward to their appearances.  It's hard to imagine comedic episodes in a thriller novel, but the author manages to do this very well in scenes involving Joey, Evan, and Dog, including some emotional ones. Who knew you could get emotional over a plant and some coloured rocks?  

This one has Evan helping a drug kingpin, one who daughter has been kidnapped by a rival drug cartel. This mission becomes quite complicated, and puts Evan into quite a moral dilemma as he has to decide to help a leader of a drug cartel with questionable morals.  I thought the author did a great job showing the human side of this world, something I didn't think was possible, demonstrating the shades of grey that exist in everyone's world. I even grew to like Aragon, which I never would have suspected.  But make no mistake, the author didn't shy away from the brutality either, especially when Evan infiltrated the Leones compound to rescue Aragon's daughter.  As always, the writing style was captivating, drawing me into the story, dark and quite intense.  While the beginning was a bit slower than usual, the last quarter of the book was intense and a bit brutal.  
Dark Horse is a fun, action-packed book. There is quite a bit of soul-searching for Evan as he is trying to come to terms with his life as an assassin and his newish life as a regular person, someone who is trying to recognize that not everything is black or white.  I felt the author did a great job developing Evan's character and his interactions with the other characters was enjoyable.  While this one started out a bit slower than usual, it definitely ended quite differently and I couldn't put it down. I am looking forward to the next book in this series, The Last Orphan, which I have already received for review. An old nemesis is coming back into play and I can't wait!