Top Tier (4 to 5 stars)

Dark Horse [Orphan X #7], by Gregg Hurwitz

5 out of 5 stars. A thrill ride with an unexpected plot twist.

5 stars
This book is set to be published on February 8th, 2022.

This is a first for me. I’ve read the first five main books in this series – but this time, I’m listening to an audiobook. It’s my first, so be gentle!

I’m actually a great fan of this series, so I couldn’t resist when I got the chance to listen to the seventh installment. I was very curious what happened after the boom that ended the last book.

Blowing up your apartment is a fast way to start a renovation. It’s a little extrem, though, and maybe expensive. Also the cleanup is rather laborious.

During his last adventure, Evan started to explore an unknown side of him, his feelings. That was great, and I hoped it would remain true in this newest installment. So imagine my grief when at first I thought he returned to his pathological neat and tidy, former self. But Evan is about to learn a lesson or two about life and family values, and he’s going to learn them from a drug lord, no less.

That drug lord ended up being my favourite character in the book, a great example for ambiguity. Is he a bad man? Well, not entirely. Is he a good man, then? Well, not entirely. That pretty much sums up Evan, too.

I did not see that coming.

Like every good thriller author, Gregg has a way of weaving in plot twists. Usually, they are complicating the subject at hand further more, and you would expect them at around the 80 percent mark of the novel.

This time, though, he hit me very hard at the 60 percent mark with something I did not expect in the least. Not one bit. Does it make things more complicated for Evan? Hell yeah. But it’s not simply rule altering, as usual. No, this time it changes the whole game. It’s like watching a game of soccer, and at some point the referee blows his whistle and everyone starts unpacking their tennis rackets.

As you’ve probably noticed, I suck at sports metaphors. Lucky for all of us, Gregg is way better at handling his plot twists than I am at those metaphors. I’m not going to spoil you, but I had to rewind the audiobook at a certain point to make sure I heard the word right.

Before the final verdict, let me tell you something I discovered about audiobooks: they’re not for me. The narrator was actually great and did an outstanding job, great to listen to. My problem lies somewhere else: the time frame. The audiobook runs at little more than 16 hours, with me listening at 1,25 speed (that’s the maximum I can handle in English, sorry), so I’m down to 13 hours. Which is approximately double the time I would need for reading it myself.

So … The seventh installment. Great thriller, great twist (what a twist!), Great character development. Sucking ending. Not because it’s bad, but because it leaves too much open. I would hate Gregg’s guts right now if the book wasn’t so great. And now I have to wait for the next book. Damn you, Gregg! And damn you, my serious series addiction.

Disclaimer: I’ve received a free Advanced Listener’s Copy and am leaving this review voluntarily.

By Stefan

father of two, not enough time to read everything I want to read

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