Gregg Hurwitz is the New York Times #1 internationally bestselling author of 23 thrillers including the ORPHAN X series. His novels have won numerous literary awards and have been published in 33 languages. Gregg currently serves as the Co-President of International Thriller Writers (ITW). Additionally, he’s written poetry, screenplays and television scripts for many of the major studios and networks, comics for AWA, DC, and Marvel, and political and culture pieces for The Wall Street Journal, The Guardian, The Bulwark and others. Gregg lives with his Rhodesian ridgebacks in Los Angeles, where he continues to play soccer, frequently injuring himself.
Q. Dark Horse is the seventh installment in your Orphan X series. What’s Evan Smoak up against in this latest?
Gregg: As the Nowhere Man, Evan has pledged to help the truly desperate, those with nowhere to turn. This time the man at the other end of the phone is a “creative businessman” with many extralegal ventures and motives and a code as dark and complicated as Evan himself. His daughter has been taken by a vicious rival cartel leader. The question is: Is a bad man worth helping for a good cause?
Q. How has Evan evolved over the series? Do you think of him differently than you did when you wrote book 1?
Gregg: Orphan X, the opener in the series, finds Evan breaking every one of the assassin’s Ten Commandments handed down to him from his father figure and handler. For the first time, we saw Evan thawing out of the black and white code that defined him, seeking to embrace the gray as well as the complexities of everyday people. Intimacy is a language he doesn’t speak. But over the life of the series he’s learned to interact with others in the real world to a great extent—Mia, Peter, Joey, and those he helps who draw out his humanity a bit at a time. In Dark Horse, he’s going to find himself challenged in a whole different way.
Q. You’ve said elsewhere that Carl Jung and the hero myth have inspired your thrillers. What do you mean by that?
Gregg: Striving to integrate darkness and light, to venture into the unknown, to face threat to find opportunity, to discover what must be sacrificed for the truth—these are all key components of the hero myth. They are also key components of this story I’m telling about a scrawny twelve-year-old kid, considered worthless and expendable by society, who was pulled out of a foster home by someone who saw greatness in him and lit the way for his adventure.
Q. You’ve successfully made a huge transition into writing for film, most recently with Sweet Girl starring Jason Momoa. What do you enjoy most (and least) about writing for the screen?
Most: collaborating when it’s going well.
Least: collaborating when it’s not going well.
Q. What are you working on now?
Gregg: The next Orphan X (ssssh!). My next screenplay (Sabine, with Screen Gems). My first original comic (Knighted with AWA). Producing for film my everyman thriller books with Scott Frank and Paramount+ (Do No Harm, The Crime Writer, Trust No One, They’re Watching, You’re Next, The Survivor, Tell No Lies, Don’t Look Back). Wrangling my three Rhodesian ridgebacks.
Gregg Hurwitz's Latest
Evan Smoak is a man with many identities and a challenging past. As Orphan X, he was a government assassin for the off-the-books Orphan Program. After he broke with the Program, he adopted a new name and a new mission—The Nowhere Man, helping the most desperate in their times of trouble. Having just survived an attack on his life and the complete devastation of his base of operations, as well as his complicated (and deepening) relationship with his neighbor Mia Hall, Evan isn’t interested in taking on a new mission. But one finds him anyway.
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.