cover image Hellbent


Gregg Hurwitz, read by Scott Brick. Brilliance Audio, , unabridged, 10 CDs, 12.5 hrs., $29.99 ISBN 978-1-5226-4962-5

Actor Brick, the narrator of all three of Hurwitz’s Orphan X audiobooks, once again effectively brings the dark adventures of ex-government assassin Evan Smoak to life. Smoak, who’s atoning for his murderous past by helping those in need, is unable to save Jack Johns, his mentor in the covert U.S. program in which orphan children are trained to become assassins. Taken as a prisoner aboard a Blackhawk helicopter by the evil program head Charles Van Sciver, Johns dies in an early, well-written sequence, stirringly enacted by Brick. Prior to his death, Johns contacted Smoak and asked that, if anything happened to him, Smoak protect his recent protégé, a teenage girl named Joey, from Van Sciver’s death squad. Smoak is determined to avenge Johns by killing Van Sciver and, as part of his Samaritan duty, to stop the initiation of young Xavier Orellana into a Los Angeles street gang. Brick effectively handles all vocal tasks, such as Smoak’s grave, unwavering delivery, Joey’s teenage truculence, and Van Sciver’s sinister sliminess. Brick even makes Hurwitz’s minutely detailed descriptions of weapons, electronic gadgets, and data mining as dramatic as the action sequences. This is a particularly well-narrated audiobook. [em]A Minotaur hardcover. (Jan.) [/em]