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Review: The Intern's Handbook by Shane Kuhn

Book Summary
JOHN LAGO IS A HITMAN. HE HAS SOME RULES FOR YOU. AND HE’ S ABOUT TO BREAK EVERY SINGLE ONE.

John Lago is a very bad guy. But he’s the very best at what he does. And what he does is infiltrate top-level companies and assassinate crooked executives while disguised as an intern.

Interns are invisible. That’s the secret behind HR, Inc., the elite “placement agency” that doubles as a network of assassins for hire who take down high-profile targets that wouldn’t be able to remember an intern’s name if their lives depended on it.

At the ripe old age of almost twenty-five, John Lago is already New York City’s most successful hit man. He’s also an intern at a prestigious Manhattan law firm, clocking eighty hours a week getting coffee, answering phones, and doing all the grunt work actual employees are too lazy to do. He was hired to assas­sinate one of the firm’s heavily guarded partners. His internship provides the perfect cover, enabling him to gather intel and gain access to pull off a clean, untraceable hit.

Part confessional, part DIY manual, The Intern’s Handbook chronicles John’s final assignment, a twisted thrill ride in which he is pitted against the toughest—and sexiest—adversary he’s ever faced: Alice, an FBI agent assigned to take down the same law partner he’s been assigned to kill.

Review
With nearly 20 years of filmmaking under his belt, Shane Kuhn’s debut novel, The Intern’s Handbook, has all the elements of a Hollywood hit. This thrilling page turner holds the reader hostage from page one putting us right center in the action through a narrative that has you rooting for an unlikely hero. With a plot that seems hard to believe, this “manual” filled with its dark humor and laugh out loud moments, draw you into a character whose balance of love and hate makes an engaging read. The overall concept of the book is straightforward but the composition of the development of the plot corresponding with how the book was put together was really fascinating. 

We are introduced to the book with a letter from the FBI letting us know that there is an arrest warrant out for John Lago and that they intercepted communications intended on new recruits at the company HR, Inc. This introduces us to the story informing us of the intentions of the book. The intercepted communication, The Intern's Handbook, is meant to be an informal guide for assassins in training. Chronically his last assignment, the guide serves as a how to and the rest a journal/confession of what happened during this last experience. Told through the point of view of Lago along with the surveillance audio & video transcripts from the FBI throughout the book, the book gives a whole new meaning to being an intern.

Overall, I really enjoyed the book. I thought Kuhn’s experience in film really permeated throughout the story. As a reader, you can visualize every aspect of the book as if you were watching it come alive before you. With several cinematic references throughout the book, I felt it contributed to the entertainment value for the reader. You not only feel connected to the characters but you really get inside the head of the John. He’s not the typical hero you root for but as you get to know him, his motives and actions have a purpose that make you favor him. He is one of those characters that you will have a blended love/hate relationship especially with the supporting characters which bring some drama of their own to the book. There were elements of violence and some racy scenes which would be expected considered the theme of the book just to note. 

There wasn't a part of the book that I felt disengaged from because the various plot twists and turns keep you occupy through until the end. Overall, the elements that composed the book made you feel like you were part of the story which made you not want to put it down. If you want a fun, thrilling and entertaining read, I’d recommend you adding to your list. 

Reviewed by Michelle Bowles

Book Information
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Publication date: 4/8/2014
Pages: 288

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