Series: A John Lago Thriller
Hardcover: 256 pages
Publisher: Simon & Schuster (July 14, 2015)
Professional assassin John Lago faces off against his deadliest adversary yet—his wife—in Hostile Takeover, the exciting sequel to Shane Kuhn’s bestselling debut The Intern’s Handbook, which the New York Post called “a sexy, darkly comic thriller.”
At the end of The Intern’s Handbook, John tracks down his nemesis Alice but instead of putting a bullet in her head, he puts a ring on her finger and marries her. Together, they execute a hostile takeover of Human Resources, Inc., the “placement agency” that trains young assassins to infiltrate corporations disguised as interns and knock off high profile targets. As HR’s former top operatives, they are successful until conflicting management styles cause an ugly breakup that locks John out of the bedroom and the boardroom.
But when Alice takes on a new HR target, John is forced to return to the office battlefield in a role he swore he would never play again: the intern. What starts out as a deadly showdown turns into the two of them fighting side by side to save HR, Inc.—and their marriage.
If you read Shane Kuhn’s initial book, The Intern’s Handbook, than the name John Lago needs no introduction. If you haven’t, I strongly encourage you to read that book before Hostile Takeover. It isn’t necessary but because it will lay the foundation for any unanswered questions about what happened and give you background information handy going into Hostile Takeover.
So, if you are like me all about Team Lago, than you know after reading the first book how intense and exciting it was and the hope of the sequel to match it. Hostile Takeover had a different flare to it but brought back our favorite sarcastic, funny assassin, if such can be put in the same sentence. Going into this book, I had extremely high expectations. I will say that you don’t get that roller coaster ride of the preceding but you do get a different awesomeness that hones in more to him that gives you a whole new appreciation for John cheering him on all the way.
So, if you read the first book, than you know when you start reading Hostile Takeover, it picks up right where they left off. I don’t want to give too much away for those of you who haven’t read it but his lifestyle catches up with him because the book begins with John being interrogated at Quantico by an FBI agent named Fletch. The scenes in the book between these two are definitely one of my favorite plots in the book because like the first book, Kuhn really brings these scenes to life for the reader. He really does a great job putting you in the center of the action. These two just feed off each other for some of the most hysterical moments of the book. The interrogation, chronicles his experience recalling the events that led up to the present including marrying Alice and the takeover of HR which leads to an amazing ending that was completely not expected. Who would’ve predicted, that he would’ve had anything to do with HR again, let alone teaming up with Alice. The whole takeover of HR brought some moments that drew upon his film experience because it had those action packed elements that we grew fond of from the preceding.
Now, we all know what transpired between Alice and John in the first book, so it was interesting reading their story in book two. Instead of offing Alice, he decided to marry her. I don’t know about you but I can’t figure if John and Alice are a match made in the psycho ward or what but these two negatives definitely come out to a positive this time around. The best way to describe these two are Mr. and Mrs. Smith because their love/hate relationship definitely makes one scratch their head but their dysfunctional relationship definitely brought many memorable, hysterical moments to this book. Between his sarcastic humor and her fierce sassiness, not only to we get to know them better as characters but you just can’t stop reading because there was just something about them this time around that made you not want to let go of them.
Overall, I really enjoyed the book. The writing as usual to expect from Kuhn, was funny, straightforward and brilliant. Compared to the first book which was fast paced and constantly moving, this has a different pace that tapped into something beyond what we have read before. You just become some absorbed into the drama that putting the book down is not an option. Kuhn has you hanging onto to every scene as a reader parallel to John’s emotional and physical experience. This time around, since the focus was more on the relationships between John and the other characters, it brought readers closer to John which gave you a better understanding of who he was. You forget what he does but see who he really is beyond the facade that makes you root for him. A great plot, awesome scenes with a mixed bag of characters will leave you wanting more. Not sure what lies ahead of this series if there will be more but I will be patiently waiting.
Reviewed by Michelle Bowles