Friday, September 19, 2014

The Intern's Handbook by Shane Kuhn

The Intern's Handbook: A Thriller

I was introduced to this book during the 2014 Armchair BEA. The waitlist for it at my library was even longer than the one for Tolkien's Beowulf. But a few days ago I was finally able to get my hands on it. After reading it I can certainly see why it is so popular.

The Intern's Handbook is definitely not one of my usual genres, The only thrillers that have ever left me wanting to read more or that I have re-read were the Hannibal Lecter books. That being said, I did find this book to be well worth the read. It was entertaining, engaging and even funny and surprising in some parts. While I will probably not buy this book myself, I will say that if you enjoy the thriller genre, you will quite likely enjoy this book.

John Lago, the main character, is writing this book at the onset of his retirement from HR, Inc. a place that trains kids, that would otherwise spend their lives in juvie, to be assassins. They learn how to be the best interns as well. There really isn't a lot of room for error in their business. Many of the people John entered the program with have died. The book follows John on his last assignment. The exact target is unknown. He only knows it's one of three guys, partners in a prestigious law firm.

I have to say, as someone who grew up around foster kids I find the story of John's childhood to be, sadly, believable. It definitely makes you feel for the guy. He is hyper-aware of what is going on inside his own head and has no illusions about what he does for a living or has done in the past. I appreciate this in a narrator and a story. John does not write this book to clear his own head or think things through. He writes it as a cautionary tale for the kids that are following in his footsteps and at no point does he ever want to lie to them. This means, for the reader, that we get everything the character knows and is thinking without a lot of wishy-washy, pity-me stuff to muck up the story.

Overall, I enjoyed The Intern's Handbook and I am glad that I read it. But I won't be actively looking for more thriller novels and I will not be buying it for myself, though I wouldn't object to getting for someone else as a gift. I give this book 3.5 Hoots and encourage thriller readers to pick up a copy.


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