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The Intern's Handbook PDF, ePub eBook


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Title: The Intern's Handbook
Author: Shane Kuhn
Publisher: Published April 8th 2014 by Simon Schuster (first published January 1st 2014)
ISBN: 9781476733807
Status : FREE Rating :
4.6 out of 5

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Interns are invisible. That’s the mantra behind HR, Inc., an elite "placement agency" that doubles as a network of assassins-for-hire, taking down high-profile executives who wouldn't be able to remember an intern’s name if their lives depended on it. At the ripe old age of twenty-five, John Lago is already New York City’s most successful hit man. He’s also an intern at a p Interns are invisible. That’s the mantra behind HR, Inc., an elite "placement agency" that doubles as a network of assassins-for-hire, taking down high-profile executives who wouldn't be able to remember an intern’s name if their lives depended on it. At the ripe old age of 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 no one else wants to do. But he isn't trying to claw his way to the top of the corporate food chain. He was hired to assassinate one of the firm’s heavily guarded partners. His internship is the perfect cover, enabling him to gather intel and gain access in order to pull off a clean, untraceable hit. The Intern’s Handbook is John Lago's unofficial survival guide for new recruits at HR, Inc. (Rule #4: "Learn how to make the perfect cup of coffee: you make an exec the best coffee he’s ever had, and he will make sure you’re at his desk every morning for a repeat performance. That’s repetitive exposure, which begets access and trust. 44% of my kills came from my superior coffee-making abilities.") Part confessional, part how-to, the 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.

30 review for The Intern's Handbook

  1. 4 out of 5

    ☘Misericordia☘ ~ The Serendipity Aegis ~ ⚡ϟ⚡ϟ⚡⛈ ✺❂❤❣

    Corporate satire disguised as action novel. Q: “Intern maggot?” “Yes, sir.”(c) Q: Interns are invisible. You can tell executives your name a hundred times and they will never remember it because they have no respect for someone at the bottom of the barrel, working for free. The irony is that they will heap important duties on you with total abandon. The more of these duties you voluntarily accept, the more you will get, simultaneously acquiring TRUST AND ACCESS. Ultimately, your target will trust you Corporate satire disguised as action novel. Q: “Intern maggot?” “Yes, sir.”(c) Q: Interns are invisible. You can tell executives your name a hundred times and they will never remember it because they have no respect for someone at the bottom of the barrel, working for free. The irony is that they will heap important duties on you with total abandon. The more of these duties you voluntarily accept, the more you will get, simultaneously acquiring TRUST AND ACCESS. Ultimately, your target will trust you with his life and that is when you will take it. (c) Q: I’m spending the day boning up on all the law clerk nonsense I learned at different legal intern jobs. It’s not difficult. Mostly you’re there to make sure the actual lawyers are not fucking things up royally with poorly written language, utterly incorrect language, language copied from other contracts but never customized for the new contract, etc. And let me tell you, you are always busy. Being around lawyers is like being in a classroom full of kids with severe ADHD and low blood sugar. They have learned to despise detail so much that they subconsciously, or consciously, ignore it. For the most part, they are gunslingers, painting the town red with broad strokes, and they rely on the help to make sure the ship doesn’t sink and take their house in Montauk with it. (c) Q: The United States Department of Justice has issued a nationwide and international arrest warrant for John Lago. Lago is believed to be a senior operative in a network of contract assassins working within a shell organization known as “Human Resources, Inc.” Human Resources, Inc. (HR, Inc.), presents itself as a placement agency for office interns. (c) Q: Congratulations. And condolences. At the very least, you’re embarking on a career that you will never be able to describe as dull. You’ll go to interesting places. You’ll meet unique and stimulating people from all walks of life. And kill them. You’ll make a lot of money, but that will mean nothing to you after the first job. Assassination, no matter how easy it looks in the movies, is the most difficult, stressful, and lonely profession on the planet. From this point on, whenever you hear someone bitch about his job, it will take every fiber of your being to keep from laughing in his face. This work isn’t for everyone. Most of you are going to find that out the hard way because you’ll be dead by the end of the month. And that’s still just the training phase. If you’re having second thoughts, that’s a natural reaction. The idea of killing people for a living is what second thoughts were made for. In response to all of your questions regarding whether or not you’ll feel bad, lose your nerve, live in constant fear, or even want to kill yourself, I can provide one simple answer: yes. All of your worst nightmares will come true in ways you never imagined. And either you’ll get over it, or you’ll be gargling buckshot. Either way, you’re covered. When you reach your darkest hour—which will arrive daily—take comfort in the fact that you never really had much of a choice in the matter. (c) Q: First off, you’ve never been loved, so you feel no empathy for loss. To experience loss, you have to have had something to lose in the first place. Since love is the most important thing you can ever feel, and you’ve never felt it, then you are bereft of just about every emotion except anger. (c) Q: But at Human Resources, Inc., everything that made you a pariah will now make you a professional. (c) Q: If you had been raised by something other than wolves, you might have played football or basketball or earned your black belt in something. You would have excelled because you are stronger, faster, and more agile than the average person. Your reflexes are like lightning and your field of vision captures everything down to the finest detail. Incidentally, that’s why you avoid crowds. Simultaneously concentrating on every movement made by hundreds of people is not only overwhelming, but it also makes you hate humanity even more than you did before. Bottom line: you did not choose this career, it chose you. (c) Q: So, please be discreet, because there’s a good chance this handbook will save your life. (c) Q: For me, film is the great escape (which is also an amazing movie), and I recommend you cultivate an appreciation for it because you’re going to need something other than hideous, soul-eating nightmares to occupy your mind. Monsters like us can learn to be human beings from watching movies. All of the experiences we never had are covered in film, and they can be our emotional cave paintings, guiding our path among the ranks of normal society. (c) Q: I have news for you, brothers and sisters. The shortest distance between truth and bullshit is six feet straight down. (c) Q: Despite the fact that absolutely no one ever had my back, I’m rapidly approaching the ripe old age of twenty-five, a milestone that very few of you will ever cross. While most young professionals are just getting their careers started at twenty-five, that is the mandatory retirement age at HR, Inc. According to Bob, it is the cutoff point at which people begin to question anyone who would be willing to work for free. And I quote: “Even if people believe you are still an intern at twenty-five, you will call attention to yourself as a loser who is way behind in his or her career path. And calling attention to yourself is a death sentence.”(c) Q: Patterns are one of the FBI’s favorite pastimes. (c) Q: In some ways, getting into character is the most difficult part of the process. Your whole life, you have been one person. In this life, you will have to be many people. If that sounds fun to you, then you’ll do just fine. The secret is to immerse yourself so well into your new persona that even you believe you are this person. If you believe it, then you will never feel like you are lying and you will never exhibit any “tells.”The Look is one of your greatest weapons and it’s critical that you nail it. You might be thinking, How hard can it be to look like an office nerd? Answer: really fucking hard. And you can’t be perceived as a nerd anyway. Nerds are noticeable. They are the subjects of ridicule, despite the fact that Hollywood and TV Land try to tell you otherwise. I remember the faces of each and every nerd I beat to a pulp in my three glorious years of public school because I was angry about my shitty life and wanted to take it out on someone I knew would not fight back. The point is that you have to be more of a wallflower than anything else. You have to blend into your surroundings and be ultimately forgettable. (c) Q: Wallflowers have zero traits that stimulate the brains of other people and string together enough synapses to make memories. You always remember the things that rub you the right way or the wrong way. The positive and negative are both powerful memory reinforcement tools. Negative is more powerful than positive, which is based on your survival instincts. But you can’t remember something that doesn’t touch you in a positive or negative way. And this is our ultimate goal. We must learn from the wallflowers, life’s most perfect unintentional losers. (c) Q: I bought a few books on color theory, and sure enough, brown sparks the smallest neurological response of any color in the spectrum. It also elicits feelings of reliability and security, traits that are critical to gaining access and trust. So I built my wardrobe around this pillar of blandness, never straying too far. Brownish gray, brownish green, brownish black, etc. All of these colors are easily found in the sale rack of every department store because people do not intentionally buy clothing that will erase them from the universe. And when you put an entire outfit together with these colors, it’s like you are a chameleon wearing the perfect camouflage for every background in existence. (c) Q: I’ve had to convince some of the smartest people in New York City that I was qualified to perform menial tasks at law firms, hedge funds, military tech companies, security firms, commercial real estate companies, multinational oil and energy conglomerates, and the list goes on. I can bullshit my way into a lot of different fields, so I’m going to choose one and go kick as much ass there as I did here. (c) Q: All of our lives we’ve never been given the opportunity to develop our own identities. Many of us never had a real name and we certainly never had real parents or any kind of connection to our genealogies or cultures of origin. We never even had a room of our own—the great diorama of developing personalities festooned with posters, photos, tchotchkes, and all of the icons and totems that represent our every feeling, hope, and dream. We are the blank slate. Aristotle’s tabula rasa. And we are the masters of being a wolf in sheep’s clothing.Becoming someone else is one of my favorite parts of the job. It puts a silencer on my inhibitions and allows me to do and say things I would never say to people as my real self. That can be an extremely amusing exercise with the opposite sex. And it gives me a sense, although fleeting, of what a normal life might be like. It’s weird, but just having a taste of that has saved me from the rubber room on more than one occasion. As an added bonus, this well-developed skill will come in very handy when I finally molt out of my John Lago skin and slither into the real world of retirement. Tonight I’ll be taking a ride on the Bullshit Express. It’s one of my rituals when I prep for a job, and I strongly suggest you adopt it. I’ll go to a bar, buy anyone a drink, and start talking. When you buy someone a drink, they will almost always chat you up and ask you all about yourself, mainly because they want you to ask about them in return. People love to talk about themselves, especially white people. The Bullshit Express is how you field-test your knowledge of your cover dossier. You’ll be surprised at how well you do this when you have a real context. The more drinks you buy, the more practice you will get and the more you will find yourself adding to the story. This is a strong memorization technique that I like to call “owning it.” When you own it, you get to a point where you actually think it’s true, and then you are golden. Lies are, after all, the only things we tell ourselves that we truly believe. (c) Q: “ . . . You got into the internship program, huh?” “Yes.” “Impressive.” “Thank you.” I need to throw her off the scent, so I do the rudest thing I can imagine in the company of an attractive woman vying for my attention—I pull out my phone. And I bury my face in its colorful screen, like a crow mesmerized by Christmas tinsel. You know that face. It’s the social networking sneer you see on every app junkie getting a fix. It’s one of the most loathsome cultural phenomena in contemporary society and I can see that she has gone from digging me to wanting to dig her nails into my eyeballs. “You won’t last a week.” (c) Q: First impressions are everything. How you look and what you say in the first moments of meeting someone will instantly tell them more about you than they would learn if they knew you for a lifetime. Sounds like bullshit, right? Love at first sight is not a romantic notion, it’s an axiom based on the power of first impressions. This is why speed dating is the only dating that’s worth a damn. A dog only has to sniff another dog’s ass to know exactly where he stands. The point is that you have roughly sixty seconds to provoke affection, hatred, or indifference. Indifference is what we interns are striving for. This is why I recommend speaking from what is called “the top down.” It’s an old journalism thing. The inverted pyramid. And it is the pinnacle—albeit an inverted pinnacle—of objectivity. The journalist top loads the story with the most important facts, so if you only read the first paragraph, you got it. This style is bereft of what they call “editorializing”—a phenomenon wherein the journalist feels that we give a fuck about his opinion and we have to listen to it the entire time he reports the story. Tune into Bill O’Reilly or Anderson Cooper and you’ll see what I mean. Now download some old PBS NewsHour shows with Jim Lehrer. He does not offer opinions. He does not change his delivery the least bit, whether he’s talking about a minor tick down in the market or full-blown ethnic cleansing. This makes the listener focus on the story and not the person delivering it. Ironically, this whole approach came about through assassination. When Lincoln was shot, the telegraph story about his death at the hands of Booth was the first scoop ever for Reuters. “AMERICA. ASSASSINATION OF PRESIDENT LINCOLN.” A smoking gun of objectivity. What this means to you is that you speak only when spoken to. You do not volunteer opinions, make casual observations, or crack jokes. All of these actions would make you a person that the brains around you would want to analyze. I’m not saying be a mute. When someone else cracks a joke, you smile but do not laugh. Your laugh may sound ridiculous and then you are “that guy or girl with the fucked-up laugh”—a memorable title. When people offer opinions, you nod or let them know you’re listening. In the end, they’ll think you’re shy—an innocent wallflower that they have no interest in pursuing. Do any of the kids on the playground even look at the shy kid sitting by himself in the sand? Hell no. And when you are asked for your opinion or even just asked a question, you answer like a telegraph journalist. Top-level facts, delivered in an even, relaxed, and emotionless tone. Once they get what they want, they will leave you alone. And the beauty of it is this: they will always remember that someone else gave them the information, someone they like. Our minds are not interested in truth. They are our private twenty-four-hour news cycle putting a constant spin on reality. It’s like The Matrix. Everyone is plugged in to the Bullshit Express. (c) Q: “You fucking maggots make me want to puke.” That’s Hartman, the fifty-something office manager and wannabe drill sergeant in charge of the interns. He wants us to think he’s some kind of ex-military hard case with his flattop and shiny black boots. I’ve seen Cub Scouts with more Oorah. ... “Twenty-five of you stand before me today—which is a world record for consecutive shit stains.” ... I look past him, not down like the others. Looking down means you are feigning subservience, and this guy knows we are all a bunch of egomaniacal assholes. So, I don’t disrespect him by looking him in the eye and I don’t call attention to myself by pretending to be afraid of him. ... His contempt quickly turns to beautiful indifference. ... “You will each be randomly assigned to different departments. And you will work like you’ve never worked in your life. You will not sleep. You will barely eat. And don’t be surprised if the gallons of rotgut coffee you drink make you piss blood for a week. I will weed out all nonhackers in my beloved intern corps. Do you understand me, maggots?” “Yes, sir!” we all bellow.(c) Q: Rule #3: Go postal. (c) Q: I leave without a word. ALWAYS let them have the last word in every conversation. If you trail off with some useless acknowledgment, they will hate you for assuming they give a fuck about any word that comes out of your mouth other than yes. (c) Q: Admins HATE making coffee, even though it’s part of their job. That’s because all of them are “just doing this job while they pursue a career in ________.” Fill in the blank: actress, singer, porn star, reality show freak—same shit, different day job. (c) Q: Then I saw him standing in a long line outside Starbucks one morning with his goon detail. So I stepped up to talk to him, and one of his goons almost curbed me in the bus lane. I showed him my key card and told him to go to his desk, that I would handle this for him and that he shouldn’t be drinking the monkey piss they serve at Starbucks anyway. The goons thought that was funny. The nerdy exec chilled out. Instant connection. Since this was a particularly difficult access scenario, I had to bring in the big guns, so to speak. So I brought him a cup of El Injerto from the Huehuetenango region of Guatemala—150 euros a pound and not available for purchase in this country. Ground the beans myself. (I keep an entire coffee service case in my cube at all times.) Served it with unpasteurized French cream and raw sugar cane lumps. Guy looked like he wanted to kiss me or be my bunk mate in a Turkish prison. (c) Q: I know a lot about the law, but these people are Ivy League law school graduates. They are probably smarter than most of the fucking associates already working at the firm. And ambitious? Forget about it. They would sell their parents to a zombie slaughterhouse if they thought it could get them a meeting with Mark Zuckerberg. (c) Q: Q: I remember thinking that the leaves were more beautiful dead than they were alive. And I stopped crying about the things I would never have, because I knew they meant nothing. (c) Q: Ma Ville Lumière. You are the dream that came true. (c)

  2. 5 out of 5

    Will M.

    John Lago is an assassin disguised as an intern. Interns are invisible, and that makes it the best costume for an assassin. He has been doing this for years now, and he's in his last mission. He's planning of retiring, and his last mission is not the easiest one of all. This was a mixture of craziness and awesome action. It was really hard to like during the first part, but once I've grown to like the main character, the novel was very fast paced. In a way, it was a simple story, but there were John Lago is an assassin disguised as an intern. Interns are invisible, and that makes it the best costume for an assassin. He has been doing this for years now, and he's in his last mission. He's planning of retiring, and his last mission is not the easiest one of all. This was a mixture of craziness and awesome action. It was really hard to like during the first part, but once I've grown to like the main character, the novel was very fast paced. In a way, it was a simple story, but there were a lot of plot twists near the end. Only one really struck me as a really good one, but most of them were really good nonetheless. I just didn't see those things happening. I was fixated on certain things happening, so when I didn't get what I was expecting, I realized how good this novel was. Most crime novels are predictable, but this one proved itself otherwise. Not the best crime novel I've read, but I can add it to one of my favorites in that genre. Romance in this genre is very evident already, but it takes a good novel for the romance to feel real and not forced. John and Alice were a fun read. They reminded me of a lot of strong couples in movies who you know would work out in the end, no matter what. As for the main plot, all I can say is that it delivered. It promised a handbook containing his last mission, and it really did. His life story was a short but fun read. Sometimes I wonder if I would make a good assassin or detective, because their field of work just interests me a lot. Don't worry though, I probably wouldn't end up as one. It also contained a lot of medical jargons that I enjoyed a lot. And the precision of how he killed the ones he was supposed to, and then explaining what would happen next was a great thing to read. 4.5/5 stars. The only thing that ruined this novel would be that terrible ending. If it weren't for that, this might have had made it to my favorites list. When I saw the book cover, and read the synopsis on the dust jacket while I was at my local bookstore, I knew I was going to enjoy this novel. It was a short but fast paced crime book. Highly recommended. I can't wait for the sequel to come out soon.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Ash Wednesday

    3.5 STARS I am wet shoes. I am cold, damp breath. I am sweating hands. I am gravity crushing the grass beneath my boots. I am Kevlar and metal and lead. I am laser sighting. I am death. And I am coming. It feels like yesterday I was just writing a review about a sociopathic young male assassin facing THE conflict that will change his life. The difference between that book and this one of course being, John Lago (the author of this handbook) reminds me a bit of Drew Evans… without the manwhoring, misogyn 3.5 STARS I am wet shoes. I am cold, damp breath. I am sweating hands. I am gravity crushing the grass beneath my boots. I am Kevlar and metal and lead. I am laser sighting. I am death. And I am coming. It feels like yesterday I was just writing a review about a sociopathic young male assassin facing THE conflict that will change his life. The difference between that book and this one of course being, John Lago (the author of this handbook) reminds me a bit of Drew Evans… without the manwhoring, misogynistic charm and within the context of killing people professionally. The swagger, the ADD narrative, the nicknames for his junk (twig and berries vs cash and prizes… choose your poison), the movie quotes (gad the movie quotes) and references, the testosteroned one-liners… its like they’re brothers from different mothers. So in terms of entertainment value this one definitely brought it home. In terms of being a satisfying, cohesive book it left a little to be desired. This was actually meant to be read as a handbook for the undercover operatives of Human Resources Inc. written by current fugitive John Lago. HR Inc poses itself as a placement agency for office interns who are actually assassins targeting CEOs and executives getting embroiled in dirty extracurricular activities. Lago is one such agent, the best in the field. Initially, the handbook served as an informal guide for his colleagues in training but as he discusses the rules, methods and finer points in killing people he also unravels his personal philosophies about the job, the organisation and life in general through anecdotes of his missions. Particularly his last before retirement, where he infiltrates a top law firm in New York as an intern to find and eliminate the partner selling the FBI’s Witness Protection list to the highest bidder. Biggest issue: the handbook vs Zen guide vs rom-suspense novel narrative just messed with my investment towards John as a character. It shifts gears from being an actual guide to a manifesto to a romantic testosterone novel delivered by a snarky, rightfully arrogant narrator with a snobby taste in films. The integration of these details felt like it lacked a certain degree of finesse. It didn’t feel seamless enough for me not to notice the shifts in the pace and direction. As a handbook it was actually quite interesting. John was an engaging narrator, a healthy mix of Tarantino (the person, not his films), mid to late 90s Cusack and essentially a Robin Leach-esque guide to the Lifestyles of the Trained and Deadly. He’s a pop culture junkie with a gift for snark and irony doling out lessons that may just come handy when you do decide to kill someone or in alcohol-laced trivia games in parties. From this book you learn: *The preferences of crime organizations in killing people. (Though this one you could also learn from watching Sons of Anarchy and any Scorsese film) *The materials needed to efficiently dispose a body. *How much a bottle of 1956 Glen Garioche costs. *How much you need to shell out for a bag of exotic Guatemalan coffee to be a weapon in your internly operations. *Four of the eighteen principles of ninjutsu. *How to remember the full chemical nomenclature of Amphetamine. *What does your gun say about your personality. So it was pretty fun AND informative in that aspect. Plus, unlike in some contemporary assassin books I've read as of late preferring clean efficiency, Kuhn doesn't shy away from the gore and, had this been a film itself, gratuitous violence. Tradecraft Tarantino indeed. Unfortunately, John's wild, ADD tendencies tend to distract from the fact that this is supposed to be a guidebook. Not a manifesto or the amusing ramblings of a killer. As a rom-suspense, this was pretty standard-fare. Our male protagonist is emotionally crippled by his colored past but he must make use of the whip-smart junior associate in the firm Alice, as an asset in his operation by having a beyond professional affair with her. (view spoiler)[ I use my legs to constrict her chest cavity - like a boa constrictor. This actually forces blood to her head and heart while making it impossible for her to breathe. She passes out but only due to increased pressure in the brain transmitted through the veins returning to the chest. This is common in crush injury patients. I do it this way because I don’t want her to suffer irreparable brain damage from oxygen deprivation. If that’s not love, I don’t know what is. (hide spoiler)] The chemistry, the banter and the tension between John and Alice was there but it could have been executed better. The conversations in transcript form was good, consistency-wise with what Kuhn is trying to sell, but it also made the book feel emotionally sterile. Though one can argue this is not rom-suspense, but then from a certain standpoint, that's pretty debatable. Because I'm not sure if this would work without the reader being sympathetic to John. To be honest, I was in certain stretches and wasn't in others. I also wished for more John acting as an actual intern rather than glossing over the finer details of his cover in exchange for anecdotes and mindgames with Bob. Yet inspite of all my issues with this story's delivery, I'd be lying if I claim this to be predictable or anything that I expected. I'd also be doing this book a disservice if I discuss the experience as a whole any further. It was... Interesting, let's leave it at that. It’s like the end of a Scooby Doo episode written by the fucking Manson family... on acid. Thanks to Robin for Buddy Reading this with me! <3 Also on Booklikes.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Mimi

    It's been brought to my attention that this book is also called "Kill Your Boss." Hah. Cute. * * * * * I got this book through GR's first-read giveaway. What drew me in at first was the cover art (so gimmicky, it's got to be one of my favorites), the whole "assassin posing as an intern" premise, and the promise of humor. So I went into this book expecting a fun read. It was not a fun read. It's actually a screenplay given a lot of padding to look like a book. Why this story isn't a movie but a book It's been brought to my attention that this book is also called "Kill Your Boss." Hah. Cute. * * * * * I got this book through GR's first-read giveaway. What drew me in at first was the cover art (so gimmicky, it's got to be one of my favorites), the whole "assassin posing as an intern" premise, and the promise of humor. So I went into this book expecting a fun read. It was not a fun read. It's actually a screenplay given a lot of padding to look like a book. Why this story isn't a movie but a book is a mystery to me because it's got all the trappings of a summer flick. Or better yet, a low-brow Bond-inspired action-comedy. Review moved to https://covers2covers.wordpress.com/2...

  5. 4 out of 5

    Flannery

    I received an ARC from Simon & Schuster Canada. This book read like an action movie (which makes sense since Shane Kuhn works in film): lots of action, but poor characterization, a nonsensical conceit, and shoddy plotting. The main character, John Lago, is basically a 25-year-old James Bond, but without the glamour or MI6 background. What Lago has in common with Bond is having no conscience and basically womanizing all day long. He drinks, he does drugs, he survives impossible situations, inv I received an ARC from Simon & Schuster Canada. This book read like an action movie (which makes sense since Shane Kuhn works in film): lots of action, but poor characterization, a nonsensical conceit, and shoddy plotting. The main character, John Lago, is basically a 25-year-old James Bond, but without the glamour or MI6 background. What Lago has in common with Bond is having no conscience and basically womanizing all day long. He drinks, he does drugs, he survives impossible situations, invents impossibly convenient gadgets, has daddy issues, and still manages to fool high-status businessmen that he is a harmless fool. Where James Bond is a likeable audience-proxy character, John Lago is unlikeable, hypocritical, contradictory, and a general douche. No heart of gold here. Every woman is a sexual object for Lago to ogle! Lago "has no love in [him]" and uses verbatim lines from romcoms to pick up chicks. There's a lot of gender essentialism and objectification ("Men = confused and desperate for pussy. Women = powerful because they have the pussy."). Lago repeatedly drugs his girlfriend without her knowing with no second thoughts. He also claims to love her, despite his earlier statement that he doesn't know what love is, and planning to shamelessly use her for information and/or kill her. This book tries really hard for Lago to have "changed by love" and "this woman taught me how to ~feel~" plotlines, but they are so terribly done that they strain credulity at every turn. This is not even to go into Alice, his love interest, who is basically a poorly-conceived sexual fantasy. The conceit of this book is that Lago is telling the reader, a new intern at the Human Resources assassin company, his tricks of the trade as he was one of the best assassins. It is incredibly difficult to relate to the "you" that Lago speaks to, because he asserts that "you" are a heartless killer, who has no family, has been abused, who doesn't know what love is, never had a friend, etc etc otherwise you wouldn't be an intern assassin, right? This created a huge disconnect for me. Lago's "handbook" is basically his memoir, with tips like "Rule 9: God opposes the proud, but gives grace to the humble"...which is a stellar tip to help you kill people, am I right? The story itself is basically 900 ways John Lago screws up his last job, so this is totally the right one to give to interns to read as an example, right? This structure really bugged me because it both distanced me from the story by making the proxy entirely unrelatable, and making no sense as to why the interns would be given this anyway. I could probably forgive this book if its treatment of women were better. As it is, I don't recommend this book.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Robin (Bridge Four)

    3.5 Stars Buddy read with Ash Its John’s final assignment before he is forced into retirement at the ripe old age of 25, he has made it longer than most the people he started out in the assassin business with. As a parting gift he is giving the next generation of assassins an instruction manual of sorts so they might be better prepared for the life they’ve chosen. Don’t kid yourself. If you’re going to do this, you can’t ever try to justify it. You are the bad guy, and that is your role. Without 3.5 Stars Buddy read with Ash Its John’s final assignment before he is forced into retirement at the ripe old age of 25, he has made it longer than most the people he started out in the assassin business with. As a parting gift he is giving the next generation of assassins an instruction manual of sorts so they might be better prepared for the life they’ve chosen. Don’t kid yourself. If you’re going to do this, you can’t ever try to justify it. You are the bad guy, and that is your role. Without you, there is no benchmark for judging good guys. We are the yin. Civilians are the yang. This book reads like it has multiple personalities. There are three distinct writing styles that make it a little choppy. There is John in the voice of the handbook, John in the book and then there are written transcripts by the FBI that covered some of the dialogue between John and others. I liked John but I think I would have connected to him more if it was told in one voice. However he was still fun the story remained interesting and just when I got comfortable in the direction of it, something shifted and it became entirely different. The Handbook: This was so entertaining. There were some great assassin tips in there. John really didn’t hold anything back on how brutal the life of an assassin could be and he definitely didn’t seem to sugar coat it. He has learned how to blend and fake emotions so that no one else can see the empty mess of a monster that he is, but he still knows he is a monster. Monsters like us can learn to be human beings from watching movies. All of the experiences we never had are covered in film, and they can be our emotional cave paintings, guiding out path among the ranks of normal society. He has also learned how to hide in plain sight and the best way to get close to someone of importance can be to be the little peon in the office that no one can remember the name of because they are there working for free until they can move up the ladder. Rule #4: Learn how to make the perfect cup of coffee You can make copies and do runs until you are blue in the face and an exec will not give a shit. You make him the best cup of goddamned coffee he’s ever had and he may not remember your name but he will make damn sure you are at his desk every morning for a repeat performance. This solidifies my theory that coffee can be used for good or evil. To kill someone all you really need is access and I know a lot of people who would sell their soul for a good cup of coffee. There is always a way to get close to someone, close enough to kill them and John has found a way every time. Throughout the manual John gives examples of other kills he has committed and how he put himself into the position to be able to do it. Each one is different but totally educational. The Internship and the Love Interest : For his last assignment John is sent to a very upscale law firm. So upscale that he must earn a nonpaying position survivor style. While he’d like to just start killing off the competition that might be noticed so better to woo someone in the office that can help him in the front door. Problem is to say that I am capable of romance is like saying the spider is capable of spending a weekend in Cabo with the fly and enjoying a couple’s massage. Don’t worry the romantic aspect of the book did not in any way take over. I loved the light touch on the story that it had and I really liked the new dilemmas John had to face since he really hasn’t ever had a relationship with someone, so faking one isn’t something he is prepared for. The dynamic between he and Alice was funny and never got too serious. Actually just when I was enjoying the fluff of it…..BAM the books multiple personality disorder took over and I was whisked away on a train to a section of crazy town I hadn’t been to before. I have mixed feelings about this book. I enjoyed it so much in some areas and then in others I squinched my forehead together with the wtf of it. But I’m rounding up because it did what many books I read do not, it totally surprised me. I did not guess the ending, I did not even come close and for that alone I’ll bump it up and say well played Mr. Kuhn, well played.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Spartarus

    This book was powerfully terrible. The writing was appaling; the story is fraught with cliches, inconsistency, and piss-poor action sequences... Here's my top 2, of many, problems with the book. -The main character exhibits probably the most inconsistent, incongruous personality I've ever seen. He talks many times about how he is an emotionless robot with no qualms about killing whoever he has to, stating that he has no moral code and no ability to connect emotionally... He then routinely exhibits This book was powerfully terrible. The writing was appaling; the story is fraught with cliches, inconsistency, and piss-poor action sequences... Here's my top 2, of many, problems with the book. -The main character exhibits probably the most inconsistent, incongruous personality I've ever seen. He talks many times about how he is an emotionless robot with no qualms about killing whoever he has to, stating that he has no moral code and no ability to connect emotionally... He then routinely exhibits strong emotions and a surprisingly consistent moral code throughout the book, even saying he would reach a "moral impasse" with his boss over the killing of a few civilians. REALLY? -The book is very poorly researched (SPOILERS). I accept that fiction can bend reality for the sake of convenience, or for effect, but this book breaks the fucking bank. Pilots, gun owners, lawyers and paralegals, medical professionals, and any professional working with computers should skip the book, it may be harmful to their blood pressure. Kuhn attempts to provide an exhaustive amount of detail on an broad array of technical subjects, from computers and drugs to guns and airplanes. It is immediately apparent, however, that his knowledge doesn't match the level of detail he is attempting to provide, as he simply makes shit up all over the place. The problem is the flow of the story breaks any time a reader stumbles across a detail that significantly rewrites reality. For a minor example, "The other is trying to flick the safety off his Glock" ...before the reader realizes there isn't a fucking manual safety on ANY GLOCK EVER. A more significant detail is the entire Gulfstream jet sequence. Pilots should avoid this section, lest they throw the book away in disgust. (view spoiler)[Kuhn spits technical details about the plane down to the numbers, and then gets most of them wrong. He then has Mr. invincible badass stow away inside a landing gear bay too small for a large cat, and open a nonexistent man-sized hatch in a pressurized cabin from the outside at altitude (functionally impossible due to the pressure differential)... and he does this, wait for it...without depressurizing the cabin. Shortly after this MAN SIZED HATCH in the pressure vessel fails to cause any problems, a comparatively tiny bullet hole causes the plane to have a fully automated shit-fit. (hide spoiler)]

  8. 5 out of 5

    Marvin

    John Lagos is an assassin. He has been an assassin since he was 12 years old. He is 25 and ready to retire although he is a bit suspicious on what "retire" means in his business and especially to his boss. He works for a mysterious company that specializes in high end assassinations usually putting the hit man into an intern's position at the company where their high profile victims reside. Why interns, you ask? As John Lagos' boss, Bob, states... "Interns are invisible. You can tell an executive John Lagos is an assassin. He has been an assassin since he was 12 years old. He is 25 and ready to retire although he is a bit suspicious on what "retire" means in his business and especially to his boss. He works for a mysterious company that specializes in high end assassinations usually putting the hit man into an intern's position at the company where their high profile victims reside. Why interns, you ask? As John Lagos' boss, Bob, states... "Interns are invisible. You can tell an executive your name a hundred times and that executive will never remember it because they have no respect for someone at the bottom of the barrel, working for free. The rapport they have with their private urinal far exceeds the rapport they will ever have with you." All this is pretty cynical and John is a cynical man. Having your mother die before he was born, being raised in abusive foster care families and being cared for by a sociopath slightly colors your view on life. John Lagos places that cynicism up front in his manual for future hit men but, being the sociopath he is, he can't help talking about himself...to our delight. Shane Kuhn's The Intern's Handbook starts out a little normal for a thriller like this. John is trying to get out of the business, he gets one last hit with no clear target, shit hits the fan, and there's a woman involved ready to make life complicated. Sounds like some movies you seen? That's not surprising considering the author is a veteran of the film business. Yet there is enough original twists and turns in this book to make us realize that Kuhn is on to something original. John Lagos may not be the guy you want to have a beer with but there is something sad and redeemable about him, so he is easy to root for despite his profession. His evolution from professional sociopath to ??? is quite believable, thanks to a some nice back story involving his parents. (I'm predicting Bradley Cooper for the main role assuming there ever is a movie) I must admit I felt the intern hook was a little farfetched at first but the author builds us into the idea well and pretty soon I am a believer. There is nice structuring and good overall characterization throughout. (While I'm fantasizing, how about Terry O'Quinn (John Locke from Lost for Bob?). As you can tell from my asides, this book does read like a fast moving thriller and would make for a nifty movie. But as a novel, it may rank as one of 2014's first top notch summer reads. If you like good thrillers that you can immerse yourself in, then The Intern's Handbook comes highly recommended.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Siv30

    "המדריך למתנקש המתחיל" הוא מותחן בלתי צפוי שתחילתו בספר הדרכה למתנקשים שנמצאים בשלבי הכשרה שונים שלהם וסופו פתרון תעלומה וסיפור אהבה. עד כמה הזוי שהמשפט הבא ישמע לכם, הוא אחד מהספרים המרעננים שיצא לי לקרוא בשנה האחרונה. כן, אני יודעת שהוא לא כל כך זכה לתשומת הלב הראויה לו מאז תרגומו לעברית (והעדות לכך שלא מצאתי ברשת אף סקירה על הספר בעברית) ואני גם יודעת שחלק מהקוראים באנגלית לא סבלו את הספר. אבל אני אהבתי אותו, אהבתי את הדמות המרכזית והמספרת, ג'ון לאגו, חשבתי שהוא קורע מצחוק וחוש ההומור שלו הור "המדריך למתנקש המתחיל" הוא מותחן בלתי צפוי שתחילתו בספר הדרכה למתנקשים שנמצאים בשלבי הכשרה שונים שלהם וסופו פתרון תעלומה וסיפור אהבה. עד כמה הזוי שהמשפט הבא ישמע לכם, הוא אחד מהספרים המרעננים שיצא לי לקרוא בשנה האחרונה. כן, אני יודעת שהוא לא כל כך זכה לתשומת הלב הראויה לו מאז תרגומו לעברית (והעדות לכך שלא מצאתי ברשת אף סקירה על הספר בעברית) ואני גם יודעת שחלק מהקוראים באנגלית לא סבלו את הספר. אבל אני אהבתי אותו, אהבתי את הדמות המרכזית והמספרת, ג'ון לאגו, חשבתי שהוא קורע מצחוק וחוש ההומור שלו הורס, למרות תפקידו כרוצח שכיר. ג'ון הוא לא סוציופת רצחני הוא אנושי והוא פשוט עושה את העבודה שלו בצורה הטובה ביותר כדי לשרוד. הספר בנוי בשלושה צירים: הציר הראשון, כשמו כן הוא, מדריך למתנקש המתחיל. אותו המתנקש אליו פונה הספר, ישובץ כנראה במשרת מתמחה שתאפשר לו להגיע קרוב עד כמה שניתן ליעד שלו. ג'ון לאגו פשוט מציג למתנקש המתחיל מספר כללי אצבע של תעשה ולא תעשה והם מלווים בדוגמאות, שכן אין חכם כבעל ניסיון (ג'ון עצמו שמגיל 12 גוייס והוכשר כמתנקש שכיר). כמספר וכמדריך, ג'ון מתגלה במלוא הדרו. הוא ממוקד, מעניין, משעשע, והדוגמאות שהוא מציג, שאלוהים ישמור. הציר הזה מגלה לקורא גם כיצד שרד ג'ון עד גיל המופלג 25 מבלי להיהרג באחת ממשימות החיסול שבהן השתתף. אופיו הפרוע והבלתי צפוי של ג'ון, היצירתיות והחשדנות הטבעית שבו הצליחו להביאו עד הלום. בציר השני של הספר, מתואר סיפור חיו של ג'ון לאגו ומערכת יחסיו עם הממונה שלו שהוציא אותו מביב השופכין שחיי בו עד גיל 12 והכשיר אותו להיות רוצח מיומן נוסח ג'יימס בונד (רק חסר העידון הבריטי שכל כך אופייני לבונד). בציר הזה, אי אפשר שלא להתרשם ממערכת היחסים האמביוולנטית והחשדנית שבין שניהם, ובצדק. ג'ון גדל בבתי אומנה אחרי שאימו הנרקומנית נרצחה ואביו נמלט כשנחשד ברצח שלה. המנטור שלו הוא הדבר שהכי קרוב להיות לו לאב ומשפחה ומאידך הוא הדבר שהכי מעורר בו חשדות. בציר השלישי של הספר, זהו סיפור מתח ואהבה במיטב המסורת הג'יימס בונדית. העלילה מחוררת כגבינה שווצרית והאירועים הזויים וחלקם בלתי מוסברים. אבל מי צריך הסבר כשהגיבור שלנו ג'ון לאגו מצליח לפול ולקום כמו האמפטי דמפטי ושורד מלחמת עולם שלישית? שלא תחשבו שלא גיחכתי במהלך הקריאה מהמופרכות של האירועים ושלא לדבר על אליס המופלאה, המרגלת שהגיעה מהכפור. אז כן, אהבתי את הקריאה בספר ואת הדמות של ג'ון. גיחכתי לי בשקט מהמופרכות של העלילה ההזויה ואני ממליצה עליו בחום. יש בספר קטעים מטומטמים לחלוטין, אבל למי אכפת כל זמן שהספר מהנה והעלילה קולחת.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Aisling

    Refreshingly different! I won this book on Goodreads. My honest review is that I have found a new favorite author. This book was a humorous but carefully crafted look at an assassin's trade. I loved the writing, the pacing and the plots. Highly recommend!!

  11. 4 out of 5

    Silea

    An action movie on paper, but suspension of disbelief can only hold for an hour or two. I'll buy that John is a serious bad-a$$ and can perform feats of strength, agility, and stamina that we mere mortals have trouble comprehending, but the point where he got a piece of his heel shot off and could still walk was just nonsense. The plot got more and more contrived as it went, jumping the shark without a backward glance around 2/3 of the way through the book. And i got really, really tired of John An action movie on paper, but suspension of disbelief can only hold for an hour or two. I'll buy that John is a serious bad-a$$ and can perform feats of strength, agility, and stamina that we mere mortals have trouble comprehending, but the point where he got a piece of his heel shot off and could still walk was just nonsense. The plot got more and more contrived as it went, jumping the shark without a backward glance around 2/3 of the way through the book. And i got really, really tired of John giving the specs on some neat piece of technology he's about to deploy, then casually mentioning that it's his own design. In all, but book was fun at times. There wasn't nearly enough snark, but when it showed up, it was golden. But it read like a modern rip-off of American Psycho, pushing the line between belief and disbelief as if tempting us to suspect that our narrator is not reliable. I think it ended up at an unhappy medium, not crazy enough to be a fun ride but not grounded enough to carry any emotional weight.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Leo

    Things that make a book FREAKING AWESOME!: ·Great premise ·Compelling lead ·Twists whenever you don't see them coming ·Trigger happy people ·A writer that knows how to make exciting the on paper most boring details about for example, the inner workings of a gun. ·Another twist that will leave you ·THE TWIST THAT WILL LEAVE YOU LIKE... I DON'T HAVE A GIF FOR THAT.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Mike French

    Fasten your seatbelts, you are in for a wild ride! The chase scene in "Bullitt" is a Sunday ride in the country compared to this!! Shane Kuhn has written my favorite novel in 2014!

  14. 5 out of 5

    Toribio Puente

    I can't believe this book almost got 5 stars! I mean, to be fair this was Shane Kuhn's first novel and not everyone is going to write Carrie as their first novel, but this book was NOT worthy of even 2 stars, let-alone 4! The main character, John Lago, is just . . . awful! Everyone can see it's basically James Bond and Barney Stinson put into one obnoxious, self obsessed, douche, right? He's suppose to be smooth like 007, but has a cocky humor like Stinson. Then he's suppose to be this murderer w I can't believe this book almost got 5 stars! I mean, to be fair this was Shane Kuhn's first novel and not everyone is going to write Carrie as their first novel, but this book was NOT worthy of even 2 stars, let-alone 4! The main character, John Lago, is just . . . awful! Everyone can see it's basically James Bond and Barney Stinson put into one obnoxious, self obsessed, douche, right? He's suppose to be smooth like 007, but has a cocky humor like Stinson. Then he's suppose to be this murderer with a heart made of stone and lava, then he's falling head over heels for some whore that he had one drink with, after he just said he doesn't sleep with his co-workers! It's like Kuhn was trying way too hard to make this character likeable and warm hearted, yet also a sly, cold blooded killer. Which works for other characters, but Kuhn just can't execute it with John Lago. He plays off of way too many Bond movies and probably LOVES Jason Statham by the looks of it. It was also slightly reminiscent of a shitty remake of Wanted. The dialog is horrid all around, but more specifically, when [spoilers] John and Alice start talking when they first meet at the bar. I swear to God, I forgot I was reading a "thriller". At a certain point, even Kuhn must have chuckled a little to himself while writing this. At first I thought the characters actually knew each other and were just messing around, playing dumb, but when it kept on, I just . . . couldn't. Then they met again, and again, and each time, though my tolerance level eased slightly, I still couldn't take their relationship seriously at all. I also hate how Kuhn constantly feels the need to try show off exactly how "bad ass" his character is. After a while, it kind of felt like: "Okay, we get it, he knows martial arts and Kung-Fu, he's "bad-ass", the ladies love him, he's a movie buff, and he has a gigantic penis, now could you stop the ego boosting and just get back to the story?" At one point, he actually starts listing some of the complex fighting styles he knows and then mentions how he built these super cool, spy weapons himself that he's not trying to impress anyone with. If that isn't bragging, I don't know what anything is everrrrrrrrrrrr<>:,,,457756$%^$%6%^$#%&(&...ww766887jhdbksjdhvsndmv. This story is basically about Lago getting super hot chicks, driving sick fast cars, showing off his Kung-Fu fighting skillz, action, action, action, being a lone wolf, bragging about every self destructive/ego-empowering thing he has done at the young age of 25, all while showing off how much girls love him, guys want to be him, and how perfectly "awsume" he is. . . But I did like some of the rules he listed. Some are painfully obvious, but others are very helpful if you want to blend in at a new job, or oppositely, stand out. And the coffee tip is genius in theory, but it's obviously not a guarantee. Also, for a "handbook", it's pretty much a braggadocios memoir. And if anyone actually read all of this review, thank you for listening to me bitch and whine.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Michaela Mitsuko Sklenářová

    NEČTĚTE TUHLE KNÍŽKU! Myslím to vážně! Protože jestli ji někdo přečtete a pak se mi ji pokusíte byť jen jedním slovem pohanit, budu vás muset zabít! Akce syrová jako tatarák,cynismus tuhý jak stará mrtvola,suchý humor,ironie,... možná bude kratší vyjmenovat,co mi v knížce chybělo - NIC. A dokonce i děj! Wow,to byla jízda! Kdo uhodne předem všechny jeho kličky, musí být zpropadenej génius. A pokud si stejně jako já děláte v průběhu čtení mentální poznámky k nesrovnalostem v ději,buďte připraveni NEČTĚTE TUHLE KNÍŽKU! Myslím to vážně! Protože jestli ji někdo přečtete a pak se mi ji pokusíte byť jen jedním slovem pohanit, budu vás muset zabít! Akce syrová jako tatarák,cynismus tuhý jak stará mrtvola,suchý humor,ironie,... možná bude kratší vyjmenovat,co mi v knížce chybělo - NIC. A dokonce i děj! Wow,to byla jízda! Kdo uhodne předem všechny jeho kličky, musí být zpropadenej génius. A pokud si stejně jako já děláte v průběhu čtení mentální poznámky k nesrovnalostem v ději,buďte připraveni na to,že o kus dál autor ty poznámky vezme, zmuchlá do kuličky a vrhne vám je do ksichtu, zatímco o dalších pár stran později vás ještě královsky nakope do prdele, abyste si to pamatovali. A to neříkám jen kvůli momentálnímu rozpoložení,kdy se mi hodí myšlenka na absenci rádoby hlubokých keců a nutnosti asertivního jednání vůči pitomcům. Příručka stážisty mi připomněla, proč jsem se v 11 letech zamilovala do Johna Connora a celého Terminátora 2 - nesere se s ničím a nikým a navzdory průserům,které se okolo nakupí, se o sebe dokáže postarat a to navíc s grácií a nadhledem. Prostě příběh podle mýho gusta,který by se mi líbil v 11, zamilovala jsem si ho teď a určitě i za 20 let si ho ráda přečtu.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Kimberly

    4.5 stars I won this book in a Goodreads Giveaway, and it is the first I have read by Shane Kuhn. This comedic/thriller is the story of John Lago, a hit man who gains access to his targets by infiltrating their organizations as a lowly intern. There were parts of this that were tongue-in-cheek hysterical, mixed in with all the great elements and drama of a thriller. Emotion? Yes, this book has that as well. What starts out as a "handbook" to would-be employees of Human Resources, Inc., turns into 4.5 stars I won this book in a Goodreads Giveaway, and it is the first I have read by Shane Kuhn. This comedic/thriller is the story of John Lago, a hit man who gains access to his targets by infiltrating their organizations as a lowly intern. There were parts of this that were tongue-in-cheek hysterical, mixed in with all the great elements and drama of a thriller. Emotion? Yes, this book has that as well. What starts out as a "handbook" to would-be employees of Human Resources, Inc., turns into a very well written, adrenaline fueled book that will have all of your emotions racing at one point or another! This is one of those cases where I wish we could rate with half stars: while I can't quite say "It was amazing!", it certainly rated higher than "I really liked it". I read the entire book in one day--the characters were captivating and engaging; I could never seem to find just the right place to stop in the narrative. I think this book would be particularly appreciated by fans of Jeff Strand, and J. A. Konrath's style. Recommended!

  17. 4 out of 5

    Katherine

    *smích* Oh shit... Shane Kuhn je jako malé dítě. Dítě, které s potěšením sleduje mravenečky a pak je prstíkem morduje. Hezky jednoho po druhém. Chudáčci maličcí. Úplně jsem ho viděla, jak se zamyšleným výrazem přemýšlí, koho ještě ve svém příběhu zabije. :D Pokud jste se někdy chtěli stát vrahem, je tato kniha přesně pro vás. Plná sarkasmu, cynismu a ironie. Slušná zápletka a tisíce druhů všech možných zbraňovitých zbraní pod sluncem. Totálně sympatický hlavní vražda-chlapák je samozřejmostí. Rekla *smích* Oh shit... Shane Kuhn je jako malé dítě. Dítě, které s potěšením sleduje mravenečky a pak je prstíkem morduje. Hezky jednoho po druhém. Chudáčci maličcí. Úplně jsem ho viděla, jak se zamyšleným výrazem přemýšlí, koho ještě ve svém příběhu zabije. :D Pokud jste se někdy chtěli stát vrahem, je tato kniha přesně pro vás. Plná sarkasmu, cynismu a ironie. Slušná zápletka a tisíce druhů všech možných zbraňovitých zbraní pod sluncem. Totálně sympatický hlavní vražda-chlapák je samozřejmostí. Reklama... No jo.. pěkné věci nám Knižní klub vydává, fakt se těšte!

  18. 5 out of 5

    Mihir

    Full review over at Fantasy Book Critic. ANALYSIS: There are some books that draw you in with their blurb descriptions about their protagonists such as Darkly Dreaming Dexter by Jeff Lindsay, I Am Not A Serial Killer by Dan Wells, Beat The Reaper by Josh Bazzell, etc and then completely hook you in with the content matter. The Intern’s Handbook seemed to be another such book and I couldn’t wait to read it and see how it would pan out. The story begins as a series of chapters in a handbook that d Full review over at Fantasy Book Critic. ANALYSIS: There are some books that draw you in with their blurb descriptions about their protagonists such as Darkly Dreaming Dexter by Jeff Lindsay, I Am Not A Serial Killer by Dan Wells, Beat The Reaper by Josh Bazzell, etc and then completely hook you in with the content matter. The Intern’s Handbook seemed to be another such book and I couldn’t wait to read it and see how it would pan out. The story begins as a series of chapters in a handbook that details the life of John Lago, one of the best assassins that Human Resources Inc. has to offer. He’s on the verge of becoming twenty-five years old and that means that he can no longer do what he does best. That seems ironical but the way HR Inc has become so proficient at their work, is because they send out people who are below the age of twenty five as interns and who are trained to be deadly killers. John Lago was inducted into HR Inc when he was twelve years old, he along with a group of twenty-six other like-minded individuals made up the batch. Only three remain and all of them are superbly efficient. John is given one last mission and after that he can decide whether to retire or not. His last assignment is to infiltrate New York’s most prestigious law firm; Bendini, Lambert & Locke. However the biggest drawback of the assignment is that there’s no target yet. Sure there’s someone to be terminated however he will have to ingratiate himself with all the senior members, keep his intern status and find out who the target is. Not an easy job but one John is prepared for. His biggest problem however comes in the form of Alice, who starts as part of his assignment but ends up complicating his life. This final assignment will be prove to be his nadir as he unlearns all that he gleaned so far and he still has to find out whom he has to kill, to finish it. The Intern's Handbook is Shane Kuhn's debut and a super fun story. John’s handbook for recent recruits is a handbook as well as his biography. I couldn’t stop reading once the story began and along with the twists, the story is told with a very dark comedic tone that helps massively. Here are a few examples of the author’s humor: “The shortest distance between truth and bullshit is six feet straight down.” “Hip-hop, you have f***** the King’s English for life, good on you.” “He calls himself a ‘big picture guy’, this is a Business 3.0 way of saying he doesn’t give a shit about anything but the bottom line.” “44% of my kills came from my superior coffee-making ability. It’s simple, puts you in direct contact with the target and it can be a vector for a variety of weapons.” Also similar to Columbus’ list of rules for survival in Zombieland, John has a set of rules that are interspersed between the chapters and which further help elucidate why he’s considered to be one of the best. The pace of the story is of the rapid kind as the twists pile on; it becomes even harder to put this down. Trust me you don’t want to start this book in the evening as that way you’ll end up reading late in the night till the story ends. Do what I did, reserve time for it and then read and chuckle along as the tale unfolds. The main protagonist is the big draw of the story as we get a hitman who while young in age, has developed a cynical attitude that seems more proper in one who would be in the 40-plus age range. John’s observations and his rules make the book stand out completely and kudos to the author for his top-drawer characterization. While we don’t get to much about the side character cast, they aren’t the two-dimensional ones and add to the character dynamic in many more ways. And to top it all, the climax of the story is quite an unpredictable one, which goes on to add to the charm of the book. Plus after reading the very last page, readers will definitely be clamoring for a sequel. With such stories, there are always points that go against it, for me the only point that didn't seem to gel was the fact that towards the latter third of the story, John Lago battles the antagonists who don't quite use all the weapons (both literally & figuratively) in their arsenal. Perhaps the author will shine a further light on this aspect in the sequels but for now, this point seemed a bit weak. In the end this was a dark, quirky assassin story that pays homages to several films and silver screen characters and takes a rather funny route towards its unpredictable climax. CONCLUSION: The Intern’s Handbook is a rip-roaring tale of an intern cum assassin, who plans to retire young but as often as it does with best-laid plans, his journey never goes where he plans it to be. This tale is quite apt for fans of the Dexter series, The Spellman Files & the John Wayne Cleaver trilogy. Make sure you don’t miss The Intern’s Handbook by Shane Kuhn, as far as debuts go, this one hits the bullseye.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Cyndi

    Hi. My name is Cyndi and I'm addicted to...television. You thought I was going to say books, didn't you? Well, that addiction is a given, right? But I'm also a tv junkie. In our house there is never any, "My children never watch tv." (Read that with a snooty accent, please.) Nope. We love tv AND books. Anyway, that is why I often compare books to a tv show, and that is why I think this book was a bit like 'Burn Notice.' There is a 'voice over' feel to the story while he is giving the best meth Hi. My name is Cyndi and I'm addicted to...television. You thought I was going to say books, didn't you? Well, that addiction is a given, right? But I'm also a tv junkie. In our house there is never any, "My children never watch tv." (Read that with a snooty accent, please.) Nope. We love tv AND books. Anyway, that is why I often compare books to a tv show, and that is why I think this book was a bit like 'Burn Notice.' There is a 'voice over' feel to the story while he is giving the best methods to assassinate someone. It's a good book even though the women are written with a definite misogynistic flair. The characters are a bit wooden at times but I was surprised at the twist in the end.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Neliss

    V zahraničí je tento thriller známy pod dvomi názvami - The Intern's Handbook (Príručka stážistu) a Kill Your Boss (Zabi svojho šéfa). Osobne sa mi viac páči názov The Intern's Handbook - práve tým totiž kniha je. Hlavný hrdina John Lago nerozpráva len o súčasných udalostiach, ale zároveň spomína na mnohé predchádzajúce úlohy, hodnotí veci z pohľadu skúseného nájomného vraha a dáva tipy svojim potencionálnym nasledovníkom. Táto netradične zvolená forma sa mi veľmi páčila a dodávala príbehu akúsi V zahraničí je tento thriller známy pod dvomi názvami - The Intern's Handbook (Príručka stážistu) a Kill Your Boss (Zabi svojho šéfa). Osobne sa mi viac páči názov The Intern's Handbook - práve tým totiž kniha je. Hlavný hrdina John Lago nerozpráva len o súčasných udalostiach, ale zároveň spomína na mnohé predchádzajúce úlohy, hodnotí veci z pohľadu skúseného nájomného vraha a dáva tipy svojim potencionálnym nasledovníkom. Táto netradične zvolená forma sa mi veľmi páčila a dodávala príbehu akúsi šťavu a odlišnosť. Shane Kuhn navyše píše naozaj dobre, takže som nemala problém začítať sa. John Lago rozhodne nie je typický kladný hrdina a vykonal mnoho strašných vecí, ktoré sa podľa mňa len ťažko dajú ospravedlniť jeho minulosťou. Skrátka, od perfektného má ďaleko. Napriek tomu nie je úplne stratený prípad a práve to mi umožnilo si ho svojím spôsobom obľúbiť. Jeho charakter je tiež dostatočne komplexný a prepracovaný, čo platí aj o ostatných postavách. Hoci by mal byť tento príbeh v podstate jednoduchý, nenechajte sa zmiasť anotáciou. Autor nám totiž svoje spisovateľské schopnosti dokázal nielen skvelým štýlom písania, netradičných nápadom a vydarenými postavami, ale tiež poriadnymi zvratmi. Dokázal šikovne dodať dôležitosť veciam, ktoré som pôvodne považovala za úplne nepodstatné a všetko poriadne zamotať. V tejto knihe nájdete veľa akcie, bojov, krvi i smrti, no tiež pokojné scény a svojský humor. Nechýba ani netypická zápletka spojená s láskou. Najväčšmi ma však potešilo veľké prekvapenie pred koncom, ktoré poriadne okorenilo poslednú časť knihy. So samotným záverom som tiež spokojná. Vzhľadom na to, že sa jedná o sériu, nie je Johnov príbeh úplne uzavretý, no kniha rozhodne ukončila určitú etapu jeho života a to mi stačilo. Ako ste mohli postretnúť, nemám prakticky žiadne objektívne výhrady. Zabi svojho šéfa je kvalitne napísaný thriller, ktorý zaujme fanúšikov tohto žánru a zároveň má potenciál osloviť aj iných čitateľov. Napriek všetkému som sa rozhodla dať knihe 4,5*, pretože ma emocionálne nezasiahla a nedokázala si tak úplne získať moje čitateľské srdce - hádam, že thrillery pre mňa jednoducho nie sú to pravé orechové. Recenzia na blogu: http://the-bookland.blogspot.sk/2015/...

  21. 5 out of 5

    Brian Poole

    The Intern’s Handbook is an entertaining, subversive thriller. John Lago works for an organization called HR, Inc. Its mandate? To put highly trained young assassins into low level positions that give them access to valuable targets. Because no one looks twice at the intern. Approaching age 25, John embarks on his final mission. He’s embedded into a high end NYC law firm, one of whose partners is selling the identities of locations of people in witness protection. John’s assignment is complicated The Intern’s Handbook is an entertaining, subversive thriller. John Lago works for an organization called HR, Inc. Its mandate? To put highly trained young assassins into low level positions that give them access to valuable targets. Because no one looks twice at the intern. Approaching age 25, John embarks on his final mission. He’s embedded into a high end NYC law firm, one of whose partners is selling the identities of locations of people in witness protection. John’s assignment is complicated by Alice, a young associate with whom he becomes involved. And whom he discovers is an FBI agent on the same trail he is. A series of reversals and some late game surprises lead to a bloody climax. Author Shane Kuhn devises an original premise for The Intern’s Handbook. He structures it as a manifesto, written by John to future recruits of HR, Inc. He gives John a sardonic, pop-culture soaked voice that moves the narration along briskly. John emerges as a fascinating creation, amoral and hollowed out at early age, but still possessed of some spark of decency. His journey is compelling, even as it becomes more and more outrageous. Kuhn wisely goes all out, keeping the reader’s attention with some well-spun action sequences and John’s deadpan narration. The story is soaked in violence, but it comes off cartoonish more than disturbing. By the end, John is almost a gleeful agent of anarchy. The final act twists really bring the plot together, as a strand that seemed like a digression earlier on becomes crucial to the climax. The bleak irony of its tone might not be every reader’s thing. But its ultra-modern take on the violent thriller makes The Intern’s Handbook one of the more distinctive entries in the genre in recent memory.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Kyle

    I got my hands on an advanced reader's copy of this book and I enjoyed it even though I felt it came off the rails a bit in the last 5 chapters. I was hooked by the concept, "Hit men pose as interns to assassinate VIPs because no one gives a damn about interns but everyone loves to have free labor around". Fun stuff. I would definitely recommend Joseph Garber's Vertical Run for anyone who enjoyed The Intern's Handbook. Plot: David Elliot shows up to his job like every day... and then his boss tri I got my hands on an advanced reader's copy of this book and I enjoyed it even though I felt it came off the rails a bit in the last 5 chapters. I was hooked by the concept, "Hit men pose as interns to assassinate VIPs because no one gives a damn about interns but everyone loves to have free labor around". Fun stuff. I would definitely recommend Joseph Garber's Vertical Run for anyone who enjoyed The Intern's Handbook. Plot: David Elliot shows up to his job like every day... and then his boss tries to kill him. It only gets worse from there as Dave finds himself trapped in his 50 story office building with a hit team after him, relying on his special forces training to stay alive as he tries to figure out exactly why everyone is trying to kill him.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Robert

    The front of the book states it is a thriller. However I shelfed this one as humor. So where does it fit? I really do not know. Written by an intern as a handbook for new employees of HR Inc., a company of assassins, and detailing his last job, this is an oddball. I found it to be a humorous read because the main character is quite an oddball with a very droll sense of humor. The author does manage to throw in some nice twists that could jack this one up to a thriller. Don't worry about where to The front of the book states it is a thriller. However I shelfed this one as humor. So where does it fit? I really do not know. Written by an intern as a handbook for new employees of HR Inc., a company of assassins, and detailing his last job, this is an oddball. I found it to be a humorous read because the main character is quite an oddball with a very droll sense of humor. The author does manage to throw in some nice twists that could jack this one up to a thriller. Don't worry about where to shelf it until you get done reading it and give it a shot. However beware that I can also see this as one of those books some will enjoy and others will loathe.

  24. 4 out of 5

    MischaS_

    ...After months reading I've finally finished! I loved the idea. The beginning was awesome. Then it started to be soooo boring and so repetitive. I slowly started to hate every character. And the ending? Was freaking amazing! Did not see that coming at all. Still, quite disappointed. An advice: Do not bring the book with you if you have an internship. :D

  25. 4 out of 5

    Hesham N. Ali

    Don't know where to start here ... John Lago is one badass hitman and he's writing a guid for whoever's taking his place after retirement--you. He's speaking directly to you. Very realistic character settings with R-rated language. Plus the tons of movie references.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Neil

    Sleek, quick, violent, funny, surprising and inventive, with a surprisingly creamy, chewy emotional center. Picked up out of curiousity, put down in the wee hours when I ran out of pages to turn.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Trike

    This book is sloppy in the way most action screenplays are, while trying way too hard to be cool. I think Kuhn wants this to be a cross between Fight Club and Grosse Point Blank, but it just feels like a pale echo of better movies like those. I didn't realize this was written by a screenwriter until I got to the twelfth movie reference and read the author's bio. Then the main character goes to work at the law firm of "Bendini, Lambert & Locke." Bendini, Lambert & Locke is the evil law fir This book is sloppy in the way most action screenplays are, while trying way too hard to be cool. I think Kuhn wants this to be a cross between Fight Club and Grosse Point Blank, but it just feels like a pale echo of better movies like those. I didn't realize this was written by a screenwriter until I got to the twelfth movie reference and read the author's bio. Then the main character goes to work at the law firm of "Bendini, Lambert & Locke." Bendini, Lambert & Locke is the evil law firm of John Grisham's The Firm, and a lot of the beats in this book are taken directly from the movie version. If you're going to rip people off, at least disguise it a little. Also, it's not that hard to do a little research. Male lions aren't lazy, they kill the big prey. So using that old saw of "women doing all the work" is just dumb. In the pride, the women make the easy kills. There's your fucking metaphor. Early on he makes the dumb mistake of calling magazines clips. In a gun-obsessed culture like America's where we have a dozen gun magazines devoted to gun ownership, it's not that difficult to look up. At some point someone must have mentioned that to him because he then switched over to using the word magazine properly. You wrote this on a computer (a Mac, presumably, because Hollywood), so why not do a global search and replace? He doesn't even have geek cred, because in one metaphor about video games he calls his latest intel an asset that "jumps him up ten levels" like an Easter egg. That's not what an Easter egg is. An Easter egg is a hidden element in the game; it's not a power-up or a glitch or God Mode. The kicker is that the term "Easter egg", when used in reference to something hidden in a game, actually comes from a movie. Now that I've told you that, you can probably find which movie in less than 30 seconds. Weirdly, toward the end he actually gets the stuff right about coyotes using a technique called "luring" to trick pet dogs. As a longtime animal rescue guy, I'm going to go off on a tangent here because this is more interesting than talking about this book. A lone coyote will entice a dog to chase after it only to lead the dog into an ambush by the pack once he's away from your house. You can actually see a coyote doing exactly this in this video, where the owner thinks the coyote is just playing with her dog, so she filmed their "funny antics." Luckily, her dog wasn't interested in the coyote, or he'd be ripped to shreds and eaten. This story about coyotes attacking dogs larger than themselves was just posted yesterday (March 9, 2015). Coyotes are predators forged in the bloody crucible of nature and they are faster, meaner and smarter than any dog. (Coyotes are faster than Greyhounds.) Coyotes also live everywhere, including in the hearts of our biggest cities. So be careful if you have dogs anywhere there are coyotes. Unfortunately for Kuhn, accurate tidbits like this come too late to save the story. You can read the plot and character details in other reviews, but suffice it to say this book is mostly just dumb and punching way above its weight class. The twist at the end was pretty obvious and I guessed it correctly. The only thing I got wrong was the organization the protagonist's father worked for. Other than that, it all fell out the way any mediocre action flick would. Cool cover, though.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Don ツ

    Initially 5 stars. I hesitate to read this because I was slightly affected with readers comment/ maybe I was just lazy. Book hopping is my thing nowadays. I like John Lago narration of his life in sarcastic, most descriptive ways in every highly exaggerated manner. Well he is professional high-profile assassin. So, it's a MUST. John was on his last assignment before he retired and lead a clean life. However, this assignment doesn't have specific target, he must discover himself by masking himself Initially 5 stars. I hesitate to read this because I was slightly affected with readers comment/ maybe I was just lazy. Book hopping is my thing nowadays. I like John Lago narration of his life in sarcastic, most descriptive ways in every highly exaggerated manner. Well he is professional high-profile assassin. So, it's a MUST. John was on his last assignment before he retired and lead a clean life. However, this assignment doesn't have specific target, he must discover himself by masking himself as intern in large law firm. Along the way, he met Alice (later she known as FBI agent) a new lawyer and develop a special interest in her. While reading, there will be a number of recorded conversation, tapped by FBI, written as style to narrate the relationship between John and Alice which can't be narrated by John himself as he is very objective person. There were also few conversation with other characters such as John's father later in the story. In every chapter John gives tips to be a successful [email protected] assassin. The main story was John assignment in the Law Firm to find the culprit who sell witness protection names, but he also recalls few experience in the past to which relates it to his action currently. Which also explain his level of expertise in being trained 'killing machine'. Though it might be fun reading his stories from his point of view, some gory description from his previous assignment and few r-rated scene was tad too much! Cruel in his own way. (hence, minus 1 point there) Live like a predator, Bob said. Bob was his [email protected] boss in HR Inc, the agency he works for. Bob, is 46 years old, the person responsible nurture him and saved him from juvie. You'd be surprised to know the thing he did from the past. He is really INHUMAN. Devil in human flesh. From the 1st Mickey&Mallory until now, he's quite a manipulator/ snake. Hence, I loved this book. Imagine full 3D Hollywood actions with fully skilled karate, kungfu, ninja, silat (yes, silat is also included as a deadly fighting technique), killing, love, lost, finding your roots, betrayal and then being human. Full suspense and suprises you'll not expect.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Mike (the Paladin)

    Interesting book. Set up as a handbook being produced for "new assassins" going to work for his employer the book is readable and it holds the interest. I can't really go above 3 stars here as while I like it pretty well it never drew me in, it was never more than a mildly readable book. Where I've gone so far as to be concerned about how interested I was in other "assassin" based novels, this one was sort of...just a book. Don't get me wrong, it gets my recommendation as a read. Try it yourself Interesting book. Set up as a handbook being produced for "new assassins" going to work for his employer the book is readable and it holds the interest. I can't really go above 3 stars here as while I like it pretty well it never drew me in, it was never more than a mildly readable book. Where I've gone so far as to be concerned about how interested I was in other "assassin" based novels, this one was sort of...just a book. Don't get me wrong, it gets my recommendation as a read. Try it yourself and see what you think. I think I could say I'd have given it a "high 3" and if the John Largo story continues I'll probably try the next installment, but it's not like I'm impatient. I don't see any real point in going on. The story here is told by John with "interludes" reportedly from the FBI file on coming in possession of the handbook. Like I said, if you like action thrillers maybe give it a try. I don't think you'll actually be disappointed and you may enjoy it a bit more than I did.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Naomi

    Disclaimer: I received this book for free through First Reads. I loved this! I thought this was well-written, with an engaging plot line and my type of humor. I found it to be similar in style to Christopher Moore, in terms of humor and gore, and a little bit of Chuck Pahlaniuk (sp?), in terms of violence and the 'off the grid' type lifestyle of the main character. I was surprised several times throughout the novel by twists in the plot, and the story line kept me guessing throughout. I would say Disclaimer: I received this book for free through First Reads. I loved this! I thought this was well-written, with an engaging plot line and my type of humor. I found it to be similar in style to Christopher Moore, in terms of humor and gore, and a little bit of Chuck Pahlaniuk (sp?), in terms of violence and the 'off the grid' type lifestyle of the main character. I was surprised several times throughout the novel by twists in the plot, and the story line kept me guessing throughout. I would say the ending was a bit of a surprise, and perhaps the very end was unnecessary, but it made sense overall. I look forward to reading other works by the author, and will definitely be recommending this to others.

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