The Intern's Handbook by Shane Kuhn

The Intern's Handbook by Shane Kuhn came to my notice after Mihir from FBC praised the book highly. His recommendations typically are spot-on and I didn't hesitate when I got a deal on this one.

So yet another first-person narrative thriller that deals with white-collar assassinations using interns. Aha...After Boy Nobody  (reviewed here ) I think I see a pattern here. Nevertheless, the cover ( Yo! Creative Genius You!) drew me in and the premise was the perfect hook. Use the non-paid persona non-grata interns - who by the way are worse than dead flies on the wall when it comes to a corporate cultures in NYC chockablock with Ivy league heavyweights fighting for a foot-space - to slowly interject into your corporate honcho targets' office and then finish them off in unsuspecting manners that smack of their most public enemies' signature kill. Yeah. That is what the book is about.

The novel actually reads like a bible or a rough field guide for survival for the first-timers, still wet under their ears who are joining this shadowy org called, ironically enough, Human Resources Inc. - Most of them in their early teens trained and polished to be cold calculating killers by the time they hit puberty to take out targets in their high profile offices. HR Inc. is run by this enigmatic person called Bob - who is now setting up our narrator John for his last assignment before the grand send-off. Gold watch and pay-checks and the perks. John is twenty-five. A ripe old age in this profession as he claims and which most of the first-timers would never see. But also an age that clearly demarcates him as a veteran for this "Intern" shit and he clearly is anxious to get out into the world as a "legit". And as all best-laid plans go, it goes the way of getting blown apart to smithereens.

The last assignment requires John to get into Newyork's most prestigious law firm but the target has not been identified yet. And Alice - a Junior Associate with the firm gets the hots for him. And on expected lines, complications creep in for the man who cannot feel "love". And the mission gets shot to hell.

The novel reads like a runaway freight train - with all the finesse of one as well if I may add. Action is explosive - punctuated annoyingly by John's expert comments on the human anatomy or bullet trajectory - but nevertheless relentless and slick. Like a movie. [ big surprise! 'Coz Shane is by profession a scriptwriter/filmmaker]

First person narratives are tricky. They slow-burn into an explosive entertaining voice or start out too eager and fizzle out to die soon. All is based on the character's voice. John here is an snarky, self-obsessed and cynical young man - sure and he claims his non-existent childhood for him being "love-less" and devoid of emotions. Unfortunately for me, John never did strike the chord. and that was what kept me from enjoying this book too much. The others? Well, not too many. Bob and Alice are the names that come out [ Yeah - there had to be a girl right? ] but in the end I was made to desperately wish that there were chapters dedicated to Alice's view-point. sigh.

The plot is wafer-thin but the gargantuan twist that hits you at the end - is unexpected and probably worth the wait but the book is what it claims to be. Fun, light read that delivers. For fans of Allen Zadoff's Boy Nobody series and maybe the Dexter series by Jeff Lindsay - this is an instant fast-food to be gobbled up in a flash. 


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