Eric Mesa's Reviews > The Intern's Handbook

The Intern's Handbook by Shane Kuhn
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really liked it

This book is a meta-fiction work of art. It is told from two perspectives - that of an assassin writing a guide book to future assassins at his firm, HR, Inc and that of an FBI investigation into our main character. The premise is that the firm takes advantage of interns being unnoticed, but key to any business to allow them to assassinate some very powerful people. Our main character, John Lago is on his final mission because he's 25 and, in his words, "that's the oldest someone will accept that you would work for free."

Without giving too much away, I'll say that Mr Kuhn does an incredible job of setting up John's credentials and then pitting him against the FBI AND the person he's trying to assassinate. So, like Vizzini in The Princess Bride, the deception layers keep mounting until you don't know what to believe anymore. This allows Kuhn to keep someone like me, who's quite good at predicting story beats/endings (I've read somewhere close to 500 or so books in my lifetime in addition to being a fan of Tvtropes.org and media criticism)

I really enjoyed that Kuhn has his character make fun of some spy/assassin tropes while embodying other spy/assassin tropes. He does a great job balancing deconstruction, reconstruction, and lampshade hanging. He also keeps up a great pace. The thing that loses it one star is the ending - which I'll get to in the spoilers section.

Ok, spoiler time. I usually argue that a book should stand up even if you know the spoilers, but in a thriller (especially one in the assassin genre), I think you're way better off not knowing. So you've been warned.
(view spoiler)

I've enjoyed a lot a books this year, but this is the first one I've enjoyed starting at the first page and that I ALWAYS looked forward to reading.
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Reading Progress

April 10, 2014 – Shelved
April 10, 2014 – Shelved as: to-read
November 14, 2014 – Started Reading
November 14, 2014 –
page 22
7.97% "Love the meta-fiction angle. First book in a while that has me engaged from page 1."
November 17, 2014 –
page 40
14.49% "Really enjoying. Easy to jump in and out of. The meta narrative makes me wonder if this is one of those stories where the main character's already dead and you don't know it until you get to the end."
November 18, 2014 –
page 69
25.0% "I'm predicting Bob is selling out John and that no one ever actually "graduates" the program. My feeling that our character is already dead - since we're reading a book he wrote is stronger than it was on last update. We'll see.\n \n Also, love the author for psyching us out on the sex scene."
November 19, 2014 –
page 113
40.94% "I am really enjoying this book a lot. A few little surprises. Also, author is really ratcheting up the possibilities for the ending."
November 20, 2014 –
page 154
55.8% "Keeps going back and forth. I have no idea how this will end. Also, I think it's funny the main character keeps making fun of some movie tropes while also fulfilling other tropes."
November 21, 2014 –
page 196
71.01% "I think Marcus is FBI. But this book is just going in so many directions. I'm loving it and also wanting it to end so I know the ending."
November 21, 2014 –
page 234
84.78% "Still think Marcus is a ploy. Almost think the situation right before he goes on the plane mission is staged, too. Kuhn is making me paranoid about believing anything."
November 21, 2014 – Finished Reading

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