Review: The Intern’s Handbook

The Intern's Handbook, Shane KuhnIf you work a company that hires interns, think carefully: can you remember their names? Probably not. And why should you? Interns are there to fetch coffee, deliver packages, and do all the grunt work no self-respecting salaried employee would.

And that’s just the way they like it. An invisible intern is ignored, underestimated — and deadly.

Welcome to HR, Inc., a “placement agency” that sends assassins-for-hire to take high-profile executives who have stuck their noses where they don’t belong. The Intern’s Handbook is a field guide to this cat-and-mouse world written by its stealthiest inhabitant: John Lago.

The book you’re holding is part how-to, part confessional of John’s final mission at HR, Inc. He’s going against some truly dangerous people, including a sexy FBI agent named Alice who’s trying to take down his target. Will John prevail, or will his final mission mean his death?

Wonderfully done

The Intern’s Handbook promises to be a thriller, and it more than delivers. It’s perfectly paced, filled with unexpected twists that kept me on my toes, and has the perfect amount of action, snark, and witty banter.

John’s a boy in man’s clothing, a sociopath trying to end up a good person. The novel’s first person perspective puts you right in the middle of his messed-up mind, and it’s fun seeing how that mind ticks.

I still didn’t like it (SPOILERS)

Like most readers, I generally only dislike a book when it’s poorly written or structured, or is a genre that I don’t enjoy. Shane Kuhn’s novel has the distinction of being one of the few books I’ve read that is genuinely perfectly executed…that I ended up not liking. And it’s all because of those last few chapters.

I’m a happy endings kind of gal. Although many would consider John’s survival and discovery of his true parentage a happy thing, I find Bob and Alice’s trickery and betrayal too much to swallow. I know it’s all set up to prove that Bob is your basic asshole, but I feel like that’s something I already knew — why go to such extreme lengths to restate the point?

In the end, I just want the characters in the books I read to be happy. The Intern’s Handbook does end on a bit of an optimistic note, but I get the feeling that John spends the rest of his life adrift, rich, but purposeless and friendless. What kind of life is that?

I would still recommend this book to thriller fans, but be prepared for an unexpected — and somewhat unfinished — ending.

What do you think of happy endings? Do you need them to enjoy a book, or can you take ‘em or leave ‘em?

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