Reviews for Intern's Handbook
Booklist Reviews 2014 April #1
Assassins must be invisible. And who is more invisible in corporate America than unpaid interns? That's the premise behind Human Resources, Inc., whose founder, Bob, trains children who are society's discards to be canny killers. HR's elite is John Lago, delivered prematurely, without much of a chance in life after his druggie mother was shot and died. At eight, he murdered his abusive foster parents, and when he was 12, he was recruited by Bob. Nearing HR's mandatory retirement age of 25, John gets his last assignment, to eliminate the person at prestigious law firm Bendini, Lambert, and Locke who's selling the names of people in the witness-protection program. John intends to use Alice, a new associate at the firm, to help him gain the necessary trust and access, but he doesn't count on previously dead emotions flaring up and derailing the job at hand. Written as John's handbook of advice for new HR recruits, with interspersed FBI memos, Kuhn's debut is a prime example of dark and mordant humor in the midst of a fast-moving, suspenseful, action-packed ride. Those who like Dexter will love John. Copyright 2014 Booklist Reviews.
Kirkus Reviews 2014 February #1
Never trust anyone under the age of 25: That cute-as-a-button intern just might be trying to blow your brains out. Couched as a piece of evidence in an FBI investigation, this debut novel by B-movie screenwriter Kuhn is an inventive, profane and violent comedy that strongly recalls Duane Swierczynski's office farce Severance Package (2008). The narrative is disguised as an assassination manual written by one John Lago, the real purpose of which is to confess his sins. Creeping up on his 25th birthday, John is a long-time employee of Human Resources, Inc., a shadowy firm that employs broken youngsters and soul-damaged orphans as assassins. Their gig is to infiltrate the highest levels of corporate malfeasance as interns, disappear into the machine and whack the target. "If you're going to do this, you can't ever try to justify it," Lago warns. "You are the bad guy, and that is your role. Without you, there is no benchmark for judging bad guys. We are the yin. Civilians are the yang." It turns out that John's last assignment from his boss, "Bob," just before mandatory retirement kicks in, is to infiltrate an exclusive law firm and ferret out which of the three partners is selling the identities of turncoats in the Federal Witness Protection Program to the highest bidder. Along the way, he falls madly in love with Alice, an entry-level associate who may also have other motives for working at the firm. It's a propulsive, well-written black comedy that apes a variety of other killer comedies, ranging from Josh Bazell's Beat the Reaper to the film Grosse Pointe Blank, while also exploring tender subjects like what happens to children who are raised without parents. Believable dialogue, a whip smart and cynical central character, clever reversals and an entertaining amount of bone-crunching violence help wrap up this nasty package with a pretty little bow. An entertaining, ferociously violent romp about a morally bankrupt killer trying to find his way home. Copyright Kirkus 2014 Kirkus/BPI Communications.All rights reserved.
Library Journal Reviews 2014 April #1
Plucked from a miserable childhood in foster care, John Lago was trained as a skilled assassin by a shadowy organization called Human Resources, Inc., which infiltrates companies using killers posing as interns in order to do away with highly ranked executives (who usually have it coming). John is cunning, ruthless, and very successful, and as he nears the mandatory retirement age of 25, he begins to question how he will transition out of this life of violence, seek redemption, and connect with his past. If he can survive his final job, that is. Interference from a sexy FBI agent and John's brutal handler stand in his way, and his candid, irreverent handbook, full of tips for the next generation of hit men, is the most fun you'll have reading about an assassin. VERDICT Kuhn's debut novel is darkly hilarious and action packed from the first page, and filled with graphic and humorous asides on myriad ways to kill someone. This fresh, swift thriller will be devoured by all but the most squeamish fans of the genre, as well as by dark-comedy lovers. Recommend to Tim Dorsey fans. [See Prepub Alert, 10/20/13; an April LibraryReads pick.]--Emily Byers, Tillamook Cty. Lib., OR [Page 83]. (c) Copyright 2014. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
Publishers Weekly Reviews 2014 February #3
Black humor and surprise twists distinguish Kuhn's highly entertaining debut, which puts a fresh spin on the theme of the hardened criminal planning one last job. John Lago became a contract killer at age 17 for Human Resources Inc., which places its young assassins as interns at companies so they can get close to their targets. An intern is the perfect cover for a hit man, says John, because interns are invisible and expendable. Now nearly 25, John wants out of the business, but leaving isn't simple. The FBI may be on his trail, and is his comely coworker, whom he's attracted to, going to meet the same fate as his last girlfriend, or is she working for the Justice Department? John's 15 rules for the next recruit act as his memoirs, as he recalls past assignments. Not least of the charms of this likable and energetic, if amoral, character are the amusing swipes he takes at other killers in fiction and film. Agent: Hannah Brown Gordon, Foundry Literary + Media. (Apr.) [Page ]. Copyright 2014 PWxyz LLC