The Intern's Handbook: A Thriller by Shane Kuhn is a comedy/thriller. It is kind of hard to say which box it ticks. John Lago, orphaned at birth, raised rough in the foster system, was taken in by HR Inc. HR Inc. is a super-secret agency that plants assassins, in the form of interns, for high-profile bad guys--basically, higher-ups in companies who have ticked off the wrong people. So, for years, John has posed as an intern in law firms, accountant firms, Fortune-500s, and more. In each position, he has eliminated a target, and given a plausible fallback for the culprit (i.e. blaming it on the company's competition, the mob, etc.). To do all of this, John has to infiltrate the company at the lowest, most unsuspecting level: intern. Being an intern means that he is invisible. People don't notice him when they are having a conversation, and give him menial tasks that inadvertently reveal their weaknesses.
“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.”John is good at his job. No, he's great. The fact that John is still alive after all these years is a testament to that. He is very smart, quick on his feet, and inventive. Honestly, that man had some very creative ways to murder someone. This is John's last job though. At the age of 25, he now has to retire. No worries though, because he has a ton of money stored away, and the last job should be a cinch. Of course this isn't the case.
Going into his last job, John encounters unique problems. One in the form of a woman who has piqued his interest more than he has ever encountered. John is great at thinking on his feet, but, as much as he'd hate to admit it, he's human. John makes mistakes and gets himself into trouble. He's plagued by misinformation, competing agencies, and intentional omissions from his own agency. John is determined to complete his mission and get out alive.
The book is written as a "handbook" to the new "interns," but is really more of an account of his last job entirely. I had trouble with this book in some parts, as some things seemed improbable that John would openly share them with the other interns. I liked that there were FBI files interspersed with John's chapters. John isn't the most reliable of narrators, and those sections helped glimpse the reality of his situation.
It was graphic, action-packed, and full of surprises. The book frequently tricked me. I wasn't a huge fan of the ending, but the ride there was good. I'd recommend this book to anyone who enjoys action films, with a lot of sarcasm on the side. John is a cynical, gritty sort of guy. I, for one, appreciate that in a person. Some people who do not like swear words may not.
For the record, it was a pretty good audiobook. The narrator was able to pack a lot of emotion into the story, and I can't think of the book being narrated by anyone else.
Also, fun fact: this book has already been optioned for film, starring Dave Franco (brother to James Franco).
PS-Just take a second to appreciate the beauty of this cover!