The Intern's Handbook

A Thriller

by Shane Kuhn

Hardcover, 276 pages, Simon & Schuster, List Price: $25 | purchase

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The Intern's Handbook
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A Thriller
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Shane Kuhn

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NPR Summary

John Lago, New York City's most successful hit man, doubles as an intern at a prestigious Manhattan law firm where he gathers intelligence to pull of a clean, untraceable hit. But before he can, he finds his plans complicated by a sexy FBI agent who's assigned to take down the same law partner he's been assigned to kill.

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Note: Book excerpts are provided by the publisher and may contain language some find offensive.

Excerpt: The Intern's Handbook

If you're reading this, you're a new employee at Human Resources, Inc. Congratulations. And condolences. At the very least, you're embarking on a career that you will never be able to describe as dull. You'll go to interesting places. You'll meet unique and stimulating people from all walks of life. And kill them. You'll make a lot of money, but that will mean nothing to you after the first job. Assassination, no matter how easy it looks in the movies, is the most difficult, stressful, and lonely profession on the planet. From this point on, whenever you hear someone bitch about his job, it will take every fiber of your being to keep from laughing in his face. This work isn't for everyone. Most of you are going to find that out the hard way because you'll be dead by the end of the month. And that's still just the training phase.

If you're having second thoughts, that's a natural reaction. The idea of killing people for a living is what second thoughts were made for. In response to all of your questions regarding whether or not you'll feel bad, lose your nerve, live in constant fear, or even want to kill yourself, I can provide one simple answer: yes. All of your worst nightmares will come true in ways you never imagined. And either you'll get over it, or you'll be gargling buckshot. Either way, you're covered.

When you reach your darkest hour — which will arrive daily — take comfort in the fact that you never really had much of a choice in the matter. Like me, you're gutter spawn, a dumpster baby with a broken beer bottle for a pacifier. We've been described as "disenfranchised." Our diagnosis was "failure to thrive." We were tossed from county homes to foster homes to psych wards to juvenile detention centers — wards of the state with pink-slip parents and a permanent spot in line behind the eight ball. Little Orphan Annie would have been our homegirl. So, what were you going to do with your life, starve on minimum wage, greeting herds of human cattle at Wal-Mart? Sell your ass to Japanese businessmen? Peddle meth to middle school kids? I think not. For the first time, you're going to be able to take advantage of being a disadvantaged youth because everyone knows that orphans make the best assassins. Try humming "It's the Hard-knock Life" while you empty a fifteen-round Beretta mag into Daddy Warbucks's limousine and you'll see just how sweet revenge can be.

If you're reading this, you are a born killer and the people that recruited you know that. You have all the qualifications. First off, you've never been loved, so you feel no empathy for loss. To experience loss, you have to have had something to lose in the first place. Since love is the most important thing you can ever feel, and you've never felt it, then you are bereft of just about every emotion except anger.

And let's talk about anger. Have you ever heard of Intermittent Explosive Disorder? Even if you haven't heard of it, you've experienced it. It's that blinding, uncontrollable rage that turns you into a violent, sometimes homicidal, maniac. Maybe you beat your foster brother half to death for drinking the last Pepsi. Or maybe you fully unleashed it on your juvie cell mate and granted him an early re- lease in a body bag. All the social workers, corrections counselors, and psych doctors, with their nicotine-stained fingers and permanent caffeine twitch, have classified you as dangerously antisocial with a footnote about how you have nothing constructive to offer society. But at Human Resources, Inc., everything that made you a pariah will now make you a professional.

Now let's talk about brains. You've been kicked, thrown, and dragged out of every school you ever attended. But if you're reading this, you are of genius level intelligence, even though you probably beat the shit out of every bumper sticker honor student in your town. How else would you have survived? Only someone with wits beyond her years can stay alive when the whole world thinks she'd be better off dead. You're at the top of the evolutionary food chain, adapting to things in ways that would have made Charles Darwin soil his Harris tweeds.

— — —

Finally, you may have noticed you have some extraordinary physical abilities. I'm not talking about superpowers, for those of you whose only male role models came from a comic book rack. If you had been raised by something other than wolves, you might have played football or basketball or earned your black belt in something. You would have excelled because you are stronger, faster, and more agile than the average person. Your reflexes are like lightning and your field of vision captures everything down to the finest detail. Incidentally, that's why you avoid crowds. Simultaneously concentrating on every movement made by hundreds of people is not only over- whelming, but it also makes you hate humanity even more than you did before. Bottom line: You did not choose this career, it chose you.

This is your handbook. The Intern's Handbook. It's not a part of your new-hire welcome packet. In fact, if they catch you reading it, you will be dead before you can turn the page and your faceless, fingerless corpse will be divided into six trash bags and dissolved in a vat of sulfuric acid in some nameless New Jersey chemical plant. So, please be discreet, because there's a good chance this handbook will save your life.