Written by Shane Kuhn — John Lago is not your average intern. He’s actually a highly trained stone cold contract killer who infiltrates multinational corporations and government agencies to eliminate heavily guarded executives for Human Resources Inc, his shady employer. The FBI believes HR Inc is responsible for the deaths of over 100 corporate figureheads across the US.
Kill Your Boss opens with Lago explaining that the book you’re holding is an unofficial survival guide for new recruits to HR Inc. Being a contract killer is a dirty job and life expectancy is short. He supplies various rules that employees should follow to get close to their targets and survive. One is to become an intern at the firm. They’re invisible, ultra low ranking drones who are there to work for free.
Lago is about to undertake his 35th and last job for HR Inc at Bendini, Lambert & Locke, a prestigious Manhattan law firm. One of the three partners is selling out FBI agents to the other side. Lago has to find out which one of the bosses is dirty, then take them out in a pre-arranged manner. Along the way he enlists the help of fellow intern Alice to get close to the target. She seems the ideal girl for him – beautiful and tough. But, Alice has a secret.
Lago is a pretty screwed up guy with a stack of baggage to contend with. He’s an orphan, his mother was murdered when she was pregnant with him, apparently by his father. He knows nothing about them other than that they were druggies. Lago went from foster home to foster home until Bob, HR Inc’s manager found him, took him in. With Bob he became the killer he is today.
Alice awakens Lago’s desire to learn more about his father, as well as unwittingly help him kill his target. But not everything is what it seems.
Kill Your Boss is an entertaining page-turner that trips along at a breakneck pace. It’s well written with a mix of narrative styles. There’s Lago’s story told in the first person, which makes up the majority of the word count. Interspersed within are rules for new employees for HR Inc to follow, and some dialogue from FBI wire taps.
The characters are excellent. Lago is a conflicted killer who hasn’t yet quite plumbed the depths of cynicism. He wants to step out of the job, find himself a new life away from death. Bob is a superb manipulator whose end game is the death of his target so HR Inc gets paid. His main interest is to ensure his best killer stays at the company. Then there’s the love interest, Alice. She’s a tough, no-nonsense woman with hidden depths. The dialogue is sharp and witty and the conclusion is well done with several unexpected twists. What starts off as a handbook becomes a memoir.
When reading Kill Your Boss a significant suspension of belief is required. If you’re able to accept some pretty far-fetched situations; Lago’s exceptional ability to extricate himself from every predicament no matter how dangerous; his ability to recount old jobs, statistics, faces; and his excellent people skills (Lago is also able to make the best cup of coffee ever) then this novel will prove enjoyable.
CFL Rating: 4 Stars