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Retirement. Publishers, thank you for the many years of reading pleasure you gave me, but all good things must come to an end. Due to failing eyesight I am forced to retire. I can no longer review your books, and any that you send will be donated to the local library, unread. Do not send any more. I can only read for a couple hours every day, and this does not allow me to finish a book in reasonable time. I will be devoting time to my own books from now on, and reading on a personal level. Books that interest me. I prefer paperbacks and hardbacks, not eBooks. My eyesight has been failing the last few years, and I cannot handle hundreds of review books any more. My books are still available for review. Anyone interested in reviewing any of them, they are found in the Link to Tom’s Books On Amazon. Contact me for pdf copies at

Wednesday, July 6, 2016

The Asset

In the exciting new thriller from the author of the internationally bestselling Intern’s Handbook, a private airport security contractor becomes a counterterrorism operative and must stop an attack that will destabilize the US and cause global chaos.
Kennedy—a private airport security contractor—knows more about airports than the head of the TSA, and he feels more comfortable in his British Airways Club World flatbed seat than in his own home. Haunted by the memory of his sister’s death on 9/11, Kennedy takes his job and the protection of the American people very seriously. So when he’s kidnapped and recruited into a CIA ghost operation known as Red Carpet, he jumps at the opportunity to become a civilian asset working with a team of some of the CIA's best counterterrorism analysts and spec ops soldiers as they race against the clock to stop the greatest terrorist threat the United States will ever face.
Shane Kuhn’s bold, darkly comic voice has earned him rave reviews for his previous series, starting with the Intern’s Handbook, which was called, “a serious guilty pleasure” by The Seattle Times and, “explosively violent and psychologically wily the way a good thriller should be” by the New York Post. Shane brings that same intense voice and gripping storytelling to The Asset—an edge-of-your seat read you won’t be able to put down.

The Asset (Thriller)
By Shane Kuhn
Simon & Schuster
ISBN #978-1501140372
Price $2013 (Hardback)
288 Pages
Rating 2-Stars

“A Waste of My Time.”

Kennedy, a TSA security expert, is kidnapped in America, and wakes up in a meat locker with carcasses of pigs hanging on meat hooks. Men who look and sound like Arabs threaten to cut his head off if he doesn’t answer their questions. After telling the men he will answer their questions, the men argue among themselves and leave the locker. Alone, it doesn’t take him long to cut his bindings loose and escape through the ceiling. But when he steps out he’s in a Paris café where a beautiful woman named Alia meets him. She tells him it was just a test to see how he would react in a similar situation, and he has passed the test. I’m not sure how he passed, since he had willingly agreed to answer all their questions. Then to further throw me, Alia says she’s recruiting him to lead her team of trained CIA agents in Red Carpet, a super secret CIA group to foil a monstrous terrorist plot. If this is how the CIA does business, I wonder how it has existed for so long. A young man, without CIA or military training (although he keeps hinting at working with Israel), is going to lead seasoned agents in an effort to foil a terrorist plot. This boggles the mind. His motivation, however, was Belle, his sister’s death in one of the planes on September 11, 2001, while he was talking with her on the phone. First, let’s look at the team:

Alia – Red Carpet CIA team boss.
Kennedy – Team Leader, knowledge of airport security.
Juarez – under Alia, not sure what he’s good at.
Lambert – rugged, built like a football lineman. He doesn’t last too long.
Nuri – Asian, she’s a computer specialist.
Trudeau – weapons specialist, will know when certain weapons are moved around the world.
Best – paramilitary specialist, ex- Navy SEAL.
The bad guy:
Lentz – evil person

First mission: To watch TSA & Department of Homeland Security, as evil person may have people inside those organizations.
Page 75, Quote: “Kennedy was feeling overwhelmed. He was used to dealing with marginally educated people who looked at him as their shining beacon of guidance, not a bizarre collection of idiosyncratic CIA officers, most of whom had some very dangerous talents.” End Quote.

Really? I couldn’t help thinking he also believes his readers are marginally educated, too. I almost tossed the book in the trash by this point. But if I had, I would have missed the double coincidence. Let me explain. As we reach about page 100 another team member is brought in, who wasn’t mentioned in the beginning, named Mitchell. He’s described as mean and tough with stringy muscles, that sort of thing. We know he’s a killer right off, so someone is going to be killed. Sure enough, there is a confrontation with two TSA men, and Mitchell kills them. Of course, we’re told the Red Carpet team had been watching these men for a long time, and knew they were agents of Lentz, the evil guy. These were merely coincidences, right, the new guy, the killing of TSA men? Now I’m wondering how long Mitchell will stay around.

Actually. Kennedy quits Red Carpet after the killing. He hadn’t bargained on things getting rough, but Juarez asks him to help out without Alia’s knowledge. As if this couldn’t get any weirder, to bring in a Lentz’ aide, Kennedy recruits his and Belle’s old friend, a popular singer named Love to sweet talk the fellow, getting him on their side.

If I go on, I will reveal everything, and that’s not acceptable. Let me just say the plot involves the planned detonation of a ten-kiloton nuclear bomb on American soil. To give the author credit he is probably a fan of Tom Clancy, and the Bourne novels and movies. Unfortunately, I found his plot and characters lacking in well-crafted work. The writing appears to merely be an exercise of putting words on paper and calling it a novel. In my opinion it was a failure. The publisher evidently found it worth publishing, however. I felt I wasted my time reading the book, and cannot honestly recommend it for thriller fans.

Tom Johnson


1 comment:

  1. I read the second book in the Intern's series, and I concur with your views of Kuhn's writing. He isn't nearly as smart as he thinks he is.