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Friday 20 October 2017

‘The Asset’ by Shane Kuhn

Published by Sphere,
2 March 2017.
ISBN: 978-0-7515-6736-6 (PB)

Kennedy probably knows more about airport security than anyone else in the world. He has made it his business – literally; he operates as a consultancy – ever since his sister died in the plane which ploughed into the Twin Towers on September 11th, 2001.

So, when another major terrorist attack is threatened, one which would undermine the stability of the USA and as a consequence of the whole world, Kennedy – we never learn if he has another name – is the obvious person to set on the trail of the bad guys. But he is no super-agent, not even your everyday hero, at least not at first. He's just an ordinary guy, though maybe of above average intelligence, and possessed of knowledge and ideas far beyond the means of the authorities whose job it is to deal with this kind of situation.

Kennedy's mission, should he choose to accept it, is to prevent the attack by identifying and tracking down the perpetrator of the threat. And yes, it does become increasingly like Mission Impossible.

In the present climate, any novel about terrorism is underpinned with a large scare factor: could it happen like this, and if it did, would there be a Kennedy to save the world from disaster? But setting that aside – and to enjoy this book you really have to – what Shane Kuhn has created is a race-against-time adventure which takes every cliché in the thriller canon and weaves them into a high-octane, unputdownable piece of fiction which kept me up into the wee small hours.

It's littered with characters just made for an action movie: hardly surprising, since that's the author's background. As the extraordinary plot unfolds, the stakes keep getting higher and the body count rises. Good guys turn out to be not what they seem, and bureaucracy and politics get in the way of real progress. And Kennedy's team is whittled away until the final seconds-to-spare take-down is up to him alone.

There's even a love interest – again literally. A childhood friend of our hero's dead sister has made it in the music business, and renamed herself Love; an evening's light relief from the chase develops into something far more interesting, and not just in the romance department.

On one level this is a very scary novel indeed. On another, it's possibly one of the most tense thrillers you'll read all year, and it's crying out to be made into the ultimate post 9/11 movie.
Reviewer: Lynne Patrick

Shane Kuhn is a writer and filmmaker with twenty years of experience working in the entertainment business and the ad world. In feature film, he has writing credits with Universal, Paramount, Sony, and Fox, and a writing and directing credit with Lionsgate. In the world of independent film, he is one of the four original founders of the Slamdance Film Festival and currently serves as an Executive Board member of Slamdance, Inc. A shameless product pusher in the ad world, he has worked as a copywriter, creative director, and broadcast video director and producer for several notable brands and charitable organizations.  
As a college baseball player, he threw a fastball in the low 90s but his career was cut short by a Bull Durham strike zone. The Intern’s Handbook was his first novel. He lives with his wife and family in a bi-coastal/mountain migration pattern that includes Massachusetts, Colorado, Los Angeles, and San Francisco.

Lynne Patrick has been a writer ever since she could pick up a pen, and has enjoyed success with short stories, reviews and feature journalism, but never, alas, with a novel. She crossed to the dark side to become a publisher for a few years, and is proud to have launched several careers which are now burgeoning. She lives on the edge of rural Derbyshire in a house groaning with books, about half of them crime fiction.

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