THE ASSET by Shane Kuhn

THE ASSET

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KIRKUS REVIEW

A thriller that addresses the threat of nuclear terrorism against U.S. cities.

Kennedy (no first name) is a “practically legendary” aviation security specialist who trains TSA and Homeland Security personnel as a consultant. Naturally, he will do anything to prevent another 9/11. So when he receives a TSA threat memo, he assumes it could be worse than the 2001 disaster. A CIA friend admonishes Kennedy, “don’t be a hero,” clearly reaching deaf ears. An unidentified stranger phones Kennedy at 3 a.m. and tells him to board a private jet in the morning for a one-day trip to Paris. The caller gives no reason—no information at all—and says Kennedy’s fee is no object. Kennedy accepts. Duh. Dire danger ensues, but it really doesn’t. Instead he becomes an intelligence asset, “the perfect lone wolf” to help the CIA deal with the looming threat. If a cookbook described how to whip up a thriller, the recipe might look like this: introduce the threat and characters with names like Love, Best, Kruz, and Lentz. Mix in systemic problems like the defeatism and incompetence at TSA’s core. After a slow beginning, stir in frenetic scenes jam-packed with bullets and f-bombs. Start a ticking clock. Kill off a few dispensable players. Reveal a trusted character to be rotten. Give the villain the perfect chance to kill the hero, but make him give a speech instead. Add a generous chunk of bologna, and heat to “tens of millions of degrees.” Cool suddenly with witty but tender dialogue. Be sure the ultimate twist makes readers’ jaws drop, no matter how maddeningly implausible. Suddenly switch to present tense for the last eight pages even though the main plot is resolved. Hint at a sequel.

Formulaic but still fun. Not a bad recipe for a quick thriller fix.

Pub Date: July 12th, 2016
ISBN: 978-1-4767-9621-5
Page count: 288pp
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1st, 2016




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