Quick Review: THE PROFESSIONALS by Owen Laukkanen (Corvus/Berkley)

LaukkanenO-S&W1-ProfessionalsUKA fast-paced, engaging debut thriller

Four friends, caught in a terrible job market, joke about turning to kidnapping to survive. And then, suddenly, it’s no joke. For two years, the strategy they devise works like a charm – until they kidnap the wrong man.

Now two groups are after them – the law, in the form of veteran state investigator Kirk Stevens and hotshot young FBI agent Carla Windermere, and an organized crime outfit looking for payback. As they crisscross the country in a series of increasingly explosive confrontations, each of them is ultimately forced to recognize the truth: the real professionals, cop or criminal, are those who are willing to sacrifice everything.

This is the first of Laukkanen’s Stevens &¬†Windermere thriller, and it marked the arrival of a great new voice for the genre. The novel is quickly-paced. The characters are interesting and mostly well-developed. It has a few debut niggles, but it’s pretty polished and gripping. I’ll be reading the rest of Laukkanen’s novels, and be keeping an eye open for more in the future. Continue reading