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The Professionals [Hardcover]

Owen Laukkanen
4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
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Book Description

April 3 2012 A Stevens and Windermere Novel (Book 1)

A Kirkus Reviews Best Fiction Selection for 2012

Four friends, recent college graduates, 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-quick, efficient, low risk-works like a charm. Until they kidnap the wrong man.

Now two groups they've very much wanted to avoid 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 all crisscross the country in deadly pursuit and a series of increasingly explosive confrontations, each of them is ultimately forced to recognize the truth: The true professionals, cop or criminal, are those who are willing to sacrifice . . . everything.

A finger-burning page-turner, filled with twists, surprises, and memorably complex characters, The Professionals marks the arrival of a remarkable new writer.


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Review

“Fasten your seat belts, Owen Laukkanen’s The Professionals is one heck of a wild ride. A first-class thriller by a terrific new voice.”—John Lescroart


“Really terrific – characters that live and breathe, a just-right story, and chills aplenty. Highly recommended." —Lee Child


“Smoothly written, with a slam-bang ending, The Professionals is a brutally beautiful piece of work. Owen Laukkanen takes us straight into the hearts of the bad guys, and what we find there is something very complicated and still very bad. The cops are just as complex as the villains, and Laukkanen nicely captures the personal and sexual tension between Kirk Stevens and Carla Windermere as they track down the gang: this is a pairing that will wear well.” —John Sandford


“A coiling plot, insightful characters, and a tale fraught with danger. What more could any thriller reader want? The Professionals has it all. It’s top-notch entertainment.” —Steve Berry


“A page-turning blend of classic suspense fiction and chillingly postmodern amorality. Ingenious plotting, perfect-pitch characterization and evocative sense of place combine to create an impressive debut.” —Jonathan Kellerman


“A spectacular debut novel written with intelligence, toughness, and heart. Owen Laukkanen is a writer to watch.” —Thomas Perry, author of The Butcher's Boy and The Informant


The Professionals is a high-octane adrenaline and gunpowder-fueled rocket ride across the country from Seattle to Miami to Detroit and points in-between. What is remarkable about Owen Laukkanen’s debut is how skillfully he makes the reader care for his characters on both sides of the law. An excellent first novel!” —C. J. Box


The Professionals grips you on page one and doesn’t let go until the last, satisfying page. Laukkanen provides plenty of twists along the way while developing a well-juggled array of complex and evolving characters. Highly recommended.” —Alafair Burke, author of Long Gone

About the Author

After graduation, OWEN LAUKKANEN answered a craigslist ad, and for the next three years he was the tournament reporter for a poker website, traveling from the luxurious casinos of Monaco and Macao to the sketchiest cardrooms of Atlantic City. A resident of Toronto, he is now at work on a second book featuring Stevens and Windermere. You can learn more about Owen Laukkanen at www.owenlaukkanen.com.

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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Amazing debut effort April 7 2012
By Slater
Format:Hardcover
Owen Laukkanen has been getting a lot of buzz in the book publishing community and rightfully so.

His debut novel is slambang that is virtually impossible to put down. His characters live and breath and make you wonder how you would go about kidnapping someone if your back was against the wall.

Arthur Pender, Marie McAllister, Kirk Stevens and Carla Windermere shine in a strong cast of characters.

Although the novel is action-packed it raises some interesting questions about the growing divide in the U.S. between the upper 1% and the rest of the country. The Professionals serves as a warning shot for young, ambitious people who are tired of seeing the big fish continue to suck all the money out of the U.S. economy.

A+, a must-read.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Loved it!!! March 29 2012
By Luanne Ollivier #1 HALL OF FAME TOP 10 REVIEWER
Format:Hardcover
There's been lots of buzz surrounding Owen Laukkanen's debut novel The Professionals, so I was really eager to read it. Oh boy, seriously - run, don't walk to grab your copy - it releases today. Yes, it's that good. Crime, suspense and thriller fans, you're going to love it. (So did Lee Child, John Sandford and more!)

A four person kidnap crew has been touring the country, snatching affluent men and holding them for ransom. Why? Well, it's the economy. Their university degrees are practically worthless. What started out as an offhand comment has mushroomed. Now they're working the Pender Method - nothing too big - sixty grand - enough that the family can easily raise the funds and won't call the cops. In and out clean - very professional. A few more and they can retire to somewhere nice and warm. Next stop - Minnesota.

Minnesota - where Kirk Stevens has worked for the BCA (Bureau of Criminal Apprehension) for ten years. "He caught his reflection in the patrol car';s rear window as he waited and he stared at it a moment, a forty-three-year-old career cop with thinning hair and a paunch, his tired eyes betraying a mounting fatigue....Another botched robbery, Stevens thought to himself. Another day in the glamorous life." Just another professional on the job.

Until the crew hits the wrong man in Minnesota - a husband with connections to organized crime. And his wife sends in her professionals to track down the crew. Stevens is now on the case and it balloons. Then the FBI sends in Agent Carla Windermere and Stevens is called up to help these professionals.

And where things go from there is a non stop, action packed, read 'til your eyeballs hurt ride.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A thrill ride July 18 2012
By atari
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
This is one of the most entertaining books I've read in years. It's extremely well written, a thrill ride from cover to cover and has one unique feature I've never encountered before: At no point did I know who I was rooting for.

I've never wanted both the cops and the criminals to win at the same time, I was torn the whole way through. This is a book you'll end up recommending to all of your friends.

I can't wait for Laukkanen's next work.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fantastic! July 9 2012
By Denise
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
There are not to many books that take you to the end not knowing how it will end. This one definitely does that for you. You will be hoping for a certain ending but will be surprised. You will stay up late at night trying to finish it. Resting one eye at a time, thinking to yourself - just one more chapter.
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