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The Professionals

by Owen Laukkanen

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3374858,407 (3.6)38
"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 a series of increasingly explosive confrontations, each of them is ultimately forced to recognize a brutal truth: The true professionals, cop or criminal, are those who are willing to sacrifice everything."-- Provided by publisher.… (more)
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    Death Benefits by Thomas Perry (amyblue)
    amyblue: Both are excellent crime thrillers with a fast paced plot and believable characters.
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» See also 38 mentions

Showing 1-5 of 48 (next | show all)
Merely "eh." The premise is clever, and the characters pleasantly drawn, but altogether it's just a little to fantastic. ( )
  jamesb | May 20, 2019 |
Did not miss a step

Not maudline, nothing hanging, no unexplained anything, just a solid thriller with great characters. I Am on to the second book and looking forward to it. ( )
  Omegawega | Mar 31, 2018 |
I really enjoyed spending time with these characters, both the good guys and the bad ones. I will be continuing with this well written series. Happy to have found a new author who is a master at the craft. I read the Library Of Congress Talking Books version, narrated by Edoardo Ballerini. Excellent Job, Mr. Ballerini. ( )
  briellenadyne | Aug 26, 2017 |
Four friends graduate from college during the economic downturn and can't seem to find a job. One of them jokes about kidnapping rich people, asking for a relatively small amount pf ransom for a millionaire, and then releasing the person telling them not to notify the police or they will hurt the family. Then they move to another town in another state and start all over again. It seems to work well for two years until one man decides to inform the police. Kirk Stevens of Minnesota's BCU crime task force can't seem to find any evidence that connects to the crew, until the FBI informs them that a similar situation has happened to a mob related family in New Jersey. Things go downhill for everyone from that point on.

I couldn't put this book down. It's the debut novel for author Owen Laukkanen and there are currently six books in the series. It’s a page-turner with some predictable scenarios, but it captured my full attention in the first chapter and every chapter after that. The criminals were very sympathetic, which I think is often difficult to pull off. Kirk Stevens has instant chemistry with FBI agent Carla Windermere, and not in a romantic way. They are a great investigative team and I'm excited to read the next book in the series. If you're looking for an action packed thriller that's a little different from all the others, this is a great place to start. ( )
  Olivermagnus | Aug 9, 2017 |
What do recent college graduates with a more student loan debt than job prospects do when the economy collapses and the best prospects are brewing coffee? If they’re Arthur Pender and his friends Sawyer, Mouse, and Marie, they do a little economic redistribution. They become professional kidnappers who avoid detection by hitting bank executives and the like with plenty of money, asking for low level ransoms so they can get paid and get out. They’re careful, they plan, they have a system, and it works.

Until two things happen, Stevens, a Minnesota state police officer in the BSA, investigates one of their kidnappings and has the imagination to see that they are not opportunists, but professionals and goes to the FBI. He joins with Windermere, a fast-moving FBI agent who sees this could be a career-making case. The other thing, they kidnap the wrong guy, the husband of a woman who has long, strong mafia ties across the country.

So, we have three groups of professionals, the kidnappers, the mafia hit men sent to track them led by a guy names D’Antonio, and law enforcement, Stevens and Windermere. And we have suspense that never lets up, not from the very beginning. This is a clear-time-on-your-calendar book.

I could not put this book down. This is a thriller and in the best thriller sense, the writing is economical, it facilitates the story and never asks you to pause and admire itself. We know what Stevens, Pender, and D’Antonio are thinking. This gives it a complexity that puts us subtly on the side of both the kidnappers and the police. We understand Pender. He doesn’t think he’s a bad guy, he doesn’t want anybody to get hurt, but he will protect his crew.

The Stevens and Windermere relationship is interesting and will be sure to develop more because this is the first in a series that now includes four additional volumes, including Criminal Enterprise, Kill Fee, The Stolen Ones, and The Watcher in the Wall.

https://tonstantweaderreviews.wordpress.com/2016/09/13/the-professionals-by-owen... ( )
  Tonstant.Weader | Sep 13, 2016 |
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"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 a series of increasingly explosive confrontations, each of them is ultimately forced to recognize a brutal truth: The true professionals, cop or criminal, are those who are willing to sacrifice everything."-- Provided by publisher.

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