Reviews for Professionals

Booklist Reviews 2012 February #2
Four recent college graduates joke about kidnapping people who have "grown rich short-selling the American Dream." Facing careers as baristas, they act on the idea, and for two years they crisscross the country pulling off carefully planned, $60,000 snatches. None of their victims even notifies the police. But a hiccup in Minneapolis and a disaster in Detroit put them squarely in the sights of organized-crime hitters, FBI agent Carla Windermere, and Minnesota State Police detective Kirk Stevens. Debut novelist Laukkanen's interesting premise is supported by well-drawn characters, lots of action, solid procedural detail, and an unrelenting pace. Windermere and Stevens are planned to be series characters, and Laukkanen artfully manages to make sympathetic figures of both cops and kidnappers. Credulity gets strained a bit when the kidnappers overcome hired killers in several violent encounters and in the attraction between a young, black, and beautiful federal agent and the middle-aged, happily married white cop from St. Paul. Nevertheless, crime fans will find The Professionals an engaging and promising first novel. Copyright 2012 Booklist Reviews.

Kirkus Reviews 2012 January #1
A fast-moving debut thriller with enough twists to fill a pretzel bag. They aren't bad people. It's just that times are tough in Michigan, and none of these young friends can find a decent job. So Pender, Sawyer, Mouse and Marie decide that kidnapping a few rich people for quick, modest ransoms would solve their financial woes and let them live out their lives on a beach in the Maldives. No one gets hurt, no one gets greedy and they all stay professional. They just need to grab some rich businessmen, make a few quiet deals and walk away with a $60,000 payoff each time. One victim even complains he's worth way more, but $60K is enough for them. The plan works beautifully until they mess with the wrong guy and their great retirement plan goes insanely haywire. Meanwhile, state cop Kirk Stevens and FBI agent Carla Windermere team up to investigate the crimes. The characters are as much fun as the plot. Stevens is happily married and faithful, and Windermere has a beau, yet when they work together the sexual tension between them is obvious. They are the real pros in this case as they try to nail the criminals and stop the mayhem that spirals out of control. And for all the danger, Stevens and Windermere tell each other they're having so much fun they wish the case would go on forever. The kidnappers, however, enjoy themselves somewhat less while they learn that some things may be more important than money--like staying alive, for example. Let's hope Laukkanen writes more thrillers like this one. Copyright Kirkus 2012 Kirkus/BPI Communications.All rights reserved.

Library Journal Reviews 2011 November #1

Unable to find jobs, four recent college grads get by with a little low-key kidnapping. But then they pick the wrong victim. Fresh premise and lots of support for this debut thriller, with so many quotes from genre heavies--from Box to Sanford. A real ground-floor opportunity for thriller fans.

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Publishers Weekly Reviews 2012 January #2

Laukkanen's clever debut, the first in a new crime thriller series, compares favorably to Scott Smith's classic caper novel, A Simple Plan. Four college friends, who possess varying skills but are unable to find work in today's grim job market, decide to make money by kidnapping bankers and other extremely wealthy men around the U.S. The gang stays below law enforcement's radar by demanding ransoms so modest that the unharmed victims are inclined not to report their abduction. The group's luck runs out on a Michigan job when their target turns out to be connected to the Mafia, a mistake that starts an avalanche of violence. Their crime spree leads to the involvement of FBI agent Carla Windermere and Minnesota state investigator Kirk Stevens, who race the mob to catch the kidnappers. A few developments strain credulity, but the story's breakneck pace will carry most readers along. Author tour. Agent: Stacia Decker, Donald Maass Literary Agency. (Mar.)

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