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. (Really, I had the day off, couldn't put it down and finished it by that night) You would never guess that this is a first novel. You'd think that Laukkanen is a professional. The writing is smooth, the dialogue flows so easily and the characters hooked me from the beginning. The plot? Well, the plot is just freakin' fantastic. The kidnappers owned this book, but Laukkanen has plans for another book featuring Stevens and Windermere. I look forward to seeing what he has in store for book two!
Read an excerpt of The Professionals. You can find Owen Laukkanen on Facebook and on Twitter. ( and oh yeah - he's Canadian eh!)
An alumnus of the University of British Columbia's Creative Writing BFA program, Laukkanen spent three years in the world of professional poker, traveling to high-stakes tournaments across the globe as a writer for a poker website. A commercial fisherman when he's not writing, Laukkanen divides his time between Vancouver and Prince Edward Island, Canada.