I devoured Owen Laukkanen's debut novel The Professionals last year - it was one of those page turning thrillers that I love. (my review)
And you always wonder after such a strong debut, can the author repeat that success? I have to tell you, Laukkanen did - and actually, I think he did an even better job with this second novel - Criminal Enterprise.
Carter Tomlin is one of those guys living the 'good life'. Beautiful family, good job, big house, big car, all the toys and more. Until the economy takes a downswing....and Carter's job is no more. But, all the bills are still his. And he has a lifestyle to maintain for his family. With the pressure to keep up the façade, Carter does the unthinkable. He robs a bank. And then another.
And then "It wasn't just about the money anymore. Not even close. It was about the excitement, the power, the quick jolt of electricity he felt when the pretty tellers wilted at the sight of his gun.....It was power. Control. Robbing banks filled the void while he pad off his mortgage. And nobody had figured him out."
Someone is trying to figure it out though. Laukkanen brings back the two protagonists from his first book - FBI Agent Carl Windermere and Minnesota BCA detective Kirk Stevens. I was really glad to see this pair return - I really liked them both. They're opposite in personality and each brings a different outlook and set of strengths to the table. And there's a delicious tension between the two.
The plotting is tantalizingly clever, with several twists that had me nodding my head in appreciation many times. The ending of one chapter just fueled me to quickly start the next. From Carter's thoughts to the progress of the cops on his trail, the storyline just grabbed me and didn't let go. Note: make sure to start this book when you've got a full day to yourself - you won't want to put it down.
Suspense novels are one of my favourite genres and Laukkanen has firmly planted himself on my must read author list. Fans of authors Harlan Coben and Linwood Barclay would love Laukkanen. So does John Sandford, who provided a cover blurb: " Laukkanen is slam-bang brilliant." I wholeheartedly agree! Read an excerpt of Criminal Enterprise.
You can find Owen Laukkanen on Facebook and on Twitter.