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The Professionals (A Stevens and Windermere Novel) Hardcover – March 29, 2012


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Product Details

  • Series: A Stevens and Windermere Novel (Book 1)
  • Hardcover: 384 pages
  • Publisher: Putnam Adult; 1 edition (March 29, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0399157891
  • ISBN-13: 978-0399157899
  • Product Dimensions: 9.3 x 6.3 x 1.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (118 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #595,150 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

John Sandford reviews The Professionals

Alex George

John Sandford is a Pulitzer Prize winner and the author of twenty-two Prey novels and eleven other works of fiction, most recently the Virgil Flowers novel Shock Wave. He lives in Minnesota.

The list of things that can foul up a perfectly good thriller is a long one. Sometimes they are so prevalent that if you go into a mystery bookstore and ask the owner, “Anything new and good?,” he may have twenty new books around the counter, and maybe he’ll hand you one.

Some of the other writers will learn the trade, eventually, but this one, this one’s worth reading right now.

Owen Laukkanen is a new guy, but you’d never know it. The Professionals is one of those books that you’ll tend to read in one sitting. The basic story involves a crew of professional kidnappers who have refined their technique to an art form--until they stumble, and art turns to blood. Laukkanen writes so well that his prose disappears into the story, and you live it: The Professionals is full of real people, struggling through extreme circumstances, but nothing that you don’t believe.

Both the good and the bad guys come in a variety of flavors, and his cops combine wit and charm--in fact, his pairing of FBI agent Carla Windermere and BCA agent Kirk Stevens is so good and full of possibilities that I can’t wait to see what they do next.

The Professionals is a real, down-and-dirty thriller: the story never, ever slows down.

If I were you, I’d get started now.

Photo of John Sandford © John Earle

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

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Customer Reviews

The characters are well written and the story is believable.
Shannon
Toward the end I found myself feeling like it was a chore just to get through the last 75 pages or so.
Joker626
Owen Lukkanen is good, and I'll be looking forward to his next book.
Bookman

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

21 of 21 people found the following review helpful By Russ A. on May 29, 2012
Format: Hardcover
As a retired FBI agent who has worked real kidnapping cases and written a novel about kidnapping, I just had to read and review this one as soon as I heard about it. Two things you should know: first, there are no spoilers in this review; second, even though there are some criticisms, this is not a negative review. I'm giving it four stars because I liked it, and if you like this genre, I think you will too. But I think my unique experience and perspective may be helpful to some prospective readers.

When I first started reading it, I was quickly disappointed. The author was getting things wrong, little things that could easily have been researched and done right. For example, a VIN cannot be destroyed by burning the vehicle (unless maybe it's melted to pure slag); it's almost impossible for anyone to get $60,000 cash from a bank in less than 24 hours; FBI agents don't fly around the country following leads on cases -- they send the leads to the agents in the other locations to handle. Then there were the cliched characters: the mafioso gunman had greasy, black, slicked back hair; the FBI agent wore a trench coat and mirrored shades. In my 25 years in the FBI I never saw any agent wear a trench coat, and it's Secret Service, not FBI, who wear the mirrored shades (so that the the assassin in the crowd can't tell if they are looking at him). These things irritated me.

Then I told myself to forget about that stuff and just go with the story. It's supposed to be fiction, after all. From there I began to enjoy it. It's full of non-stop action and imaginative twists. The sexual tensions that develop between some of the characters are done well. If you prefer the superbly researched mysteries written with more erudition than action (e.g.
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40 of 47 people found the following review helpful By Tom McGee TOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on February 15, 2012
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
I review books as a hobby. Amazon.com lets me pick two books from a list twice monthly in exchange for an honest review. It is a great opportunity to read new authors. Some are better writers than others and some write more interesting books than others. Every once in a while one of these authors absolutely knocks my socks off. This was my experience with Owen Laukkanen's debut novel, The Professionals. It was absolutely fantastic!

Four friends were finishing up college at the University of Washington. For Arthur Pender, it was a Master's degree in English Literature. His girl friend, Marie McAllister received a Baccalaureate degree in History. Her friend, Ben "Mouse" Stirzaker was a computer science graduate. With Pender's help, Matt Sawyer barely graduated with a laughable GPA.

With a poor economy the four were pondering what kind of a job any of them could obtain. Only "Mouse" had hope for gainful employment. During a get together at Sawyer's house, Marie jokingly said that they should rob people. They were all pretty smart people and with Pender as their ring leader, they decided they would pull one job to see if they could do it.

One successful mid-west job led to another without a hitch, until they made a mistake.

Without knowing it they kidnapped a Detroit mobster, Donald Beneteau, whose wife, Patricia was a crime boss connected to the Bartholdi crime family from New York. That mistake would alter their plans and lives, forever.

Targeted by the mob, chased and investigated by the police and FBI, they matched wits and battled professions on a rollercoaster ride across the country in an attempt to escape and retire on an island somewhere in the sun.

On the run their lives of crime turned violent and fatal for many.
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43 of 52 people found the following review helpful By cait VINE VOICE on April 2, 2012
Format: Hardcover
OK, this is not a bad book but it is not as good as all the great blurbs from the likes of Lee Child and John Sandford led me to hope. It is well written and action packed, I will give it that. And even though there are a lot of characters and a lot of different locations, who was who and what was going on was always pretty clear. That is the good news.

But...I had a couple of major issues with the book.

My number one problem, and it is a big number one, is the characters. The story is told from several points of view, the kidnapping gang, the FBI and state agent, and even the main mob guy who is after the four. The four college kidnapers are presented as rather sympathetic. The just want money and OK, they scare innocent people but they didn't mean to hurt anyone. Well, until they killed one..and then a bunch more. Poor dears. Poor amoral, lazy, over-educated dears.

Then we have the FBI agent Carla and State Agent Kirk. He is happily married and she has a boyfriend, but they don't seem above some heavy duty flirting. It seems that this is meant to be a series with the two of them and let me say, I for one have NO interest in seeing where that is going. It is totally out of character with the sort of people we are told thy are and is actually rather creepy.

Then there are the many cities the book is set in. We visit a bunch of different places, including one of my favorite book settings, Seattle, and my second favorite, Miami Beach, but for all the flavor we get, it could have been set anywhere. One trip to the beach for a few minutes was as much as we get. If I am going to do that much traveling, I want to get a feel for the difference or we might as well of stayed in Minnesota.

And finally, there is the plot.
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