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Criminal Enterprise (A Stevens and Windermere Novel) Hardcover – March 21, 2013

4.2 out of 5 stars 103 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

*Starred Review* After achieving law-enforcement fame in The Professionals (2012), Twin Cities FBI agent Carla Windermere and state BCA agent Kirk Stevens head in separate directions. She’s stalking the adrenaline rush of big cases, and he’s begun a career-sacrificing effort to avoid the “cowboying” in their last adventure. Now, a bank robber’s violent rampage brings them back together. Carter Tomlin, a recently unemployed executive who’s been leveraging debt to live in luxury, impulsively robs a bank. The heist nets little cash but a big payoff to his ego. His victims’ fear provides a drug-like high, addictive after his emasculating job loss. Tomlin quickly acquires automatic weapons and a supporting team of thieves and begins leaving bodies in his wake. Windermere is sure Tomlin is the gang’s mastermind but struggles to convince fellow agents that the seemingly wealthy suburbanite is a violent criminal. Stevens, who’s personally acquainted with Tomlin, also doubts Windermere’s theories, but clues are soon difficult to mask as coincidences, and he joins Windermere in the hunt. Laukkanen has clearly avoided the sophomore slump, deftly alternating taut narratives and building toward a grand climax that’s completely organic to the story. Windermere, Stevens, and Tomlin are strikingly realistic characters sharing varying degrees of dissatisfaction with their lives, and readers will identify with their struggles to reconcile their own needs with their responsibilities to others. --Christine Tran

Review

Praise for CRIMINAL ENTERPRISE:
 
“[Criminal Enterprise is] one hell of a wild ride – full of corkscrews, cutbacks, blind curves, and barrel rolls. The pace is quick, the plot is intricate, and the stakes start out high and increase exponentially over the course of the tale.”—Crimespree
 
“Laukkanen, one of the best thriller writers to emerge in the wake of the Great Recession, has a keen understanding of what readers expect in a crime thriller. His pace is relentless, and he shifts expertly between his characters’ perspectives, short chapter by short chapter, as he hurls readers toward an inevitably explosive finale.” ––Richmond Times-Dispatch
 
“"Criminal Enterprise" showcases Laukkanen's original storytelling. We can't wait to find out which everyman-turned-criminal Carla and Kirk tangle with next.”—South Florida Sun-Sentinel

"Fans of crime thrillers shouldn't miss this one or anything else with Laukkanen's name on the cover. The writing is so crisp, the pages almost want to turn themselves. He's a terrific storyteller."—Kirkus Reviews (starred review)

"Laukkanen as clearly avoided the sophomore slump, deftly alternating taut narratives and building toward a grand climax that's completely organic to the story.  Windermere, Stevens, and Tomlin are strikingly realistic characters sharing varying degrees of dissatisfaction with their lives, and readers will identify with their struggles to reconcile their own needs with their responsibilities to others."—Booklist (starred review)
 
Criminal Enterprise is a bloody good thriller” ––Ft. Worth Star-Telegram
 
“Laukkanen keeps the tension high…this is a suspenseful ride.”––Houston Chronicle
 
Owen Laukkanen: Latest novel is Criminal Enterprise. Laukkanen’s 2012 debut The Professionals was my favorite debut of the year and seems to have set a tone for his series—focusing on the impact of the economic downturn. While that might not seem to be the basis of an exciting thriller, Laukkanen has made it so. His are action-packed stories that also are contemporary cautionary tales. Laukkanen also gives a vivid look at amorality, entitlement and consequences.”—Mystery Scene
 
 “If you’ve ever wanted to write a terrific crime novel, Criminal Enterprise could well be the blueprint.” ––New York Journal of Books
 
“This high-voltage thriller practically deserves a warning label on its cover... the writing is so crisp you can almost hear it crunch between your teeth, and the action builds to a jaws-clenching finish.”–– Read Me Deadly
 
The Professionals was highly and rightly praised...Criminal Enterprise is even better. Laukkanen has a plot line built on the death of the American Dream.” –– The Globe and Mail
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Product Details

  • Series: A Stevens and Windermere Novel (Book 2)
  • Hardcover: 416 pages
  • Publisher: G.P. Putnam's Sons; First Edition edition (March 21, 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0399157905
  • ISBN-13: 978-0399157905
  • Product Dimensions: 9.1 x 6.4 x 1.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (103 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,081,335 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Edgar Mcgarvey on July 9, 2015
Format: Paperback
I enjoyed Laukkanan’s previous crime/adventure novel, The Professionals. He deserves credit for coming up with a novel twist on the kidnapping theme. He gives us four generally likable recent liberal arts graduates who decide they would rather flip the men they kidnap for a modest ransom paid within a day or so than flip burgers. They have been at it for a couple of years and their retirement kitty is about half complete when mistakes are made and things get complicated. There are two or three holes in the plot but for the most part the average reader will find the way things happen quite believable. Also, the four main characters are credible, interesting, and at times sympathetic. When all is said and done and the bodies buried it’s worth a 4 out of 5.

But Criminal Enterprise is a seriously flawed follow up book. Indeed, it reeks of “exploitation”. The villain of the story is an upper management type who turns to robbing banks when he loses his job and has trouble with family expenses. The way he goes about ripping off drug dealers, banks, and armored cars is totally amateurish. Nearly as amateurish and the author’s plotting and character development. This is not a good book.
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Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
Here's another winner for Owen Laukkanen. While this one wasn't quite as exciting to me as The Professionals was, it did not lack for keeping my interest. I just wanted to keep reading. While the premise is about the same as it was for the Professionals, people hurting in a bad economy and turning to illegal means to get money because they feel there is no other way out. In The Professionals they turned to kidnapping for ransom, and in Criminal Enterprise they turned to bank robbing. To me the only difference was in The Professionals I actually found my self routing for them to win because the characters were likeable, or at least, somewhat. In Criminal Enterprise, I did not care for any of the characters so was not sympathetic to their plight. All in all though, this is another great read by Owen Laukkanen. I highly recommend it.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I continue to say Owen Laukkanen is a good writer. It's the stories that I still find lacking. They seem shallow as if sufficient thought wasn't given to the plot before writing began. This is a remake of the first book in my opinion. Instead of college students becoming criminals when they couldn't find jobs we have an accountant becoming a criminal because he's laid off and is no longer able to provide for his family in an opulent style. The publisher's dust cover quotes are exaggerated. This is not a page-turner. It took me several weeks to read and even when the crime was about to be solved, I set the book aside for a week before I resumed reading. It simply wasn't that interesting. The relationship between Windermere and Stevens is not believable. I do think that given time and more writing experience Laukkanen's stories will gain depth and quality and I will likely read his third book, if there is one.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Loved this book as much as his first one. The writing is dynamic, thrilling and engrossing. It is very hard to put down. The plot unwinds slowly at first, then moves at a faster pace and before you know it, It is racing along. Excellent. Good character development and plot line. You are inclined to like the "bad guy" for many reasons, but later, you do want him to get caught. He goes over the line of a sympathetic criminal. The relationship between Stevens and Windermere is a puzzle that does need a bit more explanation as the series continues. I totally get that they have a "work" bond and enjoy their work as well as working with each other, while Stevens absolutely loves his wife and family. However, that usually does lead to major morality questions in the future that have to be answered by both of them. I am not sure how I feel about that situation or which way I would want it to go. I try not to think about it and just hope the author does "the right thing" with it. Whatever that is. Totally worth reading this book and any others he has written. Just wish he would write faster!
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Format: Kindle Edition
This book is an uneasy mix between an emotion-driven novel and an action thriller. It's as though a romance writer and a thriller writer collaborated, to neither one's satisfaction.

The main bad guy's abrupt personality change was too extreme to be believable.

On the plus side, the initial action parts of the book were well done.

I am having trouble figuring out what kind of reader would be attracted to this book - although the ratings show that people liked it. As I see it, a reader who enjoys action thrillers would be jarred by the author's rapid shifts to the characters' emotions. For readers who enjoy books about people's feelings, I don't think there was enough emotional content to be satisfying and I suspect they would be unhappy with the violence. For pretty much every reader, the author seemed to get bored with the story about 2/3 of the way through and he just seemed to be going through the motions. That makes for a boring experience for the reader.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I enjoyed Laukkanen's first book, The Professionals, but this book was too long and too complicated. Too many illogical moves by both the crooks and law enforcement. I won't be ordering any more of his novels.
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