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Kill Fee (A Stevens and Windermere Novel) Hardcover – March 20, 2014

4.0 out of 5 stars 97 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

In this third novel featuring African American FBI Agent Carla Windermere and Minnesota State Police Detective Kirk Stevens (Criminal Enterprise, 2013), Laukkanen again displays his talent for creating once-solid citizens who have devised innovative approaches to crime. This time it’s Parkerson, a tech-savvy business executive and sociopath who realizes that if you can order a pizza online, why not murder? So he develops Kill Switch, a web forum for “gun enthusiasts,” and begins taking orders. For hit men, he seeks out veterans traumatized by war experiences. He abducts them, tortures them with “visions” of violence, and makes them dependent on him to save them from the visions. Windermere and Stevens witness one of his hits, and a chase ensues that crisscrosses the country. But the deepening attraction between Windermere and Stevens—she’s a decade younger, a head taller, beautiful, driven, and volatile; he’s happily married, devoted to his family, and stolid—strains credulity. Plot turns repeatedly rely on federal agencies TSA, DoD, and FAA refusing FBI requests for assistance. These caveats aside, Kill Fee is fast-paced fun. --Thomas Gaughan


Praise for KILL FEE
“Laukkanen’s fast-paced, no-frills style is brisk, blunt, and fueled entirely by adrenaline.”—Marilyn Stasio, The New York Times Book Review

“Enthralling . . . Kill Fee works well as an in-depth police procedural and an insightful look at amorality and greed. Laukkanen employs the same strengths of brisk plotting and incisive character studies that he established in his first two novels.”—Associated Press

“[Kill Fee is] further proof that Laukkanen is one of the best young thriller writers working today. His pace is relentless, his plots are satisfyingly intricate and his prose is cut-to-the-bone lean . . . Perhaps as importantly, his books boast social relevance. Like David Baldacci, a veteran of the thinking man’s thriller genre, Laukkanen understands the value of tying an exhilarating adventure back to the pressing concerns of the real world.”—Richmond Times-Dispatch

“Just two books in [The Professionals and Criminal Enterprise] and Laukkanen is a master at elevating stakes and keeping those prize pages turning. Book No. 3 in the Stevens & Windermere series, Kill Fee, is even better.” —Sarah Weinman, National Post
“Blistering pace and a stomach-turning homicide-for-hire scheme . . . Laukkanen keeps readers engaged with a serpentine plot that writhes through high-tech and low-life corruption.” —Publishers Weekly

“Pulse-pounding…you won’t put this third Stevens and Windermere installment down unfinished.”—Kirkus Reviews
“[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 3)
  • Hardcover: 400 pages
  • Publisher: G.P. Putnam's Sons; First Edition edition (March 20, 2014)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0399165525
  • ISBN-13: 978-0399165528
  • Product Dimensions: 6.5 x 1.5 x 9.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (97 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #135,922 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By J. Gorman on March 25, 2014
Format: Hardcover
I've read the previous two Stevens/Windermere books and found this one equally enjoyable . You can read the plot synopsis elsewhere...I will comment on what I did and didn't like about the book.

You could read this as a stand-alone, although there are few references to the other two books and you'd be more apt to understand the daughter's position in this one by knowing some of the past. If possible, read them in order.

I thought the plot was believable, different, and interesting. The action is fast paced and the story moved nicely through several different locations without confusing me. I thought the ending was very well done, as Laukanen was able to find some good amongst all the evil he portrayed.

I read it in 3 sittings over 2 days and had no problem picking up right where I ended the previous reading. You should be able to find a few natural "break" points, but you shouldn't stop just anywhere, as some action carries across chapters.

I believe Laukanen has grown as a writer over these 3 books and in this book he gives the reader more insight to what's going on "inside" some of the characters.

DID NOT LIKE (these are minor points, but I noticed them enough to list them)

The very short chapters hurt the flow of the book a bit for me, and I had to find the right places to end my reading session. Not a big deal, especially if you plan to read the book (384 pages) in one sitting, but I think the flow could have been improved with longer and fewer chapters.

I was a bit annoyed at the continuing " quasi romantic" relationship between the two main characters. It continued on from the first two books, but it didn't really contribute much to the storyline, the action, or the resolution. It's just there. Not sure where Laukanen is going with this, but it has deepened more in this 3rd book.

All in all, a very good 4 star effort...and a nice addition to the series.
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Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
Two law enforcement personnel, Windmere and Stevens, witness an assassination type killing, seeing the murderer as he fled the scene. The rest of the novel is their attempt to catch him and others responsible for this and other murders in the book. Numerous deaths by various means in different cities create havoc in the FBI agent and Minnesota policeman in their quest for answers. This is the third novel where these two work together ( this time with another younger FBI agent named Mathers) to figure out the hows and whys of the various murders. Laukkanen brings it all together at the end with all the major characters in one last major scene with an ending you probably won't see coming (no, I won't ruin it for you). The author jumps around so you see both the assassin's viewpoint, his evil trainer/guide's point of view, and, of course, the detectives points of view. Laukkanen weaves the various character's actions together in a well thought out plot with enough realism to make it seem almost possible.
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Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
Laukkanen's series with Windermere and Stevens took a bit of a dive in the 2nd outing last year, but this excellent thriller more than makes up for it and assures me that this author is one that I will keep reading. The story centers on the FBI's hunt for a hired killer, and dovetails with the Minnesota cops investigation into another murder. The story goes all over the U.S. and features a riveting pace, great dialogue and realistic situations that you can easily see happening. Furthermore, the story delves into the relationship between the two leads and makes them both seem much more human.

A great read, and highly recommended.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I found the first book in this series interesting & well plotted, the second less so but still well written. Kill Shot, however, finds the main characters dragged down by a dreary "relationship" and a storyline that has them both doing their jobs in a way that puts their relationship ahead of their professionalism. None of the characters seemed real to me, rather one dimensional and, frankly, boring. The villain does stunningly evil things without motivation except for wanting a bigger boat/house. Really?!? To build a great series (McBain-Sanford) most readers want "heroes" to admire in spite of their flaws or, perhaps because of them, and villains that are intriguing & complex. Those elements are missing in Kill Shot.
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Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
Kill Fee brings us back to the world of special agent Carla Windermere and Minnesota State Police Detective Kirk Stevens, after the events of The Professionals and Criminal Enterprise, our protagonists are back with a complicated case. This time around, it's a web forum that is taking orders for hits. The brain behind this forum is another normal citizen who turns to his sociopathic instincts. The author continues his trend of showcasing how easily "normal" people turn to the dark side.

As with the second book, the focus on Windermere and Stevens is deepened. The events of the Criminal Enterprise have some bearing on this one in regards to a character. This book however can be read as a standalone but for fans of the previous books will give a slighty deeper story.

The chapters are on the shorter side as with the previous books and the pace and twists are also top-notch. Kill Fee is an excellent continuation of a series that will have its fans and will continue to gather more.
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