Saturday, 12 October 2013

The Professionals (Stevens and Windermere), by Owen Laukkanen. A Gritty Tale of Crime and consequence.

The Professionals (Stevens and Windermere)

by Owen Laukkanen.


Four friends, recent college graduates, caught in a terrible job market, joke about turning to kidnapping to survive. And then, suddenly, it's no joke. For two years, the strategy they devise-quick, efficient, low risk-works like a charm. Until they kidnap the wrong man.

Now two groups they've very much wanted to avoid are after them-the law, in the form of veteran state investigator Kirk Stevens and hotshot young FBI agent Carla Windermere, and an organized-crime outfit looking for payback. As they all crisscross the country in deadly pursuit and a series of increasingly explosive confrontations, each of them is ultimately forced to recognize the truth: The true professionals, cop or criminal, are those who are willing to sacrifice . . . . everything.


A gritty read of crime and consequence, full of guilt and grime. The author sets an unsympathetic backdrop of hash economic times as impetus to stray from the straight and narrow. Authur, Matt, Marie and Ben devise a seemingly harmless plan--they are not going to hurt anyone, only hold them until their well off families pay to get them back. However, abducting people is never harmless as the 'team' soon find out. The trick the author plays with his characters and his plot, that set this yarn apart, are to make the reader empathize not only with the protagonists predicament, but also with angst. Unwittingly you might find yourself hopeful for their escape, not only from their assailants, but from the nightmare situation they find themselves in. This is the 'Sundance' syndrome, and the author does it very well. His fugitives are nice, normal kids, who have stumbled onto the wrong path, we want to save them.

On the other hand the cops, are not so likable--well made characters, yes, nice, not at all--Stevens, wants fame and thrills. Windermere, loves the run of adrenaline during a case, more than closure at the end. Both officers are in relationships but find themselves more than a little enamored of each other. Also, they neglect their life partners without much regret. So, although this story pans out in a moralistically predicable way, the characters and the point they are shooting from(no pun intended) make this read unusual and engaging. If you like thrill-a-second, action packed reads, with life like heroes then this is the book for you.

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