"Laukkanen’s clever debut, the first in a new crime thriller series, compares favorably to Scott Smith’s classic caper novel, A Simple Plan."
—Publisher's Weekly (Starred review)
"A fast-moving debut thriller with enough twists to fill a pretzel bag...let's hope Laukkanen writes more thrillers like this one."
—Kirkus Reviews (Starred review)
• Kirkus Reviews' Best Fiction of 2012
• The Sacramento Bee's Best Novels of 2012
• The Houston Chronicle's Bookish Blog Best Books of 2012
• Grift Magazine's Favorite Books of 2012
• Barnes and Noble's Ransom Notes Blog Favorite Debuts of 2012
• National Post's Crimewave Best Canadian Mysteries of 2012
• January Magazine's Best Crime Fiction of 2012
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 finger-burning page-turner, filled with twists, surprises, and memorably complex characters,
The Professionals marks the arrival of a remarkable new writer.
"Really terrific—characters that live and breathe, and chills aplenty. Highly recommended.”
"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
"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."
"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.”
"A spectacular debut novel written with intelligence, toughness and heart.Owen Laukkanen is a writer to watch."
"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.”
"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."
"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!”
"One of the most assured new voices to hit the genre...[a] beautifully paced, high-stakes bravura performance."
—Sarah Weinman, Maclean's Magazine
"If this premise were all that shaped the plot, this would be a good enough thriller, but it's way better than that...I was so emotionally invested in the bad guys (and the good) that the ending hit me pretty hard. The Professionals deserves the high praise it's garnering, mine included."
—Milwaukee Journal Sentinel
"In an impressive debut that should put him on the thriller map, Owen Laukkanen spins a crime yarn for the 99%. . .It's a smart, timely page-turner packed with action and dripping with satire."
"This well-written debut crime novel features a chillingly postmodern amorality and well-developed protagonists on both sides of the law. Thriller fans will be chomping at the bit for the next Stevens and Windermere novel."
—Library Journal (Starred Review)
"If you love cinematic crime, you’ll want to let THE PROFESSIONALS take you for a ride."
—My Bookish Ways
"Just like the [four kidnappers] caught up in their dreams, it's hard for the reader not to become caught up in this fast-paced, riveting tale."
"THE PROFESSIONALS is tension-packed and assured as fuck, the type of broad-appeal book that never ceases to entertain yet challenges the reader morally just enough to get high marks from junkies with a jones for the darker shit."—Spinetingler Magazine
"Mr. Laukkanen has written a first-rate thriller. Its characters ring true, and to read about them is to be fascinated and exasperated by their struggles to get out of their playpen of self-esteem."
"A little like waking up on a roller coaster, just as the car plunges down a steep fall. . .prose is fighting-weight lean, and the pace is relentless. This might be as close as it comes to reading a movie."
"Totally engaging. Fast-paced. Intimately focused with characters you care about. Fantastic. Highly recommended."
—Steve Weddle (Do Some Damage)
"A monster chase. . .resourceful, violent, and paced at a brisk rate. . .The Professionals gives off a feel of confidence that identifies Laukkanen as a crime writer who knows what he's doing."
"Run, don't walk, to grab your copy. Crime, suspense and thriller fans, you're going to love The Professionals!"
—A Bookworm's World
"This is a blistering read, custom made for the thriller market...I can absolutely see this one being a best seller. It fits all the book-jacket clichés: high octane, white knuckle, non-stop."
—Eric Beetner (Crime Factory)
“For a debut novel, this one is a kicker. A classic page-turner suspense novel from a new talent that I hope is hard at work on his next novel.”
—Katy Tahja, Gallery Bookshop, Mendocino, Ca.
“The Professionals puts a new twist to the murder-mystery; a bunch of college grad wannabes getting hooked into the gangster life and seeming to get away with it. It is a scary-real storyline with fast-paced page-turner author writing style that kept me wanting to see what happened next. Expect great things from this author…if he writes more books like this one, there will soon be a huge following looking for the next Kirk Stevens case to solve, with the added spice of the return of FBI Agent Carla Windermere as well. Congrats to Putnam for picking a winner at the gate, and to the author as well for a fine debut into the crime novel genre.”
—Bill Gordon, Joseph-Beth Booksellers, Lexington, Ky
“As an experienced reader of John Sandford, Michael Connelly, Daniel Silva, Alex Berenson, and Randy Wayne White, I was very impressed with this debut novel of police drama. We will share the ARCs with staff and customers to help publicize this very talented writer’s exciting thriller.”
—Doug Robinson, Eagle Eye Book Shop, Decatur, Ga
“What do you get when a group of young, intelligent overachievers decide to turn their talents to the criminal world? The Professionals, that’s what. This debut is whip-smart, crackles with energy and intensity and flows at a driven pace. As the young criminals not only try to evade two tenacious law enforcement officers, they also must contend with fierce pursuit by members of organized crime. Readers will be mesmerized and eagerly anticipating the next novel by this fine new author.”
—Bill Cusumano, Nicola’s Books, Ann Arbor, Mi.
“As intense and absorbing a thriller as you could hope to find.”
—Jennie Turner-Collins, Joseph-Beth, Cincinnati, Ohio
"The Professionals is touted as Putnam's top book of the season. Laukkanen's fresh voice and original storytelling deserve it." —South Florida Sun-Sentinel
"Owen Laukkanen's debut, The Professionals, is nothing if not a great story. Laukkanen deftly cuts back and forth among the kidnappers, the thugs and the authorities hot on their trails, engendering reader empathy for members of each group—no easy feat!" —BookPage.com
"Each time I put the book down I kept saying 'I want to know what’s going to happen next' and quickly returned to the story. Whatever Laukkanen writes next, I’ll be reading it." —Book Sake
"If you're looking for great nighttime reading that you can't put down, THE PROFESSIONALS is just about perfect. . .This is a knockout debut." —Ray Walsh, Lansing State Journal
"Laukkanen’s characters are all quirky birds on a very high and narrow wire, and it’s a pleasure to hear them sing through the amphetamine stammer of his distinctive voice." —Criminal Complex
"The Professionals vividly illustrates contemporary economics while exploring how a sense of entitlement and selfishness can shade people’s logic. . .one of the best debuts of the year." —Mystery Scene Magazine
"Thankfully Owen Laukkanen found his degree to be more useful than his characters found theirs, as I’d hate to think of him turning professional in anything other than writing." —Book Reviews by Elizabeth A. White