Read The Professionals by Owen Laukkanen Online


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 inFour 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....

Title : The Professionals
Author :
Rating :
ISBN : 9781410446923
Format Type : Hardcover
Number of Pages : 575 Pages
Status : Available For Download
Last checked : 21 Minutes ago!

The Professionals Reviews

  • James Thane
    2019-04-04 15:25

    This is an excellent debut thriller with a great cast of characters, a totally plausible and entertaining plot, and a pace that will keep readers turning the pages at a blistering pace.When the economy is in the dumpster, what is a young person supposed to do? Four friends, Marie McAllister, Arthur Pender, Ben Stirzaker and Matt Sawyer are recent college graduates with good degrees but no job prospects worthy of the time and effort they put into getting those degrees. Ruminating over drinks one night, one of them teasingly suggests that they might make some money as bank robbers. Then another suggests, somewhat more seriously, that a career as kidnappers might be safer and more lucrative.Suddenly, the idea is no longer a joke and the four hatch a plan that seems sensible, safe and rewarding. They will carefully research their victims, choosing only marks that can readily afford the ransom they demand. And they will not get greedy, picking very wealthy and/or famous targets and demanding large payoffs. Rather, they pick people who have done fairly well in high finance and ask only $60,000 each for their safe return.Criss-crossing the country over the space of a couple of years, the plan works beautifully. The victims' families all pay up; they don't call in the police, and the gang is salting away a lot of money to fund their early retirements. But then, finally, they pick the wrong victim, a man who's tied into organized crime. Things go south in a big way, and soon some very bad people are trying to even the score and then some.If that weren't bad enough, another victim's family has finally ignored the gang's warning and gone to the police. Now an agent of the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension is also on their trail. And no, it's not Lucas Davenport or Virgil Flowers, but rather an up and coming investigator named Kirk Stevens. The FBI also joins the case in the person of Carla Windermere. Stevens is temporarily detailed to the Fibbies and he and Windermere are soon in hot pursuit as well.What follows is a great chase that runs from Florida to Seattle, to Detroit and elsewhere. There's plenty of action and suspense and Laukannen so skilfully creates the characters of the four young kidnappers that you can't help rooting for them, even though Stevens and Windermere are also great characters and you know that you should be rooting for them. It's a terrific story, and it's really hard to believe that this could be Laukkanen's first time out of the chute.This is the first in a series of novels featuring Stevens and Windermere, and the latest is The Watcher in the Wall, which is just out this week. The Professionals was released in 2012, and so obviously I'm way, way late to the party here--the penalty one pays for having a TBR stack that is totally out of control. But with this book, Laukkanen has jumped to the top of the pile and I'll be getting back to the adventures of Stevens and Windermere ASAP.

  • Joe
    2019-04-21 19:33

    The reviews on this site are amazing. Why do people persist in telling the story as their review? Professional reviewers do this to attract readership and sell books. Kids are taught in school to talk about a book in terms of plot , character, setting etc. So what is it then that causes so many people to tell the story! As a reader I am curious to hear what it was about a book that interested readers. Seldom do I ever get that. In the case of this particular book, I got the usual tell the story reviews and my second favorite-the unparalleled greatest book ever review. This debut novel was a major disappointment in many ways. The plot sounded somewhat interesting which is what caused me to read it. Unfortunately, a good idea is only that- it must be developed and supported. The critical letdown occurred because the author could not support the plot with believable characters or good writing. Those of you that wrote that the characters and plot were believable and that it was a real page turner- i fear for you. These were flat, unbelievable characters operating in a senseless, stupid plot overseen by a hack writer. Many of you need to go back to school or find a good English teacher as your new best friend.

  • J. Kent Messum
    2019-04-04 21:26

    'The Professionals' is one of those books that gets you thinking... and then you start thinking about how many other people could be thinking exactly what you're thinking...And what I was thinking was just how much I sympathized with the protagonists and their criminal activities in this book. Kidnapping wealthy 'soft targets' (those responsible for ruining middle class lives because of greed) and ransoming them back to their rich families? My God, a few years ago during the economic collapse I was daydreaming about similar payback!Laukkanen takes this fantasy and expands it into a thriller that tackles some tough questions about the American Dream, class struggle, and a new generation finding their hopes for a good life dashed by harsh realities and few opportunities. You can't help but strap yourself in with these characters and join them in their plight.

  • Barbara
    2019-04-02 15:46

    Four college graduates - Pender, Marie, Sawyer, and Mouse - are unable to secure good-paying jobs and form a kidnapping ring. Their plan is to pull off a slew of abductions, pile up a lot of ransom money, and retire to the Maldives. For each job the kidnappers choose a wealthy family man, ask for $60,000 (an amount they consider easily affordable), and make dire threats about informing the cops. As the book opens, the plan has been working perfectly. The gang has staged jobs across the country and no one has squealed to the police. Then the criminals make a bad mistake. They abduct a Detroit man named Donald Beneteau, whose wife is connected to the mob. The caper goes badly wrong.....Beneteau is killed and Mouse is shot. The outlaws go on the run, chased by mobsters and law enforcement officials. The police task force is led by Minnesota BCA investigator Kirk Stevens and FBI Agent Carla Windermere, who meet for the first time in this book.The kidnappers are closely pursued by the mafia and police, but they're pretty lucky.....for a while. The perps outmaneuver their pursuers and leave the bodies of several mobsters behind. Mouse, however, is badly wounded and starts to go downhill.There's plenty of excitement in the story, with a chase that extends from the midwest to Florida and back again. Laukkanen also does a good job with the characters, who are well-drawn - though not always sympathetic (or quite believable).For example, Stevens and Windermere are having so much 'fun' chasing these perps that they're sorry the investigation will eventually end. Really?? Do cops really think like that?? Also, there's an attraction between Stevens - a happily married man with kids, and Windermere - who has a boyfriend. Fair enough, it happens. But Windermere seems to encourage the flirtation, which put me off. For their part, the kidnappers (at first) think of themselves as "professionals" - basically decent people who do little harm. They completely ignore the trauma inflicted on the kidnap families. The story is an engaging thriller, but some plot points strain credulity. SPOILER ALERT SPOILER ALERT (view spoiler)[ Some of the gang's 'getaways' seem impossible. The mobsters - who are savvy criminals - would have to be REALLY DIM to be bested by some of the gang's tactics. This is especially true in the scene where the mafia arranges to exchange a girl hostage for the gang members. The perps happen to meet a girl on the beach - a beautiful Princeton coed from a billionaire family - who decides to throw in with them and go on the run. Since there's a very real possibility they'll all be caught or killed, this simply doesn't ring true. The gang totes a badly wounded Mouse around for days and days without visiting a doctor or hospital....essentially killing him. I was appalled by this. (hide spoiler)] END SPOILER ALERT END SPOILER ALERTThough there are some flaws, this is a good beginning to the Stevens-Windermere series. Recommended to fans of thrillers. You can follow my reviews at

  • Jim
    2019-04-05 15:36

    Excellent premise & pretty well done throughout. The book was well titled, too. Some of the reality was lost to TV moments as the train wreck headed for its inevitable conclusion, but it wasn't too awful. The motivations & characters were all great & saved the story. I could really see 4 college kids doing something like that. Their stupid choice of degrees & sense of entitlement is so typical today. It was inevitable they'd hit a target that was tougher than they expected.(I don't know how we've lost touch with reality so much, but I've seen it happen too often not to believe it. Most don't really prepare their kids for the real world. It's get a degree & then figure out the job market. Coddle the kids to some arbitrary age & then cut them loose. Idiotic & so short sighted.) Anyway, it was a great ride. I was pretty sure of the ending before I'd gotten a few minutes in, but was still captivated to see how it would play out. Excellent. Very well narrated, too.

  • Maureen DeLuca
    2019-03-31 17:25

    This book was a fun read for me. A solid 3-3.5 stars and I made it a 4 star read for the 'what if' factor. You have 4 young kids/adults- finding it hard to find good paying jobs- all sitting around the table-they wonder - What if we kidnap someone- for around $60,000? Easy money- with no intentions of hurting anyone- just in and out- fast and easy- done deal. So, they do it. And then again. And then again. Then one day- they kidnap the wrong person- and something goes sideways. Now the hunt for the 4 of them begin and that is how we are then introduced to the first in the series of Steven & Windermere. Kirk Stevens -an agent of the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension & FBI agent Carla Windermere. The book kept my interest- and like all books , I have to say towards the end - I did an eye roll or two along the way- (but hey, its a book!) I will pick up the second book in this series one day for sure!

  • Sam
    2019-04-19 13:21

    Four college friends joke about kidnapping rich people as a way of making a living in todays bad job market. For 2 years it works. They are not greedy, they don't hurt their victims and none of their victims call the police later because of a warning "We'll come after your family." Until one man decides that they can't do that to him. After he is released he calls the police. Enter Kirk Stephens, an investigator with the BCA who once he starts investigating has a hunch that this was not a one time kidnapping. FBI agent Carla Windermere gets the case and recruiits Stephens temporarily to the FBI to help catch them.I can't say enough how much I loved this book. Laukkanen writes such likable characters. I even liked the kidnappers and the hitman that is tracking them down. The banter between Stephens and Windermere flows naturally. I also like the fact that Stephens is in a loving marriage with an understanding wife, has 2 kids, and he is not a burned out alcoholic. What you get is a fast paced thrill ride of a book. I couldn't wait to get to the end to see what happened and at the same time did not want it to end. Can't wait for the next book to come out. I won this from LibraryThing and I highly recommend this book.

  • Janebbooks
    2019-04-25 13:26

    It's graduation time at a certain West coast university... and four recent graduates are pondering their chances at a good job in today's bad economy. Three guys and a gal: Pender, Mouse, Sawyer and Marie. Marie has a degree in history and is trying to avoid working in a coffee shop. Mouse has a degree in computer science, the only one of the group with a chance at bankable work. Pender, a scholarly English major, wants to find some tuition money to stay in school. And Sawyer goes along with the crowd...Four twenty-somethings put their heads together and decide to do a few kidnappings. Clean white-collar crime... abduct a business man with a hefty bank account on his way home...and have his wife deliver in used twenty bills a modest ransom of $60,000. Clever. And safe for two years until they abduct the wrong guy... the guy with $$$ in the bank turns out to be married to a woman with organized crime connections. And suddenly they, our youthful kidnappers, are on the run from the cops and the mob.State investigator Kirk Stevens has a dream job. Not much crime in Duluth, Minnesota...plenty of time with the wife and kids. Until he's drawn into investigating a local businessman's complaint of kidnapping. As the clues lead to other similar crimes in other states, he joins with hotshot FBI agent Carla Windermere in crisscrossing the USA in search of students turned abductors. And following the law, a few hit men with dubious connections.Owen Laukkanen's debut novel THE PROFESSIONALS is also the first Stevens and Windermere thriller. Before you start this exciting read, make sure you have the second Stevens/Windermere Criminal Enterprise on hand.And don't take these books on vacation. You won't see a sandy beach or mountainside full of green trees for several days...and there goes your week!Highly recommended.Jane

  • Steve Weddle
    2019-04-12 19:37

    This book is one of those rare accomplishments -- a believable thriller. Totally engaging. Fast-paced. Intimately focused with characters you care about.Fantastic. Highly recommended. Owen Laukkanen is the real deal, folks.At a bar with my agent and she wouldn't shut up about this book. Which made me unhappy. "Talk about my book, crazy lady," I thought. In fact, it's rather possible I mouthed that to her. But the more she talked about this book from Owen Laukkanen, the more I wanted to hear. The more I wanted to know. Then the more I wanted her to shut up and hand me the book. Finally, I got my hands on the book. The characters are drawn with such precision and depth that you can't help caring about them. The action gets moving and never lets up. A great read.Now I kinda want to ask about his next book, but I don't want to sit around waiting for it. I want it now.

  • Barbara
    2019-03-30 16:29

    This is a entertaining and fast read for those who enjoy crime/thriller genre. “The Professionals” is about a group of four friends who graduate from college and find the job market lackluster. What’s a group to do? They decide to start kidnapping wealthy people, ask for low ransom that’s “pocket money” for the wealthy; so most of the ransom’s are in the $60-100 thousand mark. They are doing well until they kidnap a man connected to the mob.Around the same time, the Local Authorities get wind of the kidnaps. Suddenly, the group of four is fleeing from the FBI and the mob.This is a debut novel for author Owen Laukkanen. It’s a page-turner with some unrealistic scenarios, but all major crime/thriller novels have a bit of fanciful predicaments. That’s what makes it a thriller. It’s a fast and engaging read. Perfect for the beach or plane.

  • Scott Parsons
    2019-04-15 14:37

    I stumbled across this book while browsing displays at the library one day. I had never heard of the author but the jacket blurb sounded interesting. This debut novel by Owen Laukkanen far exceeded my expectations. I will not elaborate on the plot as this is set out well in a review by James Thames here.Basically four young college graduates are depressed to find a job market where there is no demand for their talents. Over a drink one night someone jokes that they should take up bank robbing. After a more serious discussion they hatch a scheme to launch a low key kidnapping operation in which they snatch well-to-do individuals, ask for a low ransom(usually less than 100k), and warn families not to go to the police. This is proceeding well for a couple of years until a couple of things go awry. One victim's family reports a kidnapping which piques the interest of the Minnesota of Criminal Apprehension's ( yes, of Lucas Davenport and Virgil Flowers fame) Kirk Stevens.Then the kidnappers make an error. They snatch an obnoxious guy whose wife is linked to the mob and calls in the enforcers. Matters escalate when he is killed by one of the gang which brings in the FBI.There then ensues a fascinating chase all over the country as they are pursued both by the law and gangsters.The characterization is so well done that you will root for the kidnappers instead of the law.I look forward to reading the other novels in this series featuring Stevens and Windermere but really I will be yearning for the return of Andrew and his sidekicks.

  • Raven
    2019-04-06 18:24

    Owen Laukkanen’s The Professionals accompanied me to work everyday last week, the importance of that being, that when you settle down on your lunchbreak away from the trials and tribulations of the workplace and you just need to escape for a while, you need a book like this. Fast moving, plenty of twists and turns and a genuine lack of clues as to how the story will resolve itself. Should also say that thanks to Laukkanen, there were a couple of late returns back to work whilst reading this one!The absolute stand out feature of this book for me, was the incredibly control of pace and plot that Laukkanen produces. I loved the initial premise of the story, that one career choice when you leave college with no hope of full time employment is to band together with a group of mates and just kidnap people. Don’t ask for huge ransoms. Don’t hurt them. Everyone’s a winner. But the best laid plans can always go awry and after kidnapping the wrong man our four amigos embark on a flight from justice after a particularly foolhardy act. Pursued by a dogged law enforcement officer working out of Minnesota, Kirk Stevens, and a ballsy FBI agent, Carla Windermere, the foolish foursome encounter numerous scrapes, violence and separation along the way, as well as picking up another stray soul to add to their number, and causing the dissolution of a relationship whose ferocity of passion would put Romeo and Juliet to shame. As the fugitives flee, drawing on their reserve of false identities, but troubled by their depleting funds, they are forced into another kidnap, and a bid to release one of their number from custody resulting in a tense, violent, and almost poignant conclusion. The plotting is almost seamless throughout, transporting the reader effortlessly from state to state, in a real game of cat and mouse, as the net closes on the kidnappers. Balanced perfectly between the increasing desperate measures adopted by the fugitives, and the mostly calm and controlled investigation by the law enforcement agencies, evinced by Laukkanen’s inclusions of FBI investigative procedures and practices, the book races to its conclusion at a breakneck speed, which does make it incredibly difficult to put down.I thoroughly enjoyed the characterisation of the kidnappers, Arthur, Marie, Mouse and Sawyer, and the pivoting relationships between them, as the peril increased and the pressure really starts to rain down on them. I found the relationship between Arthur and Marie particularly touching and a wee bit heartbreaking (even for an old cynic like me) as you will discover for yourselves when you read it. I also enjoyed the banter and good natured joshing that existed between them, and the appearance of an almost sibling- like relationship particularly between Mouse and Sawyer. However, I was altogether less convinced about the police protagonists, and the hackneyed attempt at producing some kind of sexual tension between them, that felt altogether a bit forced. Also the sporadic interactions between Stevens and his wife, were all a bit chocolate box sweet and slightly nauseating. Really, in the light of how long he was actually away from home, this proved a bit of an unnecessary diversion to the intensity of pace that Laukkanen was building overall in the increasing pace and excitement of the investigation. All in all though, a pretty satisfying thriller that kept me on the edge of my seat, if not entirely perfect in the balance of the realisation of the characters.

  • Renee
    2019-04-23 13:38

    ** This book was provided free-of-charge through a Goodreads First Reads giveaway. **The Professionals is a timely novel taking place within a context which had me drawing comparisons to the Occupy Wall Street movement which swept up North America in the last year. The reader is introduced to four white, middle class, under-employed college graduates who dream up the perfect money-making scheme in a scarce job market: kidnapping. All goes according to plan until they kidnap the wrong man - - the kind of man with connections, who take notice, and who take revenge. Now, the foursome must outrun and outsmart them, as well as the law who are hot on their heels. Kirk Stevens, a middle-age Minnesota state police investigator and Carla Windermere, a young attractive FBI agent team up to bring the Professionals to justice. But who will get to them first?The Professionals was a thrilling rollercoaster of a ride that had me completely hooked within the first two chapters. I read this book in two days because I couldn’t put it down. There are so many twists and turns and a cataclysmic ending that will keep you on the edge of your seat until the last page. I can’t believe it is Laukkanen’s first book – I can’t wait to see what he produces next!One of the things that Laukkanen does so brilliantly is to introduce and develop the characters in such a way that you feel compassion and sympathy for both sides (ok, not so much for the REALLY bad guys) to the extent that you are rooting for both and wishing a happy ending for both sides. Laukkanen delivers just enough of a back story for the characters as well as their inner monologues so that we can fully appreciate the complexity and the moral weighing of the choices the Professionals make. So well done!The overall plot itself is original and timely in that it really speaks to the inequity between the top 1% of income earners (i.e., executives and managers of large corporations and banks) and the typical college graduate with four years of education under their belt and no job prospects in their field. Laukkanen does a fabulous job of describing their frustrations and outrage at these economic inequities.I do have one issue with the plot though, thus rationalizing why this wasn’t a five star for me. The author had me hooked into the plot until the last fifteen pages. I believed that everything could theoretically happen the way it was described until Steven’s decision (view spoiler)[to take Marie to the airport with him (hide spoiler)]. I understand that this was necessary for the plot to end the way it did, but unfortunately, I do feel that this was one thing that was illogical and I couldn’t quite suspend disbelief around it. This was one loose thread in an otherwise seamless plotline. At the end of the day, I really enjoyed this book immensely. It is unusual for me to not be able to predict what will happen next in a book, but I was continually surprised by the twists and turns in the plot. Laukkanen captured my full attention in Chapter 1 and kept it through to the last page.

  • Carol
    2019-04-06 17:21

    The Professionals by Owen LaukkanenWindermere and Stevens series Book #15★'sFrom The Book:Four friends, 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 works like a charm—until they kidnap the wrong man. Now two groups 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 crisscross the country in a series of increasingly explosive confrontations, each of them is ultimately forced to recognize the truth: The real professionals, cop or criminal, are those who are willing to sacrifice everything.My Thoughts:A really great new author for me that was recommended as my Blind Date With A Book. This whole endeavor started for these four young friends as a game that not one of them took seriously until they just tried it once and found that it worked better than they ever imagined. They were selective...they never asked for huge amounts of ransom...they always released their victim unharmed immediately after the ransom was dropped...they moved from state to state never staying in one place very long...and they didn't even have guns. All went smoothly... until it didn't. Luck was always on their side and then it went horribly wrong and from there continued to spin faster and faster out of control taking them on a ride with catastrophic consequences.The strange thing is that the author makes you really like these kids. You find yourself wanting them to come out ahead even though you know everything is headed south. The FBI agent, Windermere and the Minnesota detective, Stevens are both dedicated cops that just won't give up. Owen Laukkanen has produced a 5 star first book in this series. I have already asked the library for the other 3 and I hope he is busy writing number 5.

  •  Olivermagnus
    2019-03-31 18:33

    Four friends graduate from college during the economic downturn and can't seem to find a job. One of them jokes about kidnapping rich people, asking for a relatively small amount pf ransom for a millionaire, and then releasing the person telling them not to notify the police or they will hurt the family. Then they move to another town in another state and start all over again. It seems to work well for two years until one man decides to inform the police. Kirk Stevens of Minnesota's BCU crime task force can't seem to find any evidence that connects to the crew, until the FBI informs them that a similar situation has happened to a mob related family in New Jersey. Things go downhill for everyone from that point on.I couldn't put this book down. It's the debut novel for author Owen Laukkanen and there are currently six books in the series. It’s a page-turner with some predictable scenarios, but it captured my full attention in the first chapter and every chapter after that. The criminals were very sympathetic, which I think is often difficult to pull off. Kirk Stevens has instant chemistry with FBI agent Carla Windermere, and not in a romantic way. They are a great investigative team and I'm excited to read the next book in the series. If you're looking for an action packed thriller that's a little different from all the others, this is a great place to start.

  • Mackey St
    2019-04-05 16:37

    This is a fabulous debut thriller! I simply could not put it down. Normally I avoid books that involve the FBI/CIA because, frankly, we all hear about them far too much in the real world. However, The Professionals was so different and unique that it grabbed my attention and did not let it go.I've read some other reviews and I'm glad I read them afterward because they give too much away. I will not do that to you. Suffice it to say that there are very intriguing criminals and really interesting agents on the chase. You will travel all over the US in pursuit and stay on the edge of your seat until the very end. I love this author and I'm off to search for his book in this series....

  • K
    2019-04-08 17:27

    I was much more impressed with this, the debut effort in this series, than with the second book (which I read first by happenstance ). I rounded to five stars because this was such a well done and engagingly written book. I actually found myself rooting for the team of criminals, who seemed somehow to be sympathetic characters despite their unlawful behaviors. They simply appeared to slip into deeper and deeper waters without intending to do so. The teaming up of the FBI agent, Windermere, and the MN State Police detective, Stevens, sets the stage for their ongoing professional and uncertain interpersonal relationship for the series. I liked these two better here then in the next book, as they seemed more genuine and balanced. I think this author has talent and will likely read the others in the series, but can't help but wonder if the first time was truly a charm.

  • Maddy
    2019-04-18 19:29

    PROTAGONIST: Kirk Stevens, Minnesota state investigator, and Carla Winderemere, FBI special agentSERIES: DebutRATING: 3.0In this economy, finding a job is tough, especially if you a twenty-something without a lot of experience to offer. There are four friends who find themselves in this situation when one of them, Arthur Pender, has a brilliant flash of inspiration. Why not take advantage of what the wealthier segment of the population has to offer? The plan is to research each potential victim extensively, kidnap them, and then ask for a minimal ransom. Traditionally, ransoms for the rich are in the millions of dollars; instead, our creative group seeks one hundred thousand dollars or less. Pender feels that the victim’s family will easily be able to put together that kind of money and won’t feel the need to involve the police for such a paltry sum. That’s their 5-year plan—low risk, no violence and then live happily ever after.The plan works perfectly for two years when something goes wrong and they abduct a victim whose wife just happens to be involved in the Mob. When one of the team actually kills someone, the game changes entirely. Pender, his girlfriend Marie, Mouse and Sawyer now have a hit man on their tail, as well as FBI agent Carla Windermere and a Minnesota state investigator, Kirk Stevens. The stakes get higher and higher, with Mouse grievously injured and Sawyer and Pender turning vigilante. Marie has taken a brief respite from the group but is soon tracked down by the authorities, who use her for bait to capture the trio, who have been joined by another young woman who is a bored rich girl. Knowing that their options are running out, the group decides on one last job with a ransom demand of 5 million dollars to fund their future.I really enjoyed the book up until the time that the group went on the run. Their kidnapping idea was clever, and it was interesting to see how they prepared for each abduction. Once things turned bad, though, the book went downhill for me. Here was a group of young people who without any prior experience were able to use automatic weapons and actually gun down professional assassins. It was quite implausible to me that Pender was able to dictate the terms of releasing the latest victim and call all of the shots. Would the authorities really act this way?The book showed a lot of promise until the narrative spun completely out of control. THE PROFESSIONALS is a debut novel; the intention is to build a series featuring Windermere and Stevens, each of whom has their own modus operandi which doesn’t necessarily mesh with the other’s. I’m having a hard time envisioning how this partnership would work. However, Laukkanen definitely shows potential; it will be interesting to see what direction he takes with future efforts.

  • Shannon
    2019-04-17 14:47

    This is a thriller that I think is not getting the attention that is deserves. I liked this story right from the first page. The characters are well written and the story is believable. 4 college friends decide to become kidnappers when they are faced with the harsh job market and piles of student loans. They have developed a great system for not getting caught and do so successfully for 2 years. This is one of those stories where you are not even sure who you are rooting for. One chapter I was all about the team getting away with their crimes because I just liked them so much and then the next chapter I understood why they had to be caught. This story is told from multiple points of view, which admittedly I am not always a fan of, but in this instance I thought it was perfect. It really allowed us to know what was going on with the team and with the agents responsible for their capture.The action is pretty much nonstop and I kept thinking how can there be so much book left, surely they have messed up now or surely they are getting away now. The FBI agent and the state agent trying to find them have an interesting dynamic between them and for the most part I liked it. However, my one small complaint is that I think I could have done without the flirtatious part of their relationship. I think that men and women are perfectly capable of working together and genuinely liking each other without it crossing the line into flirting. That is just one tiny blip in this fabulous story though. Everything else about it, I loved.I have seen some reviews saying that they felt the team gained skills they did not formerly posses as the story gets towards its end but I feel that it a bit unfair. I think as the story goes on and the heat is turned up on the team they just start fighting harder to survive. I also think they start drawing on their own personal skills and personalities where before they were very much functioning as a unit. I really had no clue how this story was going to end up. When I read the last page though, I was left feeling satisfied and not frustrated. If you like thrillers like Lee Child and John Sandford, I think you will like this story as well. Even if you have not read those authors, I urge you to give this one a chance.BOTTOM LINE: Excellent crime thriller, I loved it!

  • Mike Tueros
    2019-04-05 16:44

    So this novel popped up in my Goodreads recommendations section for Mysteries/Thrillers, and if it's any indication of the type of material I should read, I may as well stop right now. The Professionals had a great premise, which is 4 struggling unemployed college graduates deciding to make a run at quick riches by kidnapping wealthy individuals and then holding them for reasonable ransoms ($50-60K). Would have been nice to know their motivations, and what drove them to criminal acts and truly get into the psyche of these individuals - but no, Laukkanen spends about 1 paragraph (if that) and glosses over any of it, and what would have been a great opportunity to make this book better. The kidnappings are stupidly written (a fifth grader could have made it more exciting), the FBI and BCA agents on their tale are woefully scripted, and I couldn't decide if I was to cheer for the criminals or the police. I would put this on par with the drivel that James Patterson churns out - which assumes the average reader can't read long sentences, keep up with deeper plot lines, and doesn't want to know character motivations. On the cover of this book, several notable authors praise this first effort - they either didn't read it, or took a quick payday to have their names used. Absolutely awful, not compelling, boring and ultimately poorly written, I cannot recommend this whatsoever. Put lemon juice in your eyes - it would be more enjoyable.

  • Jared
    2019-04-24 15:22

    Amazing First Effort1) This book starts out with a great hook. What do young professionals do, when they can't find a job?2) As the group turns to a life of crime, I appreciated the writer making their crimes very believable. The group researched the area and potential marks, tracked the personal lives of their marks, asked for small amounts of money and were constantly on the move. 3) The second joy of the book was the combination of the FBI and BCA searching for the young criminals. They were believable and relentless.4) Over 384 pages I wasn't bored, my attentional didn't wander, I just kept moving along as the plot gained steam.5) The climax of the book was again, great theater and well researched. If you have read books like this in the past you gain some experience around what police details are true and ones that are not. You understand how SWAT teams work, how the police try and negotiate, and how the criminals will act. The writer for this book respected my experience by getting all the details right while moving the plot forward.6) The ending was very good with action all the way up to the final page.7) I can't believe that this is the first effort of this writer. He is going on my list of authors to look out for in the future. I WILL buy his next book.

  • Chris
    2019-04-13 16:49

    Within the thriller genre, I might give this book 4 stars. Four smart but unemployed college graduates turn to kidnapping for money. They choose targets wisely and ask for small ransoms they know their victims can afford. The plan works for 2 years until they target the wrong man and their carefully built house of cards begins to crumble. Though the four are somewhat stereotypical - the brains, the brawn, the computer geek, and the girl - this group would normally be the good guys so it's a nice twist to make them the criminals. The law enforcement chasing them are portrayed with more depth than one might find in a standalone thriller. Stevens is the local cop who joins up with a hot shot female FBI agent. Both deal with the effect of their jobs on their home lives and they develop the kind of relationship you might expect of a man and woman working together in an intense situation. Laukkanen keeps the plot moving with the cops (and the mob) creeping up ever closer on the kidnappers. The near-misses are not as implausible as in other thrillers and, though some of the plot is predictable, he incorporates enough unexpected elements to keep the reader interested.

  • Betsy Whitehead
    2019-03-29 17:32

    I found this book hard to put down! It was an easy read, but not just a fluff read. The biggest surprise to me was that the main characters did not end up being the MAIN characters! I did not especially enjoy the relationship between FBI agent Windermere and state policeman Stevens. Stevens is a married man and the attraction between him and Windermere, while believable, was distasteful to me. (Call me a prude, but I still feel that marriage vows are sacred. And while he did not cheat on his wife, there is a relationship that develops between the two cops.) I think they could have shown these two gain a mutual respect and admiration for one another and still accomplished the relationship needed to make the story work. Because the main characters were unclear, it was also unclear who to root for. I found myself rooting for the "bad guys".I am curious to read the second book to see if I feel the same after it.

  • Betsy
    2019-04-26 17:38

    The Professionals was recommended to me by a friend of mine. I looked for it for several months before finding it in a little bookstore in Delray Beach, Fl. The store is called Murder on the Beach. All the books there are mysteries. I was in heaven and thrilled to find this book. I thought it had an interesting plot so I I was anxious to read this debut of Owen Laukkanen. I was blown away by how much I thoroughly enjoyed this book. What would you do for money? What would you do for love? Such a wonderfully written story about a group of young college graduates who take at what first was a joke and make it a profession. The author made me love all the characters so much that I was not even sure what side I rooting for - the criminals or law enforcement. Once I got to the middle of the book, I could not put it down. I cannot wait to read another book by this author. 5 stars.

  • Ariana Fae
    2019-04-21 18:49

    THE PROFESSIONALS is a tale about how a s@#t storm can go from bad to major disaster. Owen Laukkanen crafted a fast paced suspenseful novel about four friends who turn to crime out of desperation over their bleak job prospects. It’s also about how one bad decision or action changes their lives. I will admit I couldn’t decide who to root for, the kidnappers or the police and FBI agents, so I emerged myself in the story and let unfold wondering how it would turn out. Laukkanen did good job with character development, pacing, and kept me turning the pages. I’m looking forward to reading the next book in the series.

  • Jennifer
    2019-04-05 15:27

    What do 4 recent college graduates do when they can't find jobs? They become professional kidnappers! Pender, Mouse, Sawyer, and Marie become "The Professionals" - perfecting their kidnapping skills with each job they accomplish. Unfortunately their luck runs out when they kidnap the wrong man, who turns them in to law enforcement, and then it turns even worse when they end up killing one of their victims who is affiliated with the mob. Stevens and Windermere find themselves on the case and hot on the trail of the 4 kidnappers. This is a well written debut thriller that captivates the reader through the eyes of Stevens and Windermere, as well as all 4 kidnappers. I quickly felt the troubles the 4 kids were going through... it would make anyone want to keep their day job and not look to illegal and dangerous activities to make a buck. Was the job market really that bad that these 4 had to resort to kidnapping? I guess the promise of making quick money and retiring with millions to a beach island was enough enticement for them to ignore the dangers. Good ending leaving an opening for the next Stevens & Windermere book.

  • Martha
    2019-04-12 17:39

    If you and your pals ever thought of swapping your "normal" life for a life of crime, here's a thriller that will get you thinking that maybe a normal life is O.K. Just as it looks like you might get away with it and go somewhere warm with great beaches to live out your days you mess with the wrong person and the only place you're headed is jail or six feet under. So it goes for the unemployed college educated foursome who get this tale rolling with a series of carefully executed and successful kidnappings which have netted them a tidy sum so far. They stumble in Detroit when their mark turns out to have ties to the underworld and next thing they know they're fleeing both the mob and the law. What gives the story an appealing twist is the relationships--among the kidnappers, between the head mob goon and his hostage, and between the law enforcement officers who are pursuing the kidnappers. The author gives these characters the room to be people, but he also keeps the action going at a breathtaking clip. An exciting debut. I look forward to reading more in this series.

  • Heidi Pedersen
    2019-04-11 17:27

    I couldn't help myself - I was rooting for the "bad guys" most of the way through this book!We meet four 20-something friends who are floundering in life: they can't seem to finish school, or get/keep a decent job, definitely don't have career paths, and as a joke they decide to kidnap someone who has a lot of money, ask for a "reasonable" ransom, collect the money, let the person go, and disappear to do it all over again in another city. They hop around the US for a couple of years, adding to their "retirement fund." They are definitely doing wrong things, and not even for a good reason.And then, in a hasty plan, they don't do their typical thorough research, and kidnap a guy connected to organized crime. Things spiral downward very quickly from there.The cops we meet are great - I will be reading more of this series!! - and near the end of the book I found myself reluctantly coming around to cheer for them. But somehow these 4 kidnappers really get to you, even though you know deep down you're ticked at them for their choices.

  • Luanne Ollivier
    2019-04-22 14:35

    There's been lots of buzz surrounding Owen Laukkanen's debut novel The Professionals, so I was really eager to read it. Oh boy, seriously - run, don't walk to grab your copy - it releases today. Yes, it's that good. Crime, suspense and thriller fans, you're going to love it. (So did Lee Child, John Sandford and more!)A four person kidnap crew has been touring the country, snatching affluent men and holding them for ransom. Why? Well, it's the economy. Their university degrees are practically worthless. What started out as an offhand comment has mushroomed. Now they're working the Pender Method - nothing too big - sixty grand - enough that the family can easily raise the funds and won't call the cops. In and out clean - very professional. A few more and they can retire to somewhere nice and warm. Next stop - Minnesota.Minnesota - where Kirk Stevens has worked for the BCA (Bureau of Criminal Apprehension) for ten years. "He caught his reflection in the patrol car';s rear window as he waited and he stared at it a moment, a forty-three-year-old career cop with thinning hair and a paunch, his tired eyes betraying a mounting fatigue....Another botched robbery, Stevens thought to himself. Another day in the glamorous life." Just another professional on the job.Until the crew hits the wrong man in Minnesota - a husband with connections to organized crime. And his wife sends in her professionals to track down the crew. Stevens is now on the case and it balloons. Then the FBI sends in Agent Carla Windermere and Stevens is called up to help these professionals.And where things go from there is a non stop, action packed, read 'til your eyeballs hurt ride. (Really, I had the day off, couldn't put it down and finished it by that night) You would never guess that this is a first novel. You'd think that Laukkanen is a professional. The writing is smooth, the dialogue flows so easily and the characters hooked me from the beginning. The plot? Well, the plot is just freakin' fantastic. The kidnappers owned this book, but Laukkanen has plans for another book featuring Stevens and Windermere. I look forward to seeing what he has in store for book two!

  • Monica
    2019-04-17 20:45

    Four young professionals, college educated, under-employed or unemployed and with no job prospects in this economy, come up with a plan to make a nest egg for themselves. They will kidnap wealthy investment bankers, ask for minimal ransom - under $100,000 - and tell the victims that they will come back for their families if the police are called. The ransom is low enough that it is easily obtained and not really missed. Then they move to another city and do it again, research the next target, score and move on.For two years, the plan works nicely. They are halfway to their walking away goal. Then one victim is angry enough to call the police ins spite of the warning, and Minnesota BCA investigator Kirk Stevens gets involved. When he finds a link to a similar incident in Illinois, the FBI is brought in and Agent Karla Windermere, a recent transplant from the south to Minneapolis, is assigned. The two find out there are more incidents in other states, and the chase is on.The kidnappers make a fatal mistake in Detroit, kidnapping the wrong person, incurring the wrath of a vengeful, mob connected family. From then on, events spiral out of control. The crew is on the run from both the law enforcement and the mob and the action gets pretty intense.All of the characters are well developed - the kidnappers are for the most part decent folks, not out to hurt anybody, just trying to make a living. The victims are for the most part fairly unsympathetic plutocrats. The cops are good guys, trying to do their jobs, and finally getting caught up in the thrill of their chase. It's a surprisingly polished first novel.