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The Professionals (Mass Market Paperbound)

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Staff Reviews

The Professionals, by Owen Laukkanen is a thrill ride, a cinematic noir story of bad choices and dead ends. A page-turner, unputdownable and fun – allathatstuff.

Four friends in Seattle have graduated college and are going nowhere fast. No jobs, no prospects, no future. They decide that since they have no money and no prospects, and that there are so many people who have far more than they’ll ever need, the group can and should kidnap them for money. They’re not greedy; they figure that if they ask for a ‘reasonable’ amount (say $60,000 from people worth millions) that the vicitms’ families will pay quickly, the cops are not involved and no one is ‘harmed’. Sounds sweet, doesn’t it. And it is. Until they kidnap someone tied to the mob. Then, as they say, the wheels come off.

There are clear moral and legal issus, certainly. Having the main characters be villains is always a twist – can you really have a hit man as the ‘hero’? – and Owen deftly moves our support from the kidnappers to the two investigators who are after them. As the twenty-somethings begin to see that what they have done will be their end, the reader begins to feel it, too. But then it is too late for all of them and us. We’re behind them still even as the net begins to tighten. And I did I mention the mobsters after them for revenge? Yeah, they’re being chased by two sets of folks.

The Professionals is a great read – it moves quickly and smoothly. It is an assured first novel and it’ll be fun to watch him grow as a writer and see where he takes us as readers. I’m game!

— JB

April 2012 Indie Next List

“This is a top-notch debut thriller with an unusual plot, terrific characters, and non-stop action. It has been a while since I started a book and couldn't stop until it was finished. The Professionals is one of those books. The bad guys don't seem too bad at first and the cops chasing them don't seem to be too capable. That all changes by the end of the book when both the criminals and those enforcing the law show that they are true professionals -- willing to sacrifice everything.”
— Nancy McFarlane, Fiction Addiction, Greenville, SC


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.

About the Author

After graduation, Owen Laukkanen answered a Craigslist ad--and for the next three years, he was the tournament reporter for a poker website, traveling from the luxurious casinos of Monaco and Macau to the sketchiest card rooms of Atlantic City.

Praise For…

“Really terrific—characters that live and breathe, and chills aplenty.”--Lee Child “Fasten your seat belts, Owen Laukkanen’s The Professionals is one heck of a wild ride.”--John Lescroart

“Ingenious.”--Jonathan Kellerman

“Smoothly written, with a slam-bang ending.”--John Sandford “A coiling plot, insightful characters, and a tale fraught with dangers…top-notch.”--Steve Berry
“A high-octane, adrenaline- and gunpowder-fueled rocket ride.”--C. J. Box

Product Details
ISBN: 9780425250495
ISBN-10: 0425250490
Publisher: Berkley Books
Publication Date: October 2nd, 2012
Pages: 486
Language: English