This is book number 1 in the Stevens and Windermere Novels series.
“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
A Kirkus Reviews Best Fiction Selection for 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.
“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
“Really terrific – characters that live and breathe, a just-right story, and chills aplenty. Highly recommended." —Lee Child
“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.” —John Sandford
“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.” —Steve Berry
“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.” —Jonathan Kellerman
“A spectacular debut novel written with intelligence, toughness, and heart. Owen Laukkanen is a writer to watch.” —Thomas Perry, author of The Butcher's Boy and The Informant
“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!” —C. J. Box
“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.” —Alafair Burke, author of Long Gone