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The Professionals (Stevens & Windermere #1)

3.66 of 5 stars 3.66  ·  rating details  ·  1,643 ratings  ·  382 reviews
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 af
Hardcover, 370 pages
Published March 29th 2012 by Putnam Adult (first published January 1st 2012)
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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 ...more
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 ti ...more
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 ...more
Steve Weddle
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
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! ...more
J. Messum
'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
** 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
Mike Tueros
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 g ...more
PROTAGONIST: Kirk Stevens, Minnesota state investigator, and Carla Winderemere, FBI special agent

In 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
Amazing First Effort

1) 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
Gina Williams
Four college friends, disillusioned by the banality of working life after graduation, decide to kidnap and ransom wealthy men. They've planned, studied their victim's routines, and only ask for a small portion of what their target is worth. With the implied threat of harm to the wife or children should the authorities be called, the ransom is paid within a short period of time and the kidnappee is returned to his family while the quartet moves on to another city.

Thus begins the introduction to
Luanne Ollivier
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 wor
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 ...more
this book was so bad it made me mad. that sentence was as lame as the best line in this piece of shit. we may be only goodreads friends but after i steer you away from this binded pile of shit you wont thank me unless you too have read equally as upsetting efforts such as this. the problem is thus: its not SO terrible you deem it ridiculous and put it down. it's that shitty relationship where there is something good awaiting you despite all the first person accounts you see in front of you that ...more
Joel Brown
I was really disappointed in this book after reading reviews and blurbs all of which said it was an intense thriller. It had a good concept too - recession-driven amateur kidnappers screw up when they kidnap the wrong man.

But I was never convinced that the gang of post-grads would have started the kidnapping ring in the first place, which kind of throws the rest of it off. The mobster angle is cliched. And the big climax is so preposterous only John Woo could pull it off.

I thought this was going
JoAnne Pulcino

Owen Laukkanen

THE PROFESSIONALS is a remarkable thriller for a debut author!

Four friends who recently graduated from college are very discouraged about the job market they face. While bemoaning their options they kiddingly say let’s try kidnapping. The idea begins to appeal to them the more they talk about it. Being quite bright they develop a low key technique of kidnapping to an art form. After a successful run, the inevitable happens, they slip up. The consequences are excit
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, sc ...more
May 09, 2012 Harry rated it 2 of 5 stars
Recommended to Harry by: Longlong Cao
Shelves: reviewed
Another fly by night first book recommended by my friend LL.
"It's a real page turner!" he kept telling me.

I wasn't quite sure what I was getting into, again...
I checked it out on Amazon and found the plot appealing. As a person who finds myself in the same situation as the main characters (the kidnappers).

Here is the plausible plot: A group of four recent collage graduates face a empty job market. With degrees in history and English they don't have many options. Then they come up with a three
Elizabeth A.
They all had degrees, and degrees were supposed to pave the way to careers. They hadn’t, and it was time for another solution. – Arthur Pender

Of course, for most people that other solution would be something like getting a second job to make ends meet or going back to school to pursue a more viable area of study. Not so for friends and recent college grads Pender, Marie, Sawyer, and Mouse.

Fueled by frustration and righteous indignation they instead turn to kidnapping wealthy businessmen, and wha
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 ...more
The Professionals is a very accomplished first novel from Owen Laukkanen. It reminded me of a cross between John Sandford and Don Winslow.

The Professionals is the story of a small group of college friends who, faced with a dismal job market, decide to go into kidnapping instead. They are careful to do their research and keep the ransoms small, to stay under the radar. A mistake leads them to show up on the radar not only of law enforcement, but the mob as well. What follows is a race between th
Amorak Huey
Picked up this book largely because it was blurbed by some authors I like. What I found: Good, clean prose; some compelling characters; fun premise.

The basic story: A smart group of professional kidnappers make their way across on the country on a spree of under-the-radar ransom jobs in hopes of amassing a fortune and retiring to the Maldives. Then, of course, they grab the wrong guy and get in over their heads, even as law enforcement is catching up to them.

The plot gets increasingly muddled,
People set some pretty low standards for themselves when all they ask of a book is that they can finish reading it. This is yet another example of one of those books that people like simply because it’s easy. It’s full of easy English and short chapters of quick dialogue with no intimidating swaths of descriptive prose. Granted, the author knows about pacing but that’s about it with The Professionals. The story is completely uninteresting and the criminals are a bunch of half-wits and the whole ...more
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 ...more
Four friends have graduated college and find that their degrees are getting them nowhere near the professions and monetary compensation they had envisioned. What to do? Well, the answer is quite obvious. Start a kidnapping ring! Better than working at McDonald’s? They kidnap affluent individuals, demand a surprisingly low ransom, collect it from the spouse and move on to the next target. How easy is that? Until they kidnap someone that has mob connections, and then things go very, very wrong.

Betsy Whitehead
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 wif
Heather Fineisen
This is a fun and fast read that left me rooting for the "good" guys and "good" guys. Laukkanen creates ordinary likable characters with ordinary unlikable traits and cleverly parallels the agents Windmere and Stevens with the gang of recent college graduate kidnappers. The kidnappers and the agents find themselves in an unordinary chase that comes to a predicatable but satisfying end. Think of Thelma and Louise stopped in the canyon and then the car accelerates from there--the same inevitable m ...more
4.5 Stars The last of the 5 Anthony nominees for best first novel and my favorite. This is a page-turner of a book. The Professionals are 4 recent college graduates with no job prospects in the current market who on a whim start talking about how they could make money kidnapping wealthy people, especially if they kept the ransom to a reasonable amount. They give it a try, and it works! Next thing you know, they are in business. At least until Special Agent Kirk Stevens from the Minnesota BCA sta ...more
Overall 2.5

This is a debut "thriller" from a talented writer.

A team of four recent college grads with limited job opportunities go into the kidnapping business...making safe, small scores all around the US. All is well until a Minnesota state police investigator sniffs them out. Agent Stevens later teams up with local FBI agent Windermere to stop the kidnappers.

The first half of the book is very well done. Switching POV between the kidnap side and the investigation side. It also builds tension a
Julie Barrett
Eh. It was ok. I read a gushing review of this author so maybe my expectations were too high. None of the characters grabbed me so I didn't really care what happened to them which is a major flaw in a thriller type of novel. If a character's threat of death or prison warrants no more than a half-hearted shrug from the reader then the book has a problem. I did like that the POV was told from three different sides - the cops, the mob, and the kidnappers. Though now that I think about it, maybe tha ...more
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Owen Laukkanen's debut thriller, THE PROFESSIONALS, was published by G.P. Putnam's Sons in spring 2012. Its sequel, CRIMINAL ENTERPRISE, will hit stores on March 21, 2013.

An alumnus of the University of British Columbia's Creative Writing BFA program, Laukkanen spent three years in the world of professional poker, traveling to high-stakes tournaments across the globe as a writer for www.PokerList
More about Owen Laukkanen...

Other Books in the Series

Stevens & Windermere (4 books)
  • Criminal Enterprise (Stevens & Windermere, #2)
  • Kill Fee (Stevens & Windermere, #3)
  • The Stolen Ones (Stevens & Windermere, #4)
Criminal Enterprise (Stevens & Windermere, #2) Kill Fee (Stevens & Windermere, #3) The Stolen Ones (Stevens & Windermere, #4) All Due Respect Issue 2 Shotgun Honey Presents: Locked and Loaded (Both Barrels Book 3)

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“If we take the president of GM, they'll make us pay to give him back." (said by a kidnapper)” 1 likes
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