Criminal Enterprise
by Laukkanen, Owen

When a secretly unemployed man begins robbing banks in a desperate struggle to hold onto his once-successful life, FBI Special Agent Carla Windermere and Minnesota state investigator Kirk Stevens approach the case from respective angles and reconnect when the robber develops a taste for violence.

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. A resident of Vancouver, he is now at work on a third book featuring Stevens and Windermere.

*Starred Review* After achieving law-enforcement fame in The Professionals (2012), Twin Cities FBI agent Carla Windermere and state BCA agent Kirk Stevens head in separate directions. She's stalking the adrenaline rush of big cases, and he's begun a career-sacrificing effort to avoid the "cowboying" in their last adventure. Now, a bank robber's violent rampage brings them back together. Carter Tomlin, a recently unemployed executive who's been leveraging debt to live in luxury, impulsively robs a bank. The heist nets little cash but a big payoff to his ego. His victims' fear provides a drug-like high, addictive after his emasculating job loss. Tomlin quickly acquires automatic weapons and a supporting team of thieves and begins leaving bodies in his wake. Windermere is sure Tomlin is the gang's mastermind but struggles to convince fellow agents that the seemingly wealthy suburbanite is a violent criminal. Stevens, who's personally acquainted with Tomlin, also doubts Windermere's theories, but clues are soon difficult to mask as coincidences, and he joins Windermere in the hunt. Laukkanen has clearly avoided the sophomore slump, deftly alternating taut narratives and building toward a grand climax that's completely organic to the story. Windermere, Stevens, and Tomlin are strikingly realistic characters sharing varying degrees of dissatisfaction with their lives, and readers will identify with their struggles to reconcile their own needs with their responsibilities to others. Copyright 2012 Booklist Reviews.

With this second thriller in a series, Laukkanen's latest provides an entertaining worst-case scenario of an accountant gone bad. Carter Tomlin has a lovely wife, daughter and home, but the good life in Minnesota comes crashing down when he's laid off from his accounting job. Now no one wants to hire him, and consulting can't pay the bills. How can he support his family and their lifestyle? Well, banks have money. He'll rob one. Just one ballsy heist to tide him over, and he's done. It doesn't yield him enough cash, though, and he discovers that scaring the living bejesus out of harmless bank tellers is a lot more fun than balancing books. So, he has to amp up his game, and he and a young lady partner go for bigger scores. Bullets start to fly, and soon, Tomlin is in much deeper trouble than he'd ever expected-and he's loving it, all while his innocent family remains clueless. Meanwhile, FBI agent Carla Windermere and detective Kirk Stevens team up to identify the robber and try to bring him down. They've previously worked together in Laukkanen's debut, The Professionals (2012), and have a professional and personal chemistry that makes them fun to follow and easy to root for. Tomlin takes them through plenty of twists and turns as he becomes increasingly unhinged and dangerous-even other bad guys had best give him a wide berth. Fans of crime thrillers shouldn't miss this one or anything else with Laukkanen's name on the cover. The writing is so crisp, the pages almost want to turn themselves. He's a terrific storyteller. Copyright Kirkus 2012 Kirkus/BPI Communications.All rights reserved.

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