Criminal Enterprise by Owen Laukkanen

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Criminal Enterprise by Owen Laukkanen

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Category: Crime
Rating: 5/5
Reviewer: Sam Tyler
Reviewed by Sam Tyler
Summary: Crime doesn't pay, but neither does being out of work, so one day a former accountant does something about it by robbing a bank. What happens next is charted in this thrilling and excellent novel.
Buy? Yes Borrow? Yes
Pages: 406 Date: September 2014
Publisher: Corvus
External links: Author's website
ISBN: 9781782393689

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We all have bills to pay and many of us have felt that shiver down our spine as we realise we may be a little short this month. What we don’t do is take a scribbled note saying you have a gun into a bank and force money out of the till. For one out-of-work accountant, Carter Tomlin, this is the option he chooses over bankruptcy and one crime leads to another. Will spiky FBI Special Agent Carla Windermere and laidback local cop Kirk be able to catch this white collar criminal before his cuffs become stained with blood?

Owen Laukkanen’s original book in the Stevens and Windermere series was called ‘The Professionals and was a speedy thriller about kidnappers who proved less than professional when it really mattered. Criminal Enterprise continues this theme, but even more so as the amateurish Tomlin spirals out of control. What starts of as a seeming necessity for money becomes something far darker and more tragic as the novel evolves.

The work of Laukkanen continues to echo that of John Sandford, but there is no shame in following a master of the genre. This is a book that follows both the criminal and law enforcement in equal measure. As we witness Tomlin grow bolder and begin to unravel, we also see Windermere in particular getting closer to her quarry. The pacing is dynamic, especially towards the end and some of the action pieces had me turning pages so fast I could smell them burning.

From the first few pages you are hooked, the idea of an everyman turning to crime is something that most readers can relate to in some way (hopefully through fantasy, rather than reality). Laukkanen is able to create some great action and with the use of Tomlin he also has more sympathetic characters this time; although this begins to change as the book progresses. Skipping from the accused to the chasers leads to some great momentum and tension.

There are issues with Criminal Enterprise: at only three pages on average per chapter it is almost as if Laukkanen has mistaken paragraphs for chapters. This is a little jarring at the start, but the short structure soon comes into its own as the pace increases; it really adds to the book, especially the awesome final sequences. There is also an issue with Stevens and Windermere being forced together. They are not natural law enforcement bedfellows, so to have them working more than one case together rings a little false. This means that for large parts of the book they are kept apart, but when they do partner up the chemistry is as good as ever.

I am the type of reader who can overlook a couple of small issues if the rest of the book makes up for them and in the case of Criminal Enterprise this is certainly true. I have not read such a tense and fun crime novel since the best work of Sandford, Lee Child or Michael Connelly. This is an illustrious group to be part of, but one that Laukkanen deserves. I truly loved the pace of this book and could not put it down. With two more novels in the Stevens and Windermere series already announced I will be the first in line to read them.

If this book appeals do have a look at The Professionals and Never Go Back by Lee Child.

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Buy Criminal Enterprise by Owen Laukkanen at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy Criminal Enterprise by Owen Laukkanen at Amazon currently charges £2.99 for standard delivery for orders under £20, over which delivery is free.
Buy Criminal Enterprise by Owen Laukkanen at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy Criminal Enterprise by Owen Laukkanen at

Booklists.jpg Criminal Enterprise by Owen Laukkanen is in the Top Ten Crime Novels of 2014.


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