Book Review: Criminal Enterprise by Owen Laukkanen

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Rating: 4 / 5

Carter Tomlin used to have everything- a mansion, two luxury cars, two kids, a gorgeous wife and even the requisite dog.  Underneath the surface though, is a totally different story.  Since getting laid off as an accountant, Tomlin has struggled to make ends meet, and one day, on a whim, robs a bank.  Surprisingly successful though not enough money for Christmas shopping, car payments, and mortgage, Tomlin decides to rob another bank, using more daring techniques.  He acquires some partners to help with the robberies, along with high powered arsenal, and as he gets bolder the stakes get higher. 

FBI Agent Carla Windermere has been tasked with finding and bringing in the suspects, but is partnered with an agent who does not believe Tomlin is the person they are after.  Meanwhile, Minnesota state investigator Kirk Stevens has given up the chasing dangerous criminals to appease his wife, and is now working cold cases.  Stevens and Windermere are ideal partners, and even though they haven’t worked together since the famous Pender robberies a year ago, they must once again team up to bring down Tomlin.

Criminal Enterprise is Laukkanen’s follow up to The Professionals, bringing back both Windermere and Stevens. While not necessary, I think it definitely helps to read The Professionals to get the back story on them (not to mention the fact that The Professionals is also engaging and a high-powered thriller).  Criminal Enterprise starts on the fast track and never lets go; I was pretty much hooked after a few pages.

What I really like about Laukkanen is the fact that he gets into the mind of his characters and fully develops them. I loved the fact that Tomlin started out ‘normal’ and as the book progresses, I got to see him mentally and morally disintegrate.  At the beginning, it is easy to sympathize with Tomlin, as he is struggling to provide for his family in the midst of the economic downturn.  After getting a glimpse of how deranged Tomlin is, though, the book becomes fascinating in reading just how far he can spiral out of control.

Criminal Enterprise is a definite page-turner, and I recommend blocking off a chunk of time to read this, because once you start, you’re not going to want to stop until the end. And if you don’t believe me when I say Criminal Enterprise is action-packed and Lukkanen is an author to watch out for, just read what some big name authors (Jonathan Kellerman and John Sandford) said on the jacket.

 

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