Sunday, April 15, 2012
The Professionals by Owen Laukkanen
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.
The premise of this book was creative and compelling- four college buddies turn to intelligent kidnapping when their liberal arts degrees prove useless in today's job market. Unfortunately, that interesting hook is quickly lost in the shuffle of idiotic decisions, inexplicable violence, and the complete collapse of the structure of their long-term plans. I couldn't root for the criminals because their actions seemed wildly out of character for the way they were initially presented. The police and FBI also failed to capture my support because their odd sexual tension seemed unnecessary and undermined their appeal. By the last third of the book, I felt like I was just slogging through to make it to the end; turning the page was a chore not a thrill. Ultimately, I found this book a disappointing read with shallow characters that I have no desire to meet again.