Review: Criminal Enterprise

Criminal Enterprise
Criminal Enterprise by Owen Laukkanen
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

In Laukkanen’s first novel, The Professionals, FBI Agent Carla Windemere teamed up with older, steadier BCA Agent Kirk Stevens to take down a crew of kidnappers. In Criminal Enterprise, the author introduces Carter Tomlin, an accountant deeply in debt after being laid off and too proud to file bankruptcy. Desperate to provide for his family, Tomlin robs a bank and finds it not only surprisingly easy but exhilarating. The take, however, is a drop in his bucket of debt so he escalates to more lucrative targets – and adds serious fire power. The adrenaline rush and addiction to violence soon take their toll on Tomlin’s psyche. Smart and observant Windemere has a hunch about Tomlin but no proof and a worthless new partner. She’d like to work with Stevens again but he promised his wife after the last case that he wouldn’t play cowboy anymore — until danger shows up at his door. Could his daughter’s basketball coach really be guilty of these crimes, as Windemere suspects? A fast-paced plot steadily accelerates with hair-pin plot turns as Windemere and Stevens, separately and together, chase the clues. Unsettling but compelling; some profanity and graphic violence. Two small plot points are a little weak but Laukkanen once again turns up the heat and his smart, next-door-neighbor villains crumble under the pressure. Windemere and Stevens have a complicated attraction to each other, somewhere between professional and personal, that promises to develop in future novels.

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