The new Stevens and Windermere novel from one of the most dazzlingly acclaimed new writers in crime fiction.
The billionaire picked a heck of a way to die.
On a beautiful Saturday in downtown Saint Paul, Minnesota, state investigator Kirk Stevens and his occasional colleague FBI special agent Carla Windermere witness the assassination of one of the state’s wealthiest men. The shooter is a young man, utterly unremarkable - except in his eyes. There is something very wrong in his eyes.
And it’s only the beginning. The events of that sunny springtime day will lead Stevens and Windermere across the country, down countless blind alleys, and finally to a very flourishing twenty-first-century enterprise: a high-tech murder-for-hire social media website. But just who has the dead-eyed shooter targeted next...and who’s choosing his victims? That’s where things get complicated.
©2014 Owen Laukkanen (P)2014 Penguin Audio
Of the three books of his on Audible, Owen Laukkanen has written one that's terrific ("Criminal Enterprise"), one that's OK ("The Professionals") and this one, which will be my last.
Looking for a distraction, I was willing to accept the ridiculous plot about a murder business employing brainwashed ex-combat soliders (zombie killers), but the story's too dreary, limp and dead. I was rolling with it, more or less willingly, until Laukkanen got to the basement prison scene of a new recruit learning to kill on command who is practicing on a cat.
The bad guy produced the purring cat, and I hit the off switch.
I'm really enjoying this series. It has just enough twists to keep it interesting and make it different and surprising compared to other cop series.
As expected, in this book, the relationship between Stevens and Windermere gets more complicated. There is good tension without taking away from the action and the story.
The bad guys were good in this one. The mastermind and minions kept me guessing and kept it interesting. The action, complexities, and level of badness in the criminals were great. The pace of the story and action were good too.
The thing that dropped it to four stars was the continuous attempts to try to describe the mental illness of a couple of characters. It was too abstract, filled with hyperbole, and was repeated way too many times which made it tedious.
The first two in this series were both based on amateur and almost reluctant criminals which I really, really liked, but maybe that's not scalable in a series.
I don't like the narrator's voice and accent sometimes for Windermere, that's why he only gets for stars.
I recommend this book and I'll listen to the next one.
I am a 65-year-old psychologist, married for 25 years, with two sons who are 25 and 22. I love reviewing the books and the feedback I get.
I would highly recommend this book to anyone who likes thrillers, and particularly to fans of Edoardo Ballerini, who is the best narrator alive, IMHO. This is the third book in the carla Windemere-Kirk Stevens series, and I think Mr. Laukkenan can continue to draw from this well for quite a while.
The ending, Im think, is just right. Often authors cannot create excellent endings for their books, but here the author keeps the reader on the edge of his/her seat, and wraps the novel in a very satisfying conclusion. We know that Carla and Kirk are never going to cross over the line, but Laukkenan tantalizes us with just enough buzz to keep that going.
I like absolutely everything this man does. At one point I thought that no one would ever surpass Frank Muller, but now I think the case is closed. Listening to Mr. Ballerini's narration is soothing in the best possible way, even when he is reading a thriller. He is a unique talent, and we are lucky to have him reading for a long (I hope) and illustrious career. He is just the best.
I think that the pathos of the young men who return from Iraq and are trained to become murderers for hire; this concept may have been done by others, but it rings particularly true here. These young men have been ruined, and then the villain brainwashes them into consciousless killers.
The book is quite long. 250 chapters is way too many, even if many of them are very brief. I didn't feel that there was much wasted narrative, even so. If you haven't read the first two books in this series, I recommend them very highly. There is talent in abundance here.
Reading allows me to travel through time, to visit the world's unique and stunning places, to become somebody I am not... It is glorious.
Although The Professionals was quite good, and Criminal Enterprise was even better, this third book in the series was a letdown for me. The story was predictable, and far-fetched. I realize that most mysteries are far-fetched and require some level of acceptance of the unbelievable, but this novel went too far.
Mr Laukkanen has a theme where he takes people in normal situations, with normal families and makes them turn to crime. That doesn't bother me as I actually think this often happens in the real world. What does bother me is that they go suddenly, without any prelude, to gleeful hands-on murderers. In book number one Pender sacrifices his friends and partners and takes on bigger and bigger crimes all for more money. In book number two Tomlin starts out as a desperate man who has lost his job and has a family to provide for. He turns to robbing banks. He is timid and tries to make his robberies small and has no desire to hurt anyone but in the end he is a cold-blooded killer. And here again, he takes a businessman with a loving family and creates a monster. I just find the changes to be too much.
I don't know if I will come back for book 4. There are too many books and too little time to choose average.
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