Martin Warner checked his watch as the train slowed for Highland Park. Quarter to seven. Not early, but not terribly late, either; time enough for a relaxed dinner and a couple hours babysitting the Bulls before putting Sarah and Tim to bed.
The train jostled and the brakes squealed and Warner stood, thinking about a hot lasagna and a cold beer and maybe, if Leanne wasn’t too tired, a little bit of fun in the master bedroom before they turned in for the night.
It was dusk by the time he stepped onto the platform, the crisp October air and the chill wind off Lake Michigan already hinting at the long winter ahead, and Warner shivered involuntarily and pulled his coat close around him as he joined the rest of the Highland Park commuters, a uniform crush of tailored suits and tasteful ties and thousand dollar briefcases, a collective desire to get home, get warm, get fed.
The arrivals streamed out of the station, and Warner moved with the current toward the far end of the parking lot, the herd thinning around him until only a few stragglers remained. When he was alone on the pavement, he stopped and surveyed the archipelago of cars, searching in vain for his own. The light was dim in the back corners of the lot, and he couldn’t see his car. He squinted into the shadows, turned around, and realized after a moment that someone had parked a van in front of it, a white Ford cargo van.
I must be tired, he thought, fingering his keys in his pocket and skirting the van to where his Lexus sat waiting. He pressed a button on his key fob and the car chirped in response as he reached for the door handle. Before he could open the door, however, a woman’s voice called out behind him.
“Marty?” she said. “Martin Warner? Is that you?”
It was a younger woman’s voice, a happy, what-a-coincidence voice, and Warner set his briefcase down and turned around with a smile to match. But when he turned to greet the mystery woman, hoping a little guiltily that her face was as attractive as her voice, he found no smiling beauty but instead two men, their faces hidden behind black ski masks. Behind them stood the van, its sliding side door wide open, and Warner stared inside, not comprehending, before someone wrapped something over his eyes and he could no longer see.
He felt hands grip his shoulders and shove him into the back of the van, and Warner heard the men talking around him, low voices tinged with urgency.
The door slammed shut, and Warner lay stunned in the rear compartment as the van rumbled to life and reversed. He was blindfolded, his hands tied behind him, and he had sudden nightmarish thoughts, visceral, involuntary images of his broken body, bloody and anonymous in death. “You’re making a mistake,” he said, his voice pitiful and weak. “Whoever you’re looking for, I’m not the guy.”
The woman spoke again. “You’re Martin Warner of 15 Linden Park Place? Married to Leanne Warner, father of Sarah and Tim Warner?”
Copyright © 2012 by Owen Laukkanen
Four friends, recent college graduates caught in a terrible job market, jokingly talk about turning to kidnapping to survive. But what happens when the joke turns serious? A windfall. 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 FBI agent Carla Windermere, and an organized-crime outfit looking for payback. The chase is on. Over the course of the novel, all three groups will match wits in a high-stakes cat-and-mouse game that will take them from the Midwest to Seattle to Miami and back again, the pursuit escalating into a series of increasingly explosive confrontations that will force each player to recognize the truth: that the true professionals—cop or criminal—are the ones willing to sacrifice everything.
A finger-burning page-turner, filled with twists, surprises and memorably complex characters, The Professionals by first-time writer Owen Laukkanen is a debut of uncommon skill. It marks the arrival of a bright new talent in suspense fiction.
Hardcover Book : 384 pages
Publisher: Putnam Pub Group ( March 29, 2012 )
Item #: 13-471636
Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 8.25 x 0.86inches
Product Weight: 14.0 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
Intriguing story, kept your interst. You never know what to expect next. You find yourself cheering for the bad guys. Started the book while visiting out of state with the plan to finish the book on my 3 hr. flight home but that didn't happen. Just had to finish the book. Looking forward to the next Laukkanen book.
I really enjoyed this book- thought it was intelligently written, with an interesting plot and unusual characters I cared about, and it went in directions I did not expect. Not your usual cops and robbers stuff.
I found it just okay, maybe it was just me, thought it was slow and totally unbelievable. Finished it but did not really care for it.
This book was a joy to read, it was entertaining, fast-paced, very likeable characters, and a good plot. I couldn't put down and it takes me weeks to finish a book, I finished this one in three days.
Reviewer: Cecil R
Without a doubt, the best first novel, no, the best book I have read in a year or two, and I read a lot!
Reviewer: Marv R