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The Professionals Audiobook, by Owen Laukkanen Extended Sample Click for printable size audiobook cover
Author: Owen Laukkanen Narrator: Edoardo Ballerini Publisher: Penguin Random House Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Series: The Stevens and Windermere Series Release Date: March 2012 ISBN: 9781101538739
3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 3.00 (729 ratings) (rate this audio book)
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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.

A finger-burning page-turner, filled with twists, surprises, and memorably complex characters, The Professionals marks the arrival of a remarkable new writer.

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Quotes & Awards

  • “[A] clever debut…The story’s breakneck pace will carry most readers along.”

    Publishers Weekly

  • “This well-written debut crime novel features a chillingly postmodern amorality and well-developed protagonists on both sides of the law who will have readers rooting for them. Thriller fans will be chomping at the bit for the next Stevens and Windermere novel in the planned series.”

    Library Journal

  • “A fast-moving debut thriller with enough twists to fill a pretzel bag…Let’s hope Laukkanen writes more thrillers like this one.”

    Kirkus Reviews (starred review)

  • Fasten your seat belts, Owen Laukkanen’s The Professionals is one heck of a wild ride. A first-class thriller by a terrific new voice. John Lescroart
  • Really terrific – characters that live and breathe, a just-right story, and chills aplenty. Highly recommended. Lee Child
  • Smoothly written, with a slam-bang ending, The Professionals is a brutally beautiful piece of work. Owen Laukkanen takes us straight into the hearts of the bad guys, and what we find there is something very complicated and still very bad. The cops are just as complex as the villains, and Laukkanen nicely captures the personal and sexual tension between Kirk Stevens and Carla Windermere as they track down the gang: this is a pairing that will wear well. John Sandford
  • A coiling plot, insightful characters, and a tale fraught with danger. What more could any thriller reader want? The Professionals has it all. It’s top-notch entertainment. Steve Berry
  • A page-turning blend of classic suspense fiction and chillingly postmodern amorality. Ingenious plotting, perfect-pitch characterization and evocative sense of place combine to create an impressive debut. Jonathan Kellerman
  • A spectacular debut novel written with intelligence, toughness, and heart. Owen Laukkanen is a writer to watch. Thomas Perry, author of The Butcher's Boy and The Informant
  • The Professionals is a high-octane adrenaline and gunpowder-fueled rocket ride across the country from Seattle to Miami to Detroit and points in-between. What is remarkable about Owen Laukkanen’s debut is how skillfully he makes the reader care for his characters on both sides of the law. An excellent first novel! C. J. Box
  • The Professionals grips you on page one and doesn’t let go until the last, satisfying page. Laukkanen provides plenty of twists along the way while developing a well-juggled array of complex and evolving characters. Highly recommended. Alafair Burke, author of Long Gone
  • A 2013 International Thriller Writers Award Nominee for Best First Novel
  • One of the 2012 Kirkus Reviews’ Best Books: Thrillers
  • Selected for the April 2012 Indie Next List
  • A 2013 Anthony Award Nominee for Best First Novel
  • A 2013 Barry Award Nominee for Best First Novel

Listener Reviews

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  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Ginny | 2/15/2014

    " This was a terrific debut novel by Owen Laukkanen. I was hooked from the beginning and found myself relating to both the good and bad characters. Of course, I was on the side of the good guys but sad for the poor choices the bad guys made that escalated out of control. I will look for future books by this talented author. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Kay | 2/4/2014

    " Nothing special, but a nice crime thriller. Exciting climax. Can see this making a good movie. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Mark | 1/16/2014

    " Very fun read. Good for the beach. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Diana | 1/1/2014

    " Why find a job!! These four college people decide to go into the kidnapping business. They do this for two years and then kidnap the wrong person . This is way the book really keeps your interest. First time author. A real good read. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Jeff | 12/18/2013

    " Wow. Great, great book. Reminded me of Chuck Hogan's Prince of Thieves in a lot of ways. Great characters, great tension, great story. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Richard | 12/17/2013

    " Fast-paced and well plotted, this is almost a classic. However, the writer tries a bit too hard to make us like the various characters, which is not all that possible in the brief time span of the novel. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Chris | 12/11/2013

    " Like his protagonist, Arthur Pender, Mr. Laukkanen leads his readers through a series of increasingly dangerous and fortunate conflict but in the end finds himself backed into a corner of his own downfall, unable to provide a satisfying or plausible conclusion to a sometimes thrilling story. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Robin | 11/30/2013

    " Original & excellent - can't wait for more from Owen Laukkanen. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Doris | 9/12/2013

    " I wanted both sides to win. Loved this book and highly reccommend it "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Marianne | 2/2/2013

    " Fun premise. Enjoyed the whole idea of just a quick way to make a few bucks Robin-Hood-style. What could possibly go wrong? "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 Pris | 12/2/2012

    " A nice start, but it fell apart in a very annoying way about midway through the story. Darn. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Jim | 11/6/2012

    " Good characters and interesting read. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Glennie | 9/17/2012

    " Fabulous first novel! Highly recommended. Action-packed. Looking forward to Owen's next book. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Sam's | 8/11/2012

    " Premise was great. Good read. "

About the Author

Owen Laukkanen’s 2012 debut, The Professionals, earned rave reviews from critics and readers alike. The story of four recent university graduates who turn to kidnapping in a failing job market was hailed by Mystery Scene Magazine as one of the year’s best debuts, while Kirkus Reviews named it one of the top 100 novels of the year. A graduate of the University of British Columbia’s creative writing program, Laukkanen spent three years in the world of professional poker reporting after answering a Craigslist ad before turning to fiction. He currently lives in Vancouver, where he’s hard at work on the third and fourth installments in the Stevens and Windermere series.

About the Narrator

Edoardo Ballerini, an American actor, director, film producer, and award–winning narrator. He has won several Audie Awards for best narration, including for 2019’s Best Male Narrator of the Year, and was named a Golden Voice by AudioFile magazine in 2019. He has narrated over two hundred audiobooks, from classics to modern masters, from bestsellers to the inspirational, from Nobel and Pulitzer Prize winners to spine-tingling series, and much more. In television and film, he is best known for his roles in The Sopranos, 24, I Shot Andy Warhol, Dinner Rush and Romeo Must Die. He is also trained in theater and continues to do much work on stage.