The legend “No Sophomore Slump Here” could have been emblazoned across the cover of CRIMINAL ENTERPRISE. Author Owen Laukkanen debuted in 2012 with THE PROFESSIONALS, which introduced lone wolf FBI agent Carla Windermere and Minnesota BCA officer Kirk Stevens as a law enforcement odd couple. Windermere and Stevens parted at the book’s conclusion without taking their professional relationship to the personal, despite being tempted to do so (Stevens is happily married), yet neither has been forgotten by the other. Though it takes them a bit of time to reconnect (professionally) in this latest adventure, they slowly approach the same case from opposing ends in a story that is perfectly paced from start to finish.
"[O]nce you start reading CRIMINAL ENTERPRISE, you won’t think about stopping until you’ve finished this tale by a brilliant and engaging storyteller."
CRIMINAL ENTERPRISE opens with a high-energy bank robbery pulled off by a trio who we quickly come to learn is headed by Carter Tomlin. The hook here is that Tomlin is an extremely successful accountant who suddenly gets downsized by his firm and has difficulty making the monthly nut on his big home in the suburbs of Minnesota’s twin cities. He is given a separation parachute to soften the fall, but there’s too much ground and not enough sky for it to do him much good. Having exhausted his network of contacts while job hunting, Tomlin has a dark epiphany one day while visiting a bank to see about refinancing. An impromptu holdup starts him down the road of crime. He is still living day to day, however, when he realizes that he needs to pull some really big heists to get really big money. In one of the more interesting scenes in a book full of them, he acquires some big boy guns and a couple of associates.
Tomlin’s activities soon attract the attention of the FBI, particularly Carla Windermer