Criminal Enterprise by Owen Laukkanen


March 21, 2013

Carter Tomlin used to be a good person. He was a family man, an accountant – someone who worked hard and paid his taxes. The lay-off changed all that, though. Now Carter Tomlin robs banks.

At first, he told himself the heists were just a necessary evil – something to keep the lights on and the fridge full until he found a more legitimate source of income. But then somewhere along the way, Carter acquired a gun and started to enjoy himself…

CRIMINAL ENTERPRISE is the second of Owen Laukkanen’s novels to feature investigative duo Kirk Stevens and Carla Windermere, and it’s one hell of a wild ride – full of corkscrews, cutbacks, blind curves, and barrel rolls. The pace is quick, the plot is intricate, and the stakes start out high and increase exponentially over the course of the tale.

Laukkanen’s crowning achievement here, though, may well be his character work. Not only does he do a fantastic job of establishing the motivations of his characters – of making the reader understand how a man could abandon his family to rob banks or chase criminals – but the horrific experience of rooting for Carter Tomlin and then watching him transition from protagonist to predatory psychopath is worth the price of admission, alone. With Criminal Enterprise, Laukkanen illustrates quite beautifully how adrenaline can be just as addictive as – and perhaps even more destructive than – any illicit substance on the market.

Katrina Niidas Holm