KILL FEE by Owen Laukkanen

Kill Fee
Owen Laukkanen
Putnam
March 20th, 2014

Owen Laukkanen is a relative newcomer to the thriller genre. Kill Fee, the third book of the series, once again reunites FBI special agent Carla Windermere with Minnesota State police investigator Kirk Stevens. Fans of crime thrillers will be reminded of best-selling author John Sandford because the setting and the main character’s career path are the same. However, it becomes abundantly obvious that Laukkanen is able to put his own distinctive imprint on his books.

The plot begins when Windermere and Stevens witness an assassination, and are unable to apprehend the fleeing murderer. As other targeted killings occur these two law enforcement officers travel throughout the US to find answers and to catch those responsible. What becomes obvious is that they are always one step behind as they try to put the pieces together including a murder for hire Internet site. They seek to find the person behind turning young war veterans into unemotional killers. Using complete control their handler transforms them into broken human beings who are obedient and lethal.

The readers can readily identify with very realistic characters. The protagonists share varying degrees of dissatisfaction with their personal lives as they struggle to balance that with their job responsibilities. The author weaves the various characters actions together in an intense plot. Even many of the antagonists become sympathetic figures as they struggle with PTSD and to free themselves from the control of this one person who is their lifeline to the world.

Kill Fee has a very riveting plot that includes mayhem and misdirection. It has characters that are very well developed and intriguing. This intense novel is a must read for anyone who enjoys suspenseful thrillers.

Elise Cooper