KILL FEE by Owen Laukkanen


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Minnesota state cop Kirk Stevens teams up once more with the FBI’s Carla Windermere to put a ruthless murder-for-hire scheme out of business.

“Business” is indeed the word for Killswitch, the assassination bureau that defense-contracting executive Michael Parkerson runs on the side. Clients go to, type in their requests, wait for Parkerson to establish their bona fides, and pay half his hefty fee before their targets are terminated, half afterward. The dirty work falls to a series of dead-eyed “assets,” military veterans Parkerson has brainwashed to travel the country executing their targets until the assets themselves inevitably wear out and must be retired and replaced. When the latest target, media mogul Spenser Pyatt, is felled by a sniper outside the Saint Paul Hotel only a few yards from where Stevens and Windermere are sharing coffee and conversation, the two friends and sometime colleagues (Criminal Enterprise, 2013, etc.) give chase, and the chase widens, accelerates and continues for 400 pages. The man who pulled the trigger, Malcolm Lind, is so resourceful and unflappable, such a perfectly engineered killing machine, that he’s impossible to catch—until a chance encounter with softhearted airline clerk Caity Sherman begins to reawaken his humanity. For his part, Stevens, who’s consistently drawn to Windermere, isn’t eager to tell his long-suffering wife, Nancy, that he’s working with the younger African-American agent again, but he’s caught up, like everyone else Killswitch has touched, in the relentless action.

Proficient, professional, pulse-pounding nonsense. If you can accept the outrageous logistics of Killswitch, you won’t put this third installment down unfinished.

Pub Date: March 20th, 2014
ISBN: 978-0-399-16552-8
Page count: 400pp
Publisher: Putnam
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15th, 2014


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