Kill Fee by Owen Laukkanen

Kill Fee (Stevens & Windermere, #3)Kill Fee

by Owen Laukkanen

Hardcover, 400 pg.
Putnam Adult, 2014
Series: Stevens & Windermere, #3
Read: June 4, 2014

Like I indicated back when I reviewed Criminal Enterprises, the biggest trick for Laukkanen is coming up with some reason to get his FBI Agent and his State Police Officer together to work on a case. Once that’s dealt with, we’re off to the races and anything goes. This time, our two heroes are hanging out with each other and witness the crime together. Simple and effective way to get them working together. Easy as pie.

This time they’re on the trail of a hit man who killed a billionaire right in front of them. But he’s not your typical hitman, there was something about his face — his eyes — that set him apart from others. His shooting (and subsequent kills) gets Stevens and Windermere hopping all over the country again on his trail.

Once again, we have a criminal in the midst of a very successful crime spree, which goes haywire about the same time as Stevens and Windermere start investigating. Not because of them — although they make it worse — but because of the heart. Sure, that’s a recurring plot point in this series — but that’s not a complaint, or a weakness, really. Because it makes sense, it seems real, there’s million different ways to use that plot point — and because Laukkanen pulls it off so well. So it comes across as a common bond amongst the people that he depicts, not a laziness.

There’s heightened emotional stakes between partners on the law side, too, as the Stevens and Windermere deal with the nature of their relationship (I really, really liked the way they dealt with this). Things are intense for Stevens on the home front, too — between his wife’s discontent with the new direction his career is taking and his daughter still dealing with the aftermath of her ordeal in Criminal Enterprises, he has more than enough to deal with even without a multi-state killing spree.

As is becoming commonplace in this series — a great plot, good pacing, a twisted criminal (truly despicable), good characterization. Everything moved well, things clicked just as it should. Laukkanen is becoming as dependable and reliable as Kirk Stevens, and as bold as Carla Windermere. I’m already getting impatient waiting for the next.


3.5 Stars

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