Excerpt: 'Criminal Enterprise,' by Owen Laukkanen

  • Updated: March 22, 2013 - 2:42 PM

“Criminal Enterprise,” by Owen Laukkanen.

Canadian writer Owen Laukkanen set his second thriller, “Criminal Enterprise,” partly in the Twin Cities, and he dropped in plenty of familiar place names: Lowertown, Stevens Square, downtown Minneapolis, Eat Street. Much of the action — some of it violent — takes place in a mansion on St. Paul’s Summit Avenue. Here’s how the book begins:

They came into the bank around one-thirty, a man and a woman. Both of them wore ski masks, and both carried guns. The teller was busy with a customer, the last of the lunchtime rush. She didn’t see them come in. She helped her customer cash his paycheck, and when she looked up, they were there.

Two of them. The man about six feet tall, the woman almost a full foot shorter. The woman carried a shotgun, sawed off and menacing, the man an assault rifle. Bank robbers. Just like in the movies.

They swept in to the middle of the bank before Larry, the big guard, could react from the door. The man fired a burst with his machine gun through the ceiling, and customers screamed and scattered. Larry half-stood at the door, his hand on his radio. The woman pointed the shotgun at him. “On the ground.” Her voice was hard. “Don’t be a hero.”

The man with the rifle carried a duffel bag. He tossed it to his partner, who held her shotgun on Larry, waiting as he sunk, sheepish, to the floor. “Everybody on the ground,” the man said. “Whatever you’re thinking you’ll try, it’s not worth it.”

The customers hit the floor, all of them, ducking for cover in their suits and heels and nylons, hiding where they could behind countertops and in doorways. The teller snuck a glance at Cindy beside her. Cindy was shaking, staring hard at the man and his big machine gun, her hand on the silent alarm.

The man caught her gaze and walked over. “I said get down.” Cindy shook harder, tears in her eyes. The man hit her hard with the butt end of his rifle, and Cindy made a little grunt and went down.





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  • Owen Laukkanen, author of “Criminal Enterprise.”

  • CRIMINAL ENTERPRISE

    By: Owen Laukkanen.

    Publisher: Putnam, 416 pages, $26.95.

    Event: 7 p.m. Thu., Once Upon a Crime Bookstore, 604 W. 26th St., Mpls.

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