Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Owen Laukkanen and the Finno-Canadian crime fiction explosion: The first five pages

I've begun remedying an unfortunate dearth of Finno-Canadian crime writers in my reading background, and if Owen Laukkanen's second novel, Criminal Enterprise, is any guide, Finno-Canadian crime writing could be the next big thing.

I say that after having read just five pages, and even if the rest of the book falls short, that beginning proves conclusively that the man has chops.  The first chapter is a bank robbery carried out with crisp precision that ought to delight fans of Richard Stark's Parker novels, but its climax shows that Laukkanen can write fear. I don't mean cheap titillation, I mean the kind of fear that induces pity for the victim without the slightest hint of dirty voyeuristic titillation. Laukkanen is a little like Allan Guthrie that way.

Chapter Two begins with a brilliant, subtle bit of trickery on Laukkanen's part that plays on crime readers' genre expectations and will very likely resonate through the book. I can't reveal it here, so you'll have to read the book yourself. But do so soon. My patience won't last forever.
Laukkanen is one of the writers I met at the just-concluded Bouchercon 2013. There's more to Bouchercon than gin. Meeting, discovering, and mingling with new writers is really what it's all about.

© Peter Rozovsky 2013

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Blogger Kelly Robinson said...

It's a great feeling when you know right away that a book is going to be a good one.

September 25, 2013  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

Well, the book could yet be littered with disappointments (though I have no reason to suspect it will be). But even if it should be, the author has already shown me he can write, and I would pick up his next book. In this case, though, I'd pick up his first. Criminal Enterprise is his second, and I have good things about The Professionals, his first.

September 25, 2013  

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