Kill Fee is the soon-to-be-released crime novel from Owen Laukkanen. It is a fast paced account of the search for a the head of a murder for hire organization named “Killswitch”. Yes, this is a computer term, and the name of the organization refers to the fact that this is an internet based operation.
The brains behind Killswitch runs an encrypted program on his work and home computers. The money paid for the hits is transferred by wire to a foreign account that is hidden behind various shell corporations. The assassins that Killswitch employs, known as the “assets”, are young war veterans suffering from PTSD. Killswitch brainwashes the assets into following his commands.
As this novel opens, an elderly billionaire is murdered in Saint Paul, Minnesota. A state investigator, Kirk Stevens. and his occasional partner, FBI special agent Carla Windermere, witness the murder and give chase to the shooter. It takes a few more murders before they are able to connect the dots and realize that these seemingly unrelated murders were all committed by the same person.
Stevens and Windermere criss cross the country following clues and looking for the killer.
The concept of this book is interesting. It is well written and a quick read. I will say, though that I liked it, but didn’t love it. I think for me the issue is that I wish the main characters had more depth to them. It was difficult to understand their motivation. This novel would likely make a good movie, though. There is plenty of action and violence for today’s audience.
Many thanks, once again, to LibraryThing’s Early Reviewer program for sending me this novel.
To be published in hardcover-G.P. Putnam’s Sons-March 20, 2014