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The Business Of Dying: (Dennis Milne 1) [Mass Market Paperback]

Simon Kernick
4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (84 customer reviews)
RRP: 6.99
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Book Description

25 Feb 2008 Dennis Milne (Book 1)

It's a cold November night, and DS Dennis Milne is waiting to kill three unarmed men.

Cynical and jaded, Milne earns money on the side by doing what he does best: punishing the bad guys.

But he's been set up.

This time, instead of shooting drug dealers, he kills two customs officers and an accountant.

The hunter has become the hunted. With his colleagues and his enemies closing in on him, Milne must use all of his skills, just to stay alive.

Frequently Bought Together

The Business Of Dying: (Dennis Milne 1) + A Good Day To Die: (Dennis Milne 2) + The Crime Trade: (Tina Boyd 1)
Price For All Three: 16.42

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Product details

  • Mass Market Paperback: 464 pages
  • Publisher: Corgi (25 Feb 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0552157376
  • ISBN-13: 978-0552157377
  • Product Dimensions: 10.6 x 17.7 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (84 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 37,983 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Simon Kernick is one of Britain's most exciting new thriller writers. He arrived on the crime writing scene with his highly acclaimed debut novel The Business of Dying, the story of a corrupt cop moonlighting as a hitman. However, Simon's big breakthrough came with his novel Relentless which was selected by Richard and Judy for their Recommended Summer Reads promotion, and then rapidly went on to become the bestselling thriller of 2007. Simon's research is what makes his thrillers so authentic. He talks both on and off the record to members of Special Branch, the Anti-Terrorist Branch and the Serious and Organised Crime Agency, so he gets to hear first hand what actually happens in the dark and murky underbelly of UK crime. To find out more about Simon Kernick and his thrillers, please visit

Product Description


"Simon Kernick writes with his foot pressed hard on the pedal. Hang on tight!" (Harlan Coben)

"Great plots, great characters, great action." (Lee Child)

"The next time I see Simon Kernick's name on a book I will pick it up. Brilliant!" (Richard Madeley)

"Kernick is no longer a writer to watch; he's an author to be reckoned with." (Mark Billingham)

Book Description

The explosive first novel by the bestselling author of Relentless

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
51 of 53 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great first novel 11 Jan 2005
This is the debut novel by Kernick, and one I picked up at the Bodies in the Bookshop in Cambridge event in July 2004. Given that a usually slothful reader like me managed to whip through it in less than a week is testament to the pace of the book.
Before the event, I hadn't heard of Kernick, but a brief bit of research beforehand made it clear that he was probably for me the most interesting bloke there. His novels (there are three currently published, including this one) are variously described as 'dark', 'savage' and 'rancidly rendered' - which makes perfect crime reading for me.
The Business of Dying, despite being pretty bleak at times, is nothing like as depressing as, say, David Peace or James Ellroy. There isn't the sense of total desolation that seems to accompany books by those gloomy writers, and indeed throughout the book, until perhaps the climactic closing chapters, a black humour is ever present. I'm never certain about so-called 'humorous' crime books, though here the laughs are on the periphery and largely stem from the fairly misanthropic hero. The writing is less stylised too, and perhaps more in line with the likes of Rankin and Booth. No fancy typographical tricks here, which makes for a pacy read.
The story, then. DS Dennis Milne is a pretty fed up detective with too many unsolved cases on his hands than he'd like. Oh, and he also earns a bit of cash on the side as a hit man for a dodgy local 'businessman'. The story begins with Milne capping three blokes in a hotel car park before rushing to the scene of another murder, this time of a teenage prostitute. As Milne digs deeper, his grip on both his police work and his grisly side line begins to loosen and by the last third of the book he loses control almost completely.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Cracking Debut 26 July 2010
Format:Mass Market Paperback
The Business of Dying is extremely gritty and an excellent debut novel. The plot is seen through the eyes of another Kernick anti-hero, DS Milne, who is both an excellent cop and a cold blooded Hitman - a kind of Dirty Harry gone bad. Milne is such a good and committed cop that it takes a while to believe in his other life but by the end you are left in no doubt that this man is a blood thirsty killer not to be messed with, and still end up cheering him on.
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23 of 26 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An electrifying and unputdownable debut 6 Aug 2002
This is top-drawer hard boiled Brit crime that knocks spots off Guy Ritchie et al. DS Milne is a tough, jaded, boozing copper straight from Raymond Chandler, with a sharp mind but flexible morals. Milne has a sideline - he's paid by lowlifes to kill other lowlifes, so when he has to investigate a triple murder he's just committed, and he finds the victims were two customs men and an accountant, he sets out to find answers. At the same time a girl of eighteen has been found cruelly murdered and Milne is drawn into the investigation, uncovering a depravity that even his fading conscience can't ignore. While that case offers some redemption, Milne's criminal paymasters start to put on the squeeze and his colleagues begin to piece together the evidence from his homicides. With time running out and his paranoia growing Milne has to work fast and tough, to unravel the conspiracy of the girl's killing, dodge the police investigation and get payback for being double-crossed.
This is what hard-edged crime fiction is all about. The London drawn by Simon Kernick is a totally believable moral wasteland, with the anti-hero Milne at the centre riddled with guilt and paranoia and with ever-fewer cards to play. This gripping novel is a rollercoaster through a place we glimpse in the headlines and crime statistics where violence, power and money all go hand-in-hand, and where you have to be cynical to stay sane. Moreover this story is rooted right here and right now by Kernick's sharp sense for good characters, grimy detail and real dialogue. The narrative is so taut and fast-moving you'll struggle to put this book down. Anyone who likes The Long Good Friday or Get Carter, Quentin Tarantino or Philip Marlowe will get a real kick from this, and I can't wait for Kernick's next.
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16 of 18 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Gritty and entertaining 6 Nov 2006
I was lead to this by links and positive reviews on Amazon and I was pleased I made the effort.

An apparently experienced and dedicated CID officer acts as an occasional hit man for a local gangster. In this tale the repercussions of a 'hit' become more and more significant during the investigation of a murder. As the net closes in on our CID officer, he struggles with the need to make a run for it while wanting to identify the murderer.

This was a very enjoyable page-turner and the author managers to make you root for a man who is actually a bad guy. Very refreshing and entertaining throughout.
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Not a typical first novel 23 July 2006
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Having read the second Dennis Milne novel first, I was prepared to be disappointed by "The Business of Dying" but was far from it. It has none of the hallmarks of a typical first novel, isn't at all derivative, and the moral contradiction of the hero being a policeman who is also a professional hitman is well handled.

Add to that action bursting out of every page, and descriptions of a real London which I recognised and you have a recipe for enjoyment if you like your crime fiction gritty and bloody.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars The business of dying
An absolute read, the dialogue was well thought out and the role of the main character was almost inspiring. Read more
Published 17 hours ago by richard hart
4.0 out of 5 stars Four Stars
Still read at present but this author is brill, I will be watching out for may more to read.
Published 4 days ago by Mrs S Williams
5.0 out of 5 stars Kernick's first masterpiece.
The book that introduces us to the works of Simon Kernick and in this case, the first book that introduces us DS Dennis Milne, a disgruntled detective who is passed over for... Read more
Published 9 days ago by Jayke1981
5.0 out of 5 stars Simply brilliant!
Simply brilliant! I'm so pleased I stumbled across this author. I have loved every book of his I've read. Every one is as good as the next. Read more
Published 1 month ago by J. Walker
5.0 out of 5 stars Great
Published 1 month ago by miss g nutt
5.0 out of 5 stars a great MC!!
So good that I bought the next book in the series within
5 minutes of finishing the first.!
Published 2 months ago by John Battle
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
As always a quality read
Published 2 months ago by Jonathan
5.0 out of 5 stars Outstanding
What a fantastic book! A little hard to stomach at times but overall a brilliant and clever crime thriller. Read more
Published 2 months ago by Kim
5.0 out of 5 stars great read
Read this in 2 days
First book I've read in 2 years so it shows how good it was to keep my attention - enjoy- I did
Published 3 months ago by steve penn
5.0 out of 5 stars plenty of action
i chose five star rating because from the very first page there is always plenty of action lots of people being killed whether its being shot at or buildings being bombed lots of... Read more
Published 4 months ago by gaynor rawlings
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