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The Business Of Dying: (Dennis Milne 1) Mass Market Paperback – 25 Feb 2008


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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: 10.8 x 3.2 x 17.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (97 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 184,791 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Review

"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

4.5 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

52 of 54 people found the following review helpful By Dave Briggs on 11 Jan. 2005
Format: Paperback
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 By Steve Horsfall - Author / Writer on 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 By London reader on 6 Aug. 2002
Format: Hardcover
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 By Nick Brett TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on 6 Nov. 2006
Format: Paperback
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 By lmhh VINE VOICE on 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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