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51 of 53 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great first novel
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...
Published on 11 Jan 2005 by Dave Briggs

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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars The Business of Dying
I'm a big fan of Simon Kernick and have thoroughly enjoyed many of his books, but this one doesn't seem to be a typical Simon Kernick novel - it seems to lack the the pace of his others. I also found the end to be a bit predictable. However, it is still an enjoyable read and it contains a good leading character in Dennis Milne who is a corrupt cop and at times you don't...
Published on 26 Oct 2011 by Mr. R. Young


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51 of 53 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great first novel, 11 Jan 2005
This review is from: The Business Of Dying (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.
Kernick manages to control the plot superbly, the twists and turns are never obvious nor unlikely, and Milne is a likeable yet flawed anti-hero.
This is an excellent crime novel, particularly when you consider that it is his first. More crime fiction should be like this, where the lines between the good guys and the bad are blurred, and the ending is not really all that happy. With The Business of Dying, Kernick has proved that he should do well in the business of writing.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Cracking Debut, 26 July 2010
This review is from: The Business Of Dying: (Dennis Milne 1) (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
By 
London reader (London United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
This review is from: The Business of Dying (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
4.0 out of 5 stars Gritty and entertaining, 6 Nov 2006
By 
Nick Brett (Wiltshire, England) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Business Of Dying (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
4.0 out of 5 stars Not a typical first novel, 23 July 2006
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lmhh (UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Business Of Dying (Paperback)
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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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Business of good crime writing, 9 July 2004
By A Customer
This review is from: The Business of Dying (Hardcover)
The book has pace, excellent characterisation and originality. It's the story of a London copper who has, unfortunately, crossed the line. Then his outside private practice involves a set up and we make the journey with him as his life simply unravels. He has definitely "not done good", but as the story unfolds you find yourself routing for him and then questioning whether you should be. He is a great character - very realistic and with realistic actions considering he is, in essence, a bad cop. Other walk on parts are also well drawn. There are quite a few characters but it is easy to differentiate them as Kernick characterises really well.
There are plot twists and this is the most realistic London based police procedural I have read. (Actually, you can remove "London based" from that sentence.)
A massively great debut with the promise of a great career ahead.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars good thriller, 27 July 2013
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Good thriller many twists in the story of police officer who also a paid assassin. One. Knight he kills 3 men who are1 accountant and 2 custom officer ? Bad guy or not? Give it a go.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars The Business of Dying, 26 Oct 2011
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Mr. R. Young (Teesside) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Business Of Dying: (Dennis Milne 1) (Mass Market Paperback)
I'm a big fan of Simon Kernick and have thoroughly enjoyed many of his books, but this one doesn't seem to be a typical Simon Kernick novel - it seems to lack the the pace of his others. I also found the end to be a bit predictable. However, it is still an enjoyable read and it contains a good leading character in Dennis Milne who is a corrupt cop and at times you don't know whether you are with him or against him. Worth picking up.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Enjoyed my first Kernick novel, 26 July 2010
This review is from: The Business Of Dying: (Dennis Milne 1) (Mass Market Paperback)
Before I picked this novel from the shelves of a Spanish apartment where we were staying,I hadn't heard of the author. I read it in a couple of days and enjoyed its pace, plot and characterisation. Whilst feasibility is stretched at times and there are areas of predictability, this is overall a good read. I have just ordered more Kernick novels, which must say something.
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9 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Wow! What a first novel!!!, 28 May 2004
By 
D. Walker (Rugby, Warks United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
This review is from: The Business of Dying (Hardcover)
I Usually get "stuck" on certain authors. I saw the review of Simon Kernick`s first book on Amazon, and thought it sounded like my sort of story. I decided to take a chance.... It turned out to be better than most of the books I usually read: Exciting, gripping, gritty, the plot twisting and turning.... I found myself totally absorbed, feeling almost involved!
Can`t wait to read his next book!
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The Business Of Dying: (Dennis Milne 1)
The Business Of Dying: (Dennis Milne 1) by Simon Kernick (Mass Market Paperback - 25 Feb 2008)
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