Simon Kernick acknowledges that he has a particular fondness for the character of Dennis Milne, former rogue cop who lives as a fugitive in Asia, earning his crust as a professional hitman working for a shady businessman. Kernick certainly writes his best material when Milne is involved, somehow conveying the balance between killer and man with conscience. In The Payback, this balance comes to the fore as Milne rejects his latest contract to team up with (DI) Tina Boyd to bring down the evil crime lord, Paul Wise. Boyd is herself is a maverick, and although she initially detests Milne they have focus on a common goal and a certain chemistry develops. The action is fast and furious, as you would expect from Kernick, and the book has a bit of a James Bond feel as Milne & Boyd fight injustice in the shape of Mr Evil (Wise) in foreign climes (Manila). There is a bitter sadness to Milne's plight but an ultimate conclusion and redemption. If you like a good Kernick tale, The Payback will not disappoint.