Simon Kernick – The Business of Dying

What happens, if a cop also is a contract killer? There have been some stories with a similar arc in the past years, but The Business of Dying is one of the earlier books (2003). It’s also a book on the cop himself as the anti-hero, which makes me relate it to Dexter (as TV series as well as the original books), where it is some CSI guy being a serial killer, or remotely related to Dark Justice (TV series). There is not much similarity in the settings though.

Simon Kernick’s “hero” is the long served cop Dennis Milne. Unsatisfied with how law often fails on putting the bad guys to jail, he started taking kill-jobs on criminals. In The Business of Dying he is played foul, and suddenly he becomes a hunted killer as well. There are several turns and twists making the story interesting and suspenseful, even one does not really like Milne for being a killer. Especially, as one never knows about friends being friends or foes until the very ending.

All characters depicted by Kernick seemed quite plausible to me. I really liked the flow of the story and how it puts the protagonist into new situations to find or fight his way out. It contains few accidents to make the story work, which single hero stories often do. And I guess it works with Milne as he still follows some principles, the reader can identify with. The writing itself is detailed enough to create the right atmosphere, but does not take the speed of the story. Very likable thriller.