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The Business of Dying (Dennis Milne #1)

3.93  ·  Rating Details  ·  1,165 Ratings  ·  108 Reviews
It's a typical cold November night and Detective Sergeant Dennis Milne, a very atypical policeman, waits in the Traveller's Rest Hotel parking lot for the arrival of three men. Cynical and jaded, Milne earns money on the side by doing what he does best: punishing the bad guys. But this time he's been duped. Instead of blowing away drug dealers, he kills three innocent peop ...more
Paperback, 336 pages
Published September 1st 2005 by Minotaur Books (first published 2002)
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Girl Afraid by Ciarán WestThe Spy Who Came In from the Cold by John le CarréOn Her Majesty's Secret Service by Ian FlemingThe 39 Steps by John BuchanFrankenstein by Mary Shelley
Good Old British Thrillers
11th out of 103 books — 56 voters
Siege by Simon KernickRelentless by Simon KernickThe Last 10 Seconds by Simon KernickThe Payback by Simon KernickSevered by Simon Kernick
Favourite Simon Kernick Books
6th out of 12 books — 7 voters

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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 2,105)
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Tim The Enchanter
Posted to The Literary Laywer

A Unique Police Procedural - 4 Stars

This is my first experience with the writing of Simon Kernick. Overall I enjoyed his writing style and method of storytelling. In this, his first installment in the Dennis Milne series, I wasn't blown away by an single aspect of the novel but steady writing, plotting and an interesting twist to the regular police procedural kept me interested.

Plot Summary

Dennis Milne is what some might call a dirty cop. This is not to say h
Apr 09, 2016 Frances rated it really liked it
A gripping crime thriller follows a London detective sergeant Dennis Milne, a wise-cracking, heavy drinker and smoker. While Milne shows much sympathy and concern for many victims and will do everything feasible to attain justice, there is a ruthless personality trait lurking below the surface. During his career he becomes more cynical and realizes that the law in practice only serves to help the criminal, hinder the police, and ignore the victim. Soon DS Milne finds he is quite willing and even ...more
Sean Peters
Sep 10, 2015 Sean Peters rated it really liked it
What can I say, my friends know Simon Kernick is one of my favourite authors, members of my group " A Good Thriller", know I love his books, so how am I reading his first book?

Guilty, I have read number 3, first, yes first !

Now reading part 1 in the Dennis Milne books, have read most of Tina Boyd books.

But pleased to say loved this book and a great introduction to this great author, that I can recommend to all my friends, and I can tell you he gets stronger and better.

Very pleased to read this b
Jan 28, 2016 Eric_W rated it really liked it
“Three murders and now we got a witness.” Dennis and Danny have just finished shooting three hoodlums behind a house. Dennis is Detective Sergeant Milne and he kills criminals. In this case at the behest of criminals.

DS Milne is also a very tenacious cop and is in the midst of an investigation into the death of Miriam Fox. He has reason to suspect that the pimp all the evidence points to may not be the actual killer; something just doesn’t seem right, especially as another runaway has disappeare
Jan 03, 2015 Sharon rated it liked it
Shelves: 2015-reads
This year - 2015 - I'm making it a point to read thriller series from the beginning instead of dipping into them randomly. Of course it seems almost every author these days has some series on the go along with their stand alone novels so there's a lot of reading ahead of me, lol.

My first read of 2015 is Simon Kernick's The Business Of Dying which turns out to be "Dennis Milne #1" This was a pretty good read - good enough for me to want to continue reading the other 2 books in the series.
Aug 02, 2014 Olivermagnus rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: europe
Simon Kernick's debut novel introduces DS Dennis Milne, a tough, jaded, boozing cop with a sharp mind but flexible morals. Milne has a sideline to earn some extra cash. He's paid by criminals to kill other criminals. Things get a little complex when he has to investigate a triple murder he's just committed. He discovers the dead men he killed were two customs agents and an accountant, which doesn't jibe with what he was told when he accepted the contract. In his legitimate job, Dennis is also in ...more
Jun 30, 2015 Paul rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Readers of Crime Thrillers
Shelves: crime-thrillers
The Business Of Dying - Simon Kernick The Business of Dying (Dennis Milne, #1) by Simon Kernick

'The Business of Dying' is the debut novel by the British novelist, Simon Kernick, published by Bantam in 2002. Since the publication of this novel Kernick has written twelve more novels, several of which feature Dennis Milne, the main character & first person narrator of this novel.

The Plot:

Dennis Milne is a full time police officer, part time 'killer-for-hire'. Milne is a 20 year veteran of the police force, who has become disillusioned & cynical
Toni Osborne
Jun 30, 2012 Toni Osborne rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
“The Business of Dying” is this author’s first book so after enjoying his latest books immensely I knew I had to go back in time to search out the roots of this author’s imagination.

Mr. Kernick’s first novel is a mystery with a twist providing the reader with plenty of action and intrigue. The engaging protagonist, Dennis Milne, a full time cop and part time murderer, is always at the heart of it all. The storytelling flows smoothly and delivers a saga that engulfs your imagination till the last
Kieran Delaney
Jun 11, 2012 Kieran Delaney rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I picked this up after reading Relentless - a book which didn't promise much but delivered beyond expectation.

The Business Of Dying is Kernick's first novel which is apparent from the off - not quite as polished as his later books it still revolves around his strongest idea yet, that of Dennis Milne full time cop, part time murderer.

A man with a twisted moral compass, he's sent to kill 3 drug dealers but it immediately goes awry when it becomes clear these men were not drug dealers and not corr

The novel starts out fast, with a coldblooded execution of three men. Within minutes the deed is done and the perpetrators even have time to change escape vehicles. It's just like Milne said at the beginning of the story: if you're going to kill someone, plan it. But, despite careful planning, there is a witness, and when the cop in him spares her life, his decision comes back later to bite him.
As the opening scene illustrates, The Business of Dying is not for the faint of heart; there is no la
Reinaldo Lourenço
May 28, 2014 Reinaldo Lourenço rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: lidos-2014
Pronto, gosto deste gajo (autor) :)
Só tenho pena de ler lido o 2º livro do Dennis Milne antes deste mas pronto, na altura nao o tinha e tinha gostado bastante do livro que tinha lido do Simon Kernick.
O Dennis Milne nao é um detective tradicional, nem bonzinho, o que o torna, quanto a mim, original.
Nao sei explicar muito bem mas gosto da escrita do Simon, as coisas parece que fluem com muita naturalidade, nao se perde em descriçoes pormenorizadas e chatas dos cenarios/personagens...
É pena, nao te
Aug 06, 2014 Kathy rated it really liked it
Shelves: book
After a shaky start so glad I persevered as thoroughly enjoyed this book and looking forward to the next one!
David Dalton
Not bad. I was already hooked on Simon's writing thanks to Siege by Simon Kernick and other titles. But this was his first. Kind of hard to get behind a killer cop, but somehow Simon makes it work. I will for sure move on to the 2nd book in this trilogy: A Good Day to Die (Dennis Milne, #2) by Simon Kernick.
Feb 24, 2015 Lynn rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Gritty and incredibly violent, this is no story for wimps. Follows the format of a police procedural, but we know from the very beginning that the detective moonlights as a hit there are more plot layers than usual.
May 16, 2015 Jovdb rated it liked it
My second book by Simon Kernick. I wasn't particularly impressed with Relentless but was persuaded by the reviews of his other books to give him a second chance.

This book, his first, was a fast paced, interesting novel about a policeman, who became so disenchanted with the justice systems ability to adequately punish criminals, that he took it upon himself to punish them.

It paints a grim picture of a London over run by criminals and a police force so overworked, underpaid, understaffed that they
Sep 20, 2014 Lynn rated it liked it
Shelves: thriller
The Business of Dying opens with a triple homicide. The killer? A cop who sidelines as a contract killer. In other novels, this would be the amoral lowlife using his badge to indulge in debauchery. Detective Sergeant Dennis Milne kills to invoke his own sense of justice. This time, he's made a mistake. As Milne works on his caseload, including an investigation into the murder of a young prostitute, niggling doubts start to plague him. Was he being used by his shady employer? Soon the hunter beco ...more
Richard White
Jan 24, 2016 Richard White rated it it was amazing
Shelves: read-in-2016
Like Lawrence Block's assassin Keller, you will just love cheering for Dennis Milne. Great new series. Can't wait to read the second installment. Great pace superb writing.
Christopher Richardson
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Πάνος Τουρλής
Χλιαρούτσικο και φλύαρο. Έχει μια σωστή δόση αγωνίας κι ένα ωραίο στόρυ με ανατροπές που πλακώνουν όλες μαζί στο τέλος. Θα μπορούσε να παραλείψει πολλές καθημερινές ενασχολήσεις του πρωταγωνιστή (τι αιτήσεις ρουτίνας συμπληρώνει, τι πίνει, τι βλέπει, πού πάει), να είναι πιο δεμένο ώστε όντως οι ανατροπές να είναι συναρπαστικές. Έτσι είναι σαν να σε ανταμοίβει που έκανες τον κόπο να φτάσεις στο τέλος. Κι εδώ έχουμε έρωτα μπάτσου με ύποπτο στην πλεκτάνη, αμάν πια.

Στα ελληνικά από τις εκδόσεις Bell
Jul 20, 2014 Jim rated it liked it
I was looking for another UK crime writer to get into, and I thought at least there will be no poncing about in stately homes with this one. It's kind of a superior Mark Billingham, has an interesting proposition (cop also hired assassin), but it doesn't keep the attention all the way through, and gets into some particularly tiring scenes of "who stood where when the shooting started". Nevertheless I've scooped up another few of Simon Kernick's, they'll be great for hospital reading if I break a ...more
Sep 05, 2015 Tanja rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-2013, review
>>Diese Rezension und viele mehr findet ihr auch hier:

Lange vergangen ist die Zeit, in der Dennis Milne glaubte, als Polizist wirklich etwas gegen das organisierte Verbrechen in London bewirken zu können. Und da er dem Ungeheuer nicht den Kopf abschlagen kann, hat er sich vor Jahren einfach dazu entschlossen, sich mit ihm einzulassen. Heißt: er erledigt bisweilen den einen oder anderen schmutzigen Job für Raymond, den hiesigen Gangsterboss.
Mar 18, 2015 George rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: crime-mystery
Αυτό είναι το πρώτο βιβλίο που έγραψε ο Σάιμον Κέρνικ, το 2002, και το πρώτο της σειράς με ήρωα τον αρχιφύλακα Ντένις Μιλν. Είναι και το πρώτο βιβλίο του Κέρνικ που διαβάζω.

Η ιστορία έχεις ως εξής: Μια συνηθισμένη κρύα νύχτα του Οκτώβρη, ο αρχιφύλακας Μιλν βρίσκεται στο πάρκινγκ ενός ξενοδοχείου, όπου περίμενε τρεις άντρες. Σκοπός του ήταν να σκοτώσει αυτούς τους άντρες, οι οποίοι, σύμφωνα με αυτόν που του έδωσε την εντολή και τα λεφτά για να κάνει αυτή τη δουλειά, ήταν έμποροι ναρκωτικών.

Ο Μι
Lukasz Pruski
Aug 20, 2012 Lukasz Pruski rated it really liked it
This novel seems to begin as a police procedural, but it ends, basically, as a thriller. It is an excellent read even though it gradually declines from a totally delightful, bizarre (and deeply amoral) first third of the book to the tired Ludlum-style idiocy of non-stop action in its last third. Lots of revenge-style action too, for the revenge-loving reader. This is a very brutal book and it includes some gory passages, which I do not mind because they serve the purpose of emphasizing the under ...more
Jan 10, 2010 Johnny rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Other than a few missteps, THE BUSINESS OF DYING plays to the greatest strengths of what a crime novel can be. By creating unique moral dilemmas and character lost in an ethical limbo, Kernick is able to explore some very dark and interesting themes.

It is only when the book turns conventional and he relies on a more mainstream approach that he lost me a little. The plotting and structure begin to rely on convenience and the story becomes predictable toward the end (although no less violent).

Joe Stamber
Mar 18, 2013 Joe Stamber rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: kindle, read-2013
I've only read one other of Kernick's books so far and found it to be an entertaining if unremarkable thriller. The Business of Dying sounded intriguing and had the potential to offer something more. The idea of a troubled, deeply flawed cop who wants to do the right thing but circumstances keep choosing other paths for him appealed to me and I wasn't disappointed.

Dennis Milne is a fascinating protagonist and is ably supported by the rest of the cast as he stumbles from one disaster to another.
Myles Anderson
Apr 11, 2012 Myles Anderson rated it liked it
Crime fiction is not my genre of choice but I do like to consider myself an open minded chap, and as a well-earned break after reading Bleak House I was passed this book.

As a first novel I found the plot to be well delivered, and the opening set piece definitely sets you up to need to finish the story.
I found the characters to fit in rather too well to my preconceptions of the types of characters one finds in crime fiction. Whilst the moralistic stand point of our crime-fighting-turned-criminal
Blood Rose Books
Jan 25, 2012 Blood Rose Books rated it really liked it
In his first novel Simon Kernick explores what happens when a police officer is also a part time hit man.

DI Dennis Milne is a police officer (copper) who has seen too much and has realized that the system does not work in their favour. However, this does not mean that Dennis is above turning things back in their way. Dennis has crossed the line but not one that hinders his own morality, he has become a hit-man and he newest assignment is to kill 3 men, 3 drug dealers. But things go wrong and his
Apr 01, 2012 Ceri rated it really liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jan 11, 2010 Emma rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: crime-thriller
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
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Simon Kernick (born 1966 in Slough, Berkshire) is a British thriller/crime writer now living in Oxfordshire with his wife and two daughters. He attended Gillotts School, a comprehensive in Henley-on-Thames, Oxfordshire. Whilst he was a student his jobs included fruitpicker and Christmas-tree uprooter. He graduated from Brighton Polytechnic in 1991 with a degree in humanities. Kernick had a passion ...more
More about Simon Kernick...

Other Books in the Series

Dennis Milne (3 books)
  • A Good Day to Die (Dennis Milne, #2)
  • The Payback (Dennis Milne, #3)

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“Contrary to popular belief, most detectives couldn't detect a heartbeat on a speed addict, but you never know when you might be up against the next Ellery Queen.” 8 likes
“Dennis, please. I don't know what-"
"Shut the fuck up, and stop playing me for an idiot. And secondly, and more importantly, I've unearthed some disturbing information about you which I want to discuss in more detail before I fill you with holes.”
More quotes…