Maddy's Reviews > A Good Day To Die:

A Good Day To Die by Simon Kernick
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May 03, 10

bookshelves: 2006-reads
Read in October, 2006


How does a man who was a policeman charged with upholding law and order become a stone-cold killer, someone he would have doggedly pursued and put away forever in the time when he was on the right side of the law? In Dennis Milne's case, his lawlessness arises out of a horrible mistake he made where he killed three innocent people. To this day, he is haunted by his actions. After that, he could no longer wear the badge proudly; he moved from London to the Philippines and is operating as a contract killer under an assumed name, "Mick Kane".

Milne isn't really fond of killing but generally can rationalize his actions because of the deviant behavior of his targets—pedophiles, psychopaths and the like. Most of his assignments come through his partner, Tomboy Darke, who answers to a solicitor in England named Les Pope. It is Tomboy who lets Dennis know that his one-time partner, a straight arrow named Asif Malik, has been gunned down in a London restaurant. Milne feels a strong need to return to the UK to avenge Malik's death. He's had a few rounds of plastic surgery, so he's not likely to be apprehended as he enters the country.

The premise of the book, Milne avenging Malik's death, was rather flimsy to me, in that he hadn't even seen Malik in over 3 years. Why would he give up a fairly nice life in order to seek justice? The way that Kernick described the Philippines made it sound like paradise. Leaving didn't seem plausible. Be that as it may, with the assistance of a female journalist, Dennis stirs up a hornet's nest in London. In addition to the Malik situation, there are several other related lines of inquiry to pursue. Upon Milne's return to London, the action picks up and the plot twists and turns, with several surprises along the way. Unfortunately, the ending of the book was over-the-top.

A GOOD DAY TO DIE is the fourth book in the Milne series. There are quite a few threads which tie back to the earlier books. The various connections in the book between characters and events were confusing and somewhat contrived.

Nonetheless, Dennis Milne is a complex and interesting character, an anti-hero who does wrong for the right reasons. Milne only kills people who deserve it. As he says: "But there are times when you need to take a shortcut to justice. Because the alternative—letting the guilty get away with crimes too sickening to contemplate—simply doesn't bear thinking about."

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