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The Business of Dying

(Dennis Milne #1)

3.97  ·  Rating details ·  1,744 ratings  ·  138 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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3.97  · 
Rating details
 ·  1,744 ratings  ·  138 reviews

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Aug 16, 2015 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
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
Sean Peters
Nov 08, 2013 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
Nov 24, 2017 rated it really liked it
A different type of police story/mystery. Our hero/anti-hero is Officer Milne, a divorced, hard drinking, smoking cop. He's good at his job - interviewing miscreants and using logic to jump between different hypothesis. The bad side - he moonlights for extra money by dallying into some of the same things he arrests others for.

In his day job, he's on the trail of someone who has murdered a young lady. It turns out this could be part of a series of killings. While investigating, our guy also balan
Jan 24, 2016 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 02, 2015 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.
Jul 29, 2016 rated it really liked it
This was Simon Kernick's first book as an author and was a good honest attempt, which was very enjoyable to read. He is one of my favourite suspense authors but do know that other books he wrote later on build on this early promise. This was a very unique take on a story with a Detective a Sergeant (Dennis Milne) being a hit man! Read and enjoy.
Richard White
Oct 23, 2014 rated it it was amazing
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.
Vor vielen Jahren habe ich mir den 2. Band dieser Reihe gekauft und hatte dann festgestellt, dass es einen ersten Band dazu gibt. Diesen ersten Band habe ich dann damals auch schonmal begonnen zu lesen und bin nie so richtig reingekommen, obwohl ich zu 3/4 durchgekommen war. Auch dieses Mal, als ich es nochmals von vorne gelesen habe, bin ich gefühlt nie so richtig in die Geschichte abgetaucht. Der Protagonist ist mir ziemlich unsympathisch und es hat mich wenig interessiert was mit ihm ist. An ...more
Sharon Wickiewicz
Jun 02, 2017 rated it liked it
A steady 3 stars. Good holiday read as easy to pick up and remember where you left off. He made me think a bit of Strike, but more not as endearing. Would read the next one, if I found it on a shelf, but not champing at the literary bit to rush out and buy it.
Linn Ålund Thorgren
Dennis Milne är den mest korkade och inkonsekventa polisen någonsin. Så denna bok sög. 10/10 skulle inte rekommendera.
Mar 31, 2014 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
Reread 2017

There is an interesting story I have to tell about this book/series, before I come to the actual review. When I started reading Kernick's books, the first one I read was The Payback. When I came to know there was another part about Milne, I bought A Good Day to Die, finally realizing, that I had read the whole series in the wrong way.
So after I recently finished one of Kernick's later books, I decided to read all of them in order. Finally.

Dennis Milne is a cop, who's very frus
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
Toni Osborne
May 17, 2012 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
Jan 05, 2012 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

Jul 19, 2014 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
Reinaldo Lourenço
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
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.
Mar 31, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shelves: crime
Recommended by others & was glad I took their advice, DS Denis Milne is an engaging & likeable character despite his obviously flawed morales with his main profession. An easy read with enough twists to keep you going & was defo a pg turner, will be back for the next in the series.
Nov 17, 2013 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.
Dec 01, 2012 rated it it was amazing
The first book in the Dennis Milne series by Simon Kernick. This excellent debut novel is well worth reading as is Simon Kernick's other work.
Aug 06, 2014 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!
Stefan Schulz
Dec 20, 2017 rated it it was amazing
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 se
The hero of this novel is a complicated man. He's leading a double life. In his day job, he's a sergeant with the Met Police, investigating and arresting criminals. In his second, secret life, he's a professional hitman, paid to end the lives of others.

When we meet Dennis Milne, he's waiting for his next targets to arrive. He does the job and takes them out, but things are about to spiral out of control, changing Dennis' life irrevocably.

This book is well-written and Dennis Milne is a rounded
Terence M
Aug 09, 2017 rated it liked it
Audio Book - 10 hours 40 minutes - 2.5 stars rounded to 3.0 out of 5.0

An readable/listenable novel with an unlikely and not very likeable protagonist and barely credible storyline.
The plot involves a detective sergeant of police who has made a nice, hidden pot of cash by killing baddies who have not been brought to justice but should have been ... or at least that is his contention.
Narrated in the first person in an attractive British accent (to this Aussie anyway), the first third or so of th
Apr 07, 2019 rated it really liked it
I really enjoyed this book. There were times when I was getting really excited whilst looking at my kindle. My first Simon Kernick book and definitely not my last.

A few parts in the story were a bit weak. The ending, for me at least, wasn’t the best. And the ‘twist’ or part where everything ‘clicks’ was quite good but also a little random and rushed. I felt like I spent a few nights getting into the story and then on the last night is was over.

Anyway I’ve heard similar things from other reviewe
Jun 22, 2018 rated it liked it
Detective Milne narrates the story almost like he was telling a 1940s hard boiled detective novel. He's not a nice person, though he comforts his conscience by following his own moral code... until he gets duped into committing a crime that violates his code. While avoiding his own detection, he continues to investigate the murder of a young prostitute, sensing that the man arrested was not the perp.
The book itself has a number of typos and layout errors that were distracting. Shame on the publi
I seem to either love or loathe this authors work, this one falling more towards love as I quite liked it. It's a good thriller which sees the introduction of Dennis Milne. As I read the follow up to this first I did have a notion of how things were going to go but that didn't stop it being an enjoyable & gripping read which, in typical Kernick fashion, it moves at a fast pace. Certainly one of his better ones to my mind at least.
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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

Other books in the series

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