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 corrupt.
The thing is the book doesn't then descend into so much postulating about the rights and wrongs - Milne has this figured out already, he's intelligent enough to realise this is a bad situation, but the importance of surviving compels him ever forward, and that's what makes the book exciting. Its not a moral lesson, its a story about survival in a fucked up world.
The book is then pushed into overdrive as Milne becomes embroiled in an investigation that he can't let go and slowly but surely the two intertwine - not in a coincidental slapdash way, but a very deliberate execution of a believable plot that drags you slowly in.
The final third of the book slips easily from twisted detective thriller to full on revenge action with a neat intelligent ending and the book makes no excuses for the actions of its central protagonist.
Some books maintain an even keel, some books dip in the middle and some books dip at the end. This is one of the few that gets better throughout until the biting crescendo....Continua