In his first novel Simon Kernick explores what happens when a police officer is also a part time hit man.
DS 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 target are not who they were supposed to be, and now Dennis has become the hunted, not only by the police but by whoever set him up. On top of everything in his secret life spinning out of control his real life work as a police officer is getting strained, but a when a young girl is murdered Dennis will stop at nothing to make sure that justice is served.
I enjoyed this book, it was a little it dark and very gritty and this writing style suited the plot line that Kernick wanted to achieve in this book. It was an interesting mix of the main character struggling within the politics of a police department, wanting to do what is right for the greater good, but at the same time questioning his own methods.
I liked Dennis as a main character. I enjoyed that he was part "copper" part hit-man who has his own sense of morality. I think ofter police officers wish that they could take justice into their own hands when they witness people get away with horrendous crimes. I think that Dennis is expressed in a real way if a police officer decided to cross that line. Dennis is not your typical main character in this type of book, he smokes, drinks too much and really is not in that great of shape, however, Dennis has two things going for him, him mind and he is a great shot. It is Dennis that makes this book. He is what everything within the book revolves around, therefore, he cannot be a weak character. If you have a problem with Dennis then you will not enjoy this book. I liked Dennis, flaws and all, he may not be the most likeable character because of some of the choices he makes, but he is a very real character.
What I really enjoyed in this book is that it was not dead body after dead body. Yes there are some murders/deaths within the book, but the books is not reliant on them in order to tell the story. This is not your hollywood type story, where there are epic gun battles, explosions every scene but this is not to say that it is lacking entertainment, Kernick just uses other ways (focusing on finding the murder, Dennis attempting to stay ahead of the game) to keep the reader entertained and wanting to read more. This also not to say that there is no action within the book, just not scene after scene where the main character achieves the impossible, as I have stated a few times now, very real type writing.
I really enjoyed this book by Kernick and I am looking forward to reading more. If you are looking for something dark, gritty and with a flawed character then this one is for you. I think this novel is well written and has an interesting plot line that is executed in a different way than other novel that fall into the mystery-thriller genre. I'll be looking for Kernick next time I head to the book store.
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