From Publishers Weekly
British author Kernick shows every sign of being a major talent in his debut novel, a gritty, noir police procedural. Seemingly a cold-blooded hit man, Dennis Milne turns out to be a London detective sergeant committed, after years of dealing with sordid crimes and mind-numbing cruelty, to pursuing justice as he defines it. Milne's personal code of ethics is compromised when he learns that his latest victims weren't the drug dealers whose deaths wouldn't burden his conscience but two customs agents and an accountant. His decision to spare the life of a potential eyewitness places him in jeopardy both from his colleagues on the force and from those who paid him for the killings. At the same time, Milne doggedly tries to identify a young hooker's murderer, and persists in rejecting the official theory of the case. Kernick does a masterful job of making Milne sympathetic, despite his callous brutalities, by combining a captivating first-person narrative with emotionally complex characterization. The portrayal of the harsh realism of the mean city streets is complemented by the revelations of the secret lives of the supporting characters with their masks of public respectability. Powerful prose, tight plotting and a clever fair-play puzzle add up to a remarkable first effort.
Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information, Inc.
Dennis Milne is a good cop with a skewed sense of morality. He's also a cold-blooded murderer who carries out contract killings for "businessman" Raymond Keen. Milne's latest legitimate case involves the slaying of teenage prostitute Miriam Fox. Miriam's pimp is soon arrested for her murder, but Milne isn't convinced of the pimp's guilt. His latest job for Raymond Keen is killing three drug dealers who've allegedly cheated Keen. But things go wrong when Milne's victims turn out to be innocent men. Worse still, a witness gives the cops a good description of Milne, who figures it's only a matter of time before he's arrested or Keen has him killed as a liability. What Milne doesn't know is that the contract killing and Fox's murder are linked in a way that will change his life completely. Kernick's debut is compelling, dark, and suspenseful. While there are a few places where his unusual plot fails to convince, Kernick clearly has a promising future. Emily MeltonCopyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved