St. Martin's, Jun 2003, 24.95
In England Detective Sergeant Dennis Milne is a tough, dedicated yet sordid and depraved cop who moonlights as a hit man. He takes out the dregs of society for a fee paid by other scum. On his latest non-police assignment, he and his partner kill three nasties and easily escape the scene.
The brass assigns Milne to investigate the triple homicide in which he was the trigger. To his shock he quickly learns that two of the victims were customs employees and the third deceased was an accountant. Realizing he killed the good guys, an angry Milne decides he needs real answers from his clients who apparently double-crossed him. He also is involved in inquiries into the vile murder of a teenage girl. As his criminal employers demand he cool it, his law enforcement associates begin to investigate Milne. He, on the other hand, simply thirsts for revenge against those who set him up.
Milne is a complex protagonist who learns that a conscience is a pain in the butt, as he does not mind killing society's lowest residue, but not those he considers decent. The last hit bothers him badly and though he cannot clean the slate he can try to eliminate those who caused this atrocity. THE BUSINESS OF DYING pairs a prime hard boiled detective theme parallel with a police procedure subplot that when they connect the antihero star is caught in the crosshairs.
This report prepared by Harriet Klausner