Friday, November 21, 2008

Book: The Business of Dying, by Simon Kernick (2002)

Tell me that a writer has been influenced by Lawrence Block and I’ll read them. It’s taken me some time to get to Simon Kernick, but I’m glad I did.

The protagonist of The Business of Dying is Dennis Milne, a police inspector who occasionally moonlights as a hired killer. After gunning down three people in a hotel carpark who may not be the scumbags his boss made them out to be, Milne is assigned to investigate the murder of a young prostitute. As the noose closes around his neck he desperately hunts the girl’s killer, hoping to save another life and in some small way redeem his own.

Milne isn’t a Jekyll-and-Hyde character, which is Kernick’s greatest accomplishment; there’s scarcely any daylight between assassin and detective. The Block influence is there in the deceptively simple prose, the darkness, the haunting ending. Milne also appears in 2005’s A Good Day to Die. I’ve got that and some other Kernick books to read.

Film: Lost Movies

Via GreenCine comes this piece by director Mike Hodges on making films that disappear without a trace. I’m a fan of Hodges’ The Terminal Man, the most underrated Michael Crichton adaptation. I wrote about Pulp here.