An Introduction to Simon Kernick
British writer Simon Kernick is a master of the thriller genre.
Fast-paced and gripping, his books are packed full of action and yet still maintain a sense of authenticity due to Simon’s extensive research process, where he talks both on and off record with contacts in the police and security services.
Simon is the author of fifteen novels and is known for recurring characters such as Tina Boyd, Mike Bolt and Dennis Milne.
We asked Simon’s publisher, Selina Walker from Arrow Books, to tell us a little about Simon’s work. Over to Selina:
“I discovered Simon Kernick when he wrote his first novel, The Business of Dying, which features a cop – Dennis Milne – who moonlights as an assassin. Basically, he kills the bad guys who are behind the crimes neither the police nor the law can get to. So he’s doing bad things for the right reasons, and as a reader you understand this. Only in the opening pages of the novel he’s been set up, and kills some innocent people, and the question is what should he do next. I remember reading the book and wondering whether Simon was a cop himself in that all the policing details sounded so authentic. I found out when I met him that although he’s not, some of his best friends were, and that this book was based on the stories they told him.
Dennis Milne (who quickly gained an almost cult-like status in the thriller world) was an ordinary guy caught up in extraordinary circumstances – and this is what makes Simon’s novels special. He developed the theme in Relentless, in which a man, playing in a suburban garden with his kids, is disturbed by a phone call. His best friend is being killed – and as he dies, he gives his torturers our hero’s address. Our guy has no idea who the killers are, or why they’ve killed his friend; all he does know is that they’re going to come for him next. It’s a gripping, terrifying read.
My personal favourite of all Simon’s thrillers though is Siege – which takes place during six hours of a terrifying siege in a central London hotel. It’s a nightmare situation: terrorists are taking hostages and planting booby-trap bombs, chaos and destruction reign, and all around us people who just happen to be in the hotel are facing the biggest challenge of their lives – just to stay alive. Siege also features another of Simon’s flawed characters, DS Tina Boyd, who mixes her own very special brand of heroism with a terrifying propensity to self-destruct.
All Simon’s novels are incredibly well plotted with lots of twists and turns, and generally take place within a day, often less. All of his books too feature people you believe in and care about, and who are on the very edge of their capabilities and endurance. He has been called the master of the race-against-time thriller, and not without reason. If you like your thrillers pacey, unputdownable, and full of short chapters with cliff-hanger endings, Simon Kernick is the writer for you.”