Third degree: Simon Kernick

Pic: © Johnny Ring

CrimeTimePreview apprehended one of Britain’s most exciting thriller writers to grill him about his viewing proclivities. He arrived on the crime scene with his acclaimed novel The Business of Dying, a terrific story about a corrupt cop who moonlights as a hitman. His authentic thrillers are based on research with members of Special Branch, the Anti-Terrorist Branch and the Organised Crime Agency. He has just finished writing his latest book, which will be called Siege.

Your favourite British crime series or thriller on TV?

Miss Marple.

Favourite US crime series or thriller on TV?

24, Damages, Harpers Island, The Walking Dead, Game of Thrones, The Shield.

Top TV cop?

I’ve always been a sucker for John Thaw as Morse.

Which unfilmed book/character should be made into a TV drama?

The Matt Scudder series by Lawrence Block. Some of the best PI books around.

If one of your novels were filmed, who would you cast to be the hero?

God knows. I always thought of Clive Owen as a good Dennis Milne, but unless they film it in the next few years, it’s going to be too late, as Dennis was 37 in The Business of Dying.

What do you watch with a guilty conscience (or what’s your guilty pleasure)?

Terra Nova, the new Steven Spielberg dinosaur series. I shouldn’t do, but I love it.

Least favourite cop show/thriller?

There’s more than one, but I’m not prepared to name any, just in case someone I know’s contributing to them.

Do you prefer The Wire or The Sopranos?

I like them both, but if push came to shove, I’d go with The Sopranos. It’s more flamboyant, and more outright entertainment.

Marple/Poirot or Sherlock Holmes?


Wallander – BBC or the Swedish version?

Sad to say, I haven’t watched either of them.

US or British television crime dramas?

US, for the most part.

Your favourite crime/thriller writers?

There are a lot. In no particular order: Agatha Christie, Dennis Lehane, Lawrence Block, Robert Crais, Peter James, Harlan Coben, Lee Child.

Best new crime author to look out for?

Stuart Neville.

Favourite non-crime/thriller author?

JRR Tolkien. The Lord of the Rings is the only 1000 page book I’ve read three times!

Favourite crime movie or thriller?


You’ve been framed for murder. Which fictional detective/sleuth would you want to call up?

It’s going to have to be Poirot. He never lets the wool get pulled over his eyes, and he’s faced some pretty hard cases.

• Simon’s latest paperback is The Payback, the third of his Dennis Milne novels, about the maverick cop with murder on his CV. 

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  1. Simon’s my number one crime writer, and has been for some time. Not just in the UK either.

    Ps. Don’t worry, I’m not into stalking, just writing about it! 🙂

  2. Having met him this summer, I would also say not only is he a top writer but also a genuinely nice guy and good company.

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