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The Last Policeman by Ben Winters

The Last Policeman (edition 2012)

by Ben Winters

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5428018,376 (3.85)82
Title:The Last Policeman
Authors:Ben Winters
Info:Quirk Books
Tags:Fiction, Read in 2012

Work details

The Last Policeman by Ben H. Winters

  1. 20
    Countdown City by Ben H. Winters (sturlington)
    sturlington: Countdown City is the sequel to the Last Policeman

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Story of policeman in NH trying to solve the mystery of people being killed in this small town. All this is being done to the backdrop of the high probability that the earth is going to be hit by an asteroid and they may die. Cell phone towers are down, people don't work. It is a real depressing backdrop. The writing was just as depressing to me, lacking depth and anything worth remembering. It was winter-in-NH depressing. I would not bother with the second and third of the trilogy. It could have been good, but it was so blah and depressing. ( )
  LivelyLady | Apr 8, 2014 |
An asteroid is on a collision course with Earth. The impact will annihilate most of the world’s population and those that do not die immediately will suffer immensely through resulting earthquakes and ash clouds. Folks are quitting their jobs, running off to do things they've always wanted to accomplish before the end of the world. Others are committing suicide, unable to bear the enormity of the situation, wanting to check out before the big day.

Then there are people like Detective Hank Palace who will play out their remaining days as if everything is normal. Finding a man dead, hung by a belt, Hank believes it was a murder rather than suicide. Most of his colleagues think he’s crazy, that he’s wasting his time but Hank can’t let this one go. There’s evidence to suggest that it’s not just a suicide and Detective Palace intends to find out who’s responsible.

It took me awhile to figure out exactly what the hell was wrong with Hank Palace. When we’re brought into the story, the majority of people have mentally checked out following the confirmation that this giant hunk of space rock will smash into the Earth’s surface like a punch from Ivan Drago. If they haven’t run off to live their dreams, they’re just going through the motions until the date of impact. Why the hell was Hank so driven? Was he just trying to occupy his mind until the end of the world arrived?

Always wanting to be a detective, I guess an argument can be made that Hank was already living out his dream. Due to several job openings in the Concord Police Department, Hank was quickly promoted from officer to detective. I do find it admirable that in the face of certain doom, Hank maintained that the rules still matter, that murder should not go unpunished. The problem I had was that it took me a decent length of time to really get invested in the case - I was just so apathetic to the situation. I can’t blame the author though, he clearly paints a world where the majority of the population said “screw it” and left their responsibilities behind. I’d probably have the same mindset as those people so I suppose it’s not that shocking.

If anything, the concept is interesting enough that it’s driven me to seek out the next installment. I’m not entirely sure where things are going to go from here but with the way events unfold near the book's final pages, it’ll sure be worth exploring further.

Cross Posted @ Every Read Thing ( )
  branimal | Apr 1, 2014 |
The world is going to end in 6 months. This is a done deal. An asteroid is on its way and the impact is going to destroy civilization as we know it. In fact, it's already happening. People are killing themselves so that they don't have to face the inevitable destruction of the planet. In Concord, the suicide preference is death by hanging. However, Detective Palace suspects that this newest death is in fact a murder and he's tasked with gathering the evidence to back up his claim while everyone else is just coasting by (or taking off to check things off of their Bucket List). The laws have changed, society is one step away from true chaos, an asteroid is hurtling through space with earth in its sights, and Hank just wants to keep doing his job. ( )
  AliceaP | Apr 1, 2014 |
I really enjoyed this, and look forward to reading the others. ( )
  DarkDagon | Mar 16, 2014 |
Clever... ( )
  m2snick | Feb 19, 2014 |
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"Even for Voltaire, the supreme rationalist, a purely rational suicide was something prodigious and slightly grotesque, like a comet or a two-headed sheep." -- A. Alvarez, The Savage God: A Study of Suicide
"And there's a slow, slow train comin', up around the bend." -- Bob Dylan, "Slow Train"
To Andrew Winters, of the Concord Winters
First words
I'm staring at the insurance man and he's staring at me, two cold gray eyes behind old-fashioned tortoiseshell frames, and I'm having this awful and inspiring feeling, like holy moly this is real, and I don't know if I'm ready, I really don't.
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Book description
What’s the point in solving murders if we’re all going to die? Detective Hank Palace has asked this question ever since asteroid 2011L47J hovered into view. Several kilometers wide, it’s on a collision course with planet Earth, with just six precious months until impact.

The Last Policeman presents a fascinating portrait of a pre-apocalyptic United States. Industry is grinding to a halt. Most people have abandoned their jobs. But not Hank Palace. As our story opens, he’s investigating the latest suicide in a city that’s full of suicides—only this one feels wrong. This one feels like homicide. And Palace is the only one who cares. What’s the point in solving murders if we’re all going to die?

The Last Policeman offers a story we’ve never read before: A police procedural set on the brink of an apocalypse. What would any of us do, what would we really do, if our days were numbered?
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When the Earth is doomed by an imminent and unavoidable asteroid collision, New Hampshire homicide detective Hank Palace considers the worth of his job in a world destined to end in six months and investigates a suspicious suicide that nobody else cares about.… (more)

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