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The Last Policeman by Ben Winters

The Last Policeman (edition 2012)

by Ben Winters

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1,1501317,093 (3.85)1 / 211
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. 30
    Countdown City by Ben H. Winters (sturlington)
    sturlington: Countdown City is the sequel to the Last Policeman
  2. 00
    We all looked up by Tommy Wallach (meggyweg)
  3. 00
    The Fractal Murders by Mark Cohen (JanesList)
    JanesList: I can't explain quite why, but these two detectives remind me of each other.

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Showing 1-5 of 133 (next | show all)
A great who done it, in an interesting setting. A life-ending asteroid is plunging toward Earth, but his detective stays on the case of a suicide that doesn't seem right to him. ( )
  dougcornelius | Jan 27, 2017 |
This book would be a police procedural, but since the world is about to end when an asteroid collides with Earth in six months, newly elevated police detective Henry Palace is essentially operating as a private detective. Henry suspects that the assumed suicide of an insurance actuary was a murder. However, given the state of the world no one but Henry is feeling really inspired to investigate crimes. Henry's sister also enlists his aid in tracking down her missing husband. What you have is a crime story with something really interesting going on in the background. The author used the same formula in "Underground Airlines", which was one of my favorite books this year, so the formula seems to be working for him so far.

This is the first book of a trilogy and accordingly there are lots of loose ends at the conclusion of this book. However the murder mystery does appear to be solved. I usually find that authors stretch the story too thin when they write trilogies and that the second books, in particular, tend to be placeholders, but I'm hoping for the best with this one. This was a very entertaining book and a quick read and I will definitely read the next book. ( )
  fhudnell | Dec 11, 2016 |
If there was an asteroid heading for Earth, and you knew it was going to cause mass extinctions and probably kill you, how would you spend the last months of your life? Would you carry on with your duties? Are there some things still worth fighting for, even though death for almost everyone is close at hand?


The stock market have collapsed.
World trade has slowed. Who wants to pump oil when they only have a few more days to live?
People tend to do what they want, money is not so much of a motivation.
Murder, suicide and sexual crimes are all up, so is police brutality.

This book forces you to think about whether there are some abstract concepts that matter. In this situation, there won't be many left that will know if you stood up for principles or how you died. If no one will know, and you'll be dead, does justice really matter? It's an angle I'd never thought of before I read the book. Ben Winters does a brilliant job with this his story. There’s the usual chasing down blind alleys. What did it for me was the fact that there was a larger plot, about humanity. Winters is skilled in doling out the bits and pieces without belaboring the point that there's an asteroid on its way. Maia is always there, but in the unspoken background. So I suppose, if Winters were the type to hit a reader over the head with things, this could have been an even more depressing book than it was.

For me the book felt depressing and claustrophobic, but to describe the book in just two word really sells it short. This was a profoundly affecting read. ( )
  antao | Dec 10, 2016 |
The coming asteroid end-of-the-world transforms a police procedural into something rather wonderful and poignant. ( )
  jjaylynny | Nov 12, 2016 |
I'm still not sure I know what happened, but here's the jist of it. Hank Palace is a policeman, and an asteroid is going to crash into Planet Earth somewhere, sometime soon. Everyone's going a little cookoo, what's the point of behaving if the apocalypse is any day now? But Hank finds a dead body that looks a little too much like a suicide, and he starts investigating. And he discovers that some people are being sent up to the moon, rescued by the U.S. government, and some people are being killed (by the Government? I couldn't tell) and it's being staged to look like a suicide by the insurance companies, so they don't have to pay out. But why? Because they're going just as broke as everybody else.

The thing is, I'm still not sure I care that I don't understand. This was a great thrill ride, and I enjoyed reading it. ( )
  minxcr1964 | Nov 8, 2016 |
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Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Winters, Ben H.primary authorall editionsconfirmed
Horner, DoogieDesignersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
McGurk, John J.Production managersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Pushnik, JonathanCover photosecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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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
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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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CRIME & MYSTERY. In THE LAST POLICEMAN, Edgar Award winner and New York Times bestselling author Ben H. Winters, offers readers something they've never seen before: A police procedural set on the brink of an apocalypse. What's the point in solving murders when we're going to die soon, anyway? Hank Palace, a homicide detective in Concord, New Hampshire, asks this question every day. Most people have stopped doing whatever it is they did before the asteroid 2011L47J hovered into view. Stopped selling real estate; stopped working at hospitals; stopped slinging hash or driving cabs or trading high-yield securities. A lot of folks spend their days on bended knee, praying to Jesus or Allah or whoever they think might save them. Others have gone the other way, roaming the streets, enjoying what pleasures they can before the grand finale. Government services are beginning to slip into disarray, crops are left to rot.… (more)

(summary from another edition)

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