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The Last Policeman: A Novel by Ben Winters

The Last Policeman: A Novel (edition 2012)

by Ben Winters

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1,0241258,286 (3.86)1 / 171
Title:The Last Policeman: A Novel
Authors:Ben Winters
Info:Quirk Books (2012), Edition: First Edition, Paperback, 288 pages
Collections:Your library
Tags:home, fiction, science-fiction, mystery, read, read20121214

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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A wonderful police procedural set against the backdrop of a coming apocalyptic event: A giant asteroid headed straight for Earth. The main character is Hank Palace, a former beat cop who was elevated to the position of detective after numerous vacancies opened up in the department as people fled to spend the last days of their lives doing something other than report to work.

Around the world, people are giving in to chaos, going about checking off their "bucket lists" and in some cases, committing suicide. Palace is called to the scene of one of the latter and determines that it might not actually be a suicide, but a homicide. Humorously enough, (and believable given the circumstances) he is the only one in the department who cares enough about his job to try and solve a murder. At every turn, he's told to leave the case be, but like a dog with a bone, he just won't let go.

Recommended to readers of mystery, crime and science fiction. ( )
  Steve_Coate | Apr 2, 2016 |
For me, this is a 4.5 starts. My only complain is that the story gets less appealing toward the end, perhaps getting ready for the next book in the series.

The narrative voice is outstanding and the pace is fast--my kind of book. ( )
  Gerardo.Delgadillo | Mar 29, 2016 |
Heard an interview with the author describing the book and was immediately hooked. The premise of this mystery- the first of a trilogy- is that a small town detective investigates an apparent suicide as a possible murder. The catch is that it takes place about 7 months before an asteroid is about to hit Earth ending all civilization and human life. Society is slowly breaking down and the protagonist is one of the few remaining that actually still cares about retaining some sense of justice or duty. I can't say I was disappointed...the novel provides enough pre-apocalyptic fun and noir-ish moral ambiguity to make it well worth reading. I finished it though with the longing that it could have been a bit, I don't know, bleaker. A tone more akin to McCarthy's The Road would have felt more appropriate. Though in the author's defense, it is told through a narrator that still cares and is fully connected to his sense of right and wrong. It wouldn't work to have that narrative voice be too nihilistic. Nonetheless, a fun intriguing read and I am looking forward to the two remaining in the trilogy. ( )
  Matthew.Ducmanas | Mar 18, 2016 |
3.5 stars. Neatly plotted, satisfactorily resolved, with a few threads left hanging for a sequel (which I'll read). But, while the pre-apocalyptic setting gives Winters a remarkable opportunity to explore the depths of the human psyche, I never felt he really took full advantage of that opportunity. The characters are forgettable, faceless, bland. We never learn, for example, exactly why Palace--unlike his peers--feels so driven to do his duty and solve the mystery; we never get to see what makes him tick. Hopefully the sequel(s) will spend more time on character development.

Also, I would have appreciated it if, for once, there'd been a positive portrayal of at least one religious character. ( )
  9inchsnails | Mar 7, 2016 |
AUTHOR Winters, Ben H.
TITLE: The Last Policeman
DATE READ: 02/14/2016
GENRE/PUB DATE/PUBLISHER/# OF PGS Crime Fiction/ 2012 / Quirk Books / 318 pgs
SERI ES/STAND-ALONE: #1 in trilogy
CHARACTERS Henry Palace / police detective
TIME/PLACE: 2011/Concord, NH
FIRST LINES 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.
COMMENTS: The world is about to end --everyone on earth is on alert for an asteroid that is on the path to destroy most of the planet. With doomsday looming… things have changed. There is an overall ennui, lack of energy, no growth w/ this impending gloom. No one cares … there are few jobs, technology is not advancing and almost non-existent in some areas. Many are seeking escape through opiates and other drugs and or the ultimate final escape. Suicides are so plentiful they are rarely questioned … Henry Palace is a young detective who still thinks life matters and when he finds the hanging body of Pete Zell, an insurance worker. His instincts lead him to think murder and he pursues the case w/o much help from his dept or elsewhere. Interesting premise. ( )
  pammykn | Feb 14, 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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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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