The Last Policeman

The Last Policeman

eBook - 2012
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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.
Publisher: Philadelphia : Quirk Books, [2012]
Copyright Date: ©2012
ISBN: 9781594745775
1594745773
Characteristics: 1 online resource

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s
sandraperkins
Sep 09, 2017

This book is incredibly depressing. The concept is interesting: How would you live your life if you knew a giant asteroid would hit earth in six months? Because the entire world knows this will happen, civilization is falling apart long before the asteroid hits. The protagonist of the book is a young police detective, still on the job, who is determined to solve a crime and bring the person responsible to justice. (Though everyone else in the book seems to think it hardly matters, as everyone is going to die anyway.)

I really did not care about any of the characters, and the hopelessness that people experienced facing the end of the world was really draining. Personally, our current times provide more than enough depressing news without looking for more in fiction. I am not going to read the rest of this trilogy and I am going to avoid apocalyptic fiction, at least until our real news cheers up (which does not look likely any time soon).

a
abcedmillered
Sep 06, 2017

Would you try to solve a murder if you knew the planet was going to be destroyed in a few short months?

I liked this not for the characters, but for the whole psychological aspect of how one would live one's life knowing that the Earth will most definitely be destroyed. Puts faith to the test! Fascinating way to shake up a straightforward mystery novel.

SCL_Justin Jul 28, 2017

It's fairly rare for me to read a straight-up mystery (and not some sort of science fiction noir type thing) but that’s exactly what Ben Winters’ The Last Policeman is. A man died in the bathroom of a McDonald’s. The newly-minted detective is the only person who doesn’t think it was a suicide. Investigation ensues.

The only complication is that in just over 6 months the world as we know it will end when Earth is hit by a huge asteroid.

So the book is a twisty little mystery involving insurance fraud and drugs and bad coffee in police briefing rooms, but also a look at why even do police-work when the world will soon be ending. Who really cares how one person ended up dead when six months from now everyone will be.

Now that little complication might, in your mind, vault the book into the science fiction category, but it really isn’t. The asteroid is affecting people because they’re all aware of their mortality, but it’s not causing tidal waves or changing the weather or making people flee to the Himalayas or shooting Bruce Willis off into space. It’s something that’s happening, just like war is something that happens in other stories.

I really liked the book even though it’s not my usual science fiction and in spite of the fact it’s the first in a trilogy. (SPOILER: The case is resolved and the book ends still many months before the asteroid hits, leaving room for the next books to remain pre-apocalyptic).

g
Ghettostone
Jan 24, 2017

Kansas City Public Library- former leader of "Best Sellers" Book Club, found this book cover and title interesting didn't think too much about it, but WOW, a mystery murder case while the world is ending and nobody is don't their job anymore except this dedicated police officer who unravels a conspiracy! This accidental joy created such a stir with the group, that we immediately request other Ben Winter titles. Another unanimous agreement from the diverse Best Sellers Book Club! We highly recommend this title! Enjoy!

h
htliang
Feb 16, 2016

This was a refreshing change from the usual murder mystery (or science fiction) novel. A huge asteroid is hurtling towards earth and will hit in about six months time. Civilized behavior is starting to unravel; the economy is also in disarray. Detective Hank Palace continues working in the adult crimes division as he tries to determine if a "hanger" was actually murdered. A "hanger" is a person who had committed suicide by hanging - a popular form of death in this particular town. Perhaps Palace is just putting his head in the sand by continuing to live life just as he did before the news of the asteroid collision, or maybe he is the only one handling the crisis in a positive way.
I am interested in reading the next two books in this series: Countdown City and World of Trouble. There is also talk of the novels becoming a television series. Ben Winters also wrote "Bedbugs".

n
Nachusa
Nov 07, 2015

One of the best detective novels I have read.

KateHillier Oct 01, 2015

This one that kept popping up for me and something that I always ended up putting up on the back burner. I am very, very pleased that I finally read the thing. At first glance it's a standard sounding police procedural mystery. There's a suicide that Detective Hank Palace is convinced is actually a murder and his superiors are not supportive of him at all. It's one man standing for truth and justice against the odds. Sounds very generic except for one big thing: in the world of this novel there is an asteroid that is for sure going to hit the Earth and kill everyone in six months. People are running off to do what they always wanted to do, society is basically crumbling in this knowledge, and so everyone doesn't bother investigating suicides anymore since everyone really does it.

Palace's commitment to truth seeking and justice is especially admirable and special here in a world where the unspoken question is "why bother when we're all going to be dead soon anyway?" Palace treats this fact as more of an inconvenience and not as any sort of excuse not to do his job. A job that is in fact what he has always wanted to do.

It's a gripping novel and I am thrilled to see that it is a trilogy. Sign me up for the next two please!

m
mawall
Aug 31, 2015

This was a slow read. Interesting concept but writing style was hard to follow. I plan on reading the two other books.

j
jkating
Aug 03, 2015

Much better than I expected. The story is engrossing and well-written.

l
loudem
Mar 17, 2015

This book isn't going anywhere but for the end which is a bit muddled. The comet intrigue isn't any part of the story either. Kind of a very unsteady balance between boring, very boring and not very exiting.

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mrjmoskau
Aug 12, 2014

mrjmoskau thinks this title is suitable for 16 years and over

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