Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Book Review: The Last Policeman by Ben H. Winters

The Last Policeman
Author: Ben H. Winters
Publication: Quirk Books (July 10, 2012)

Description: What’s the point in solving murders if we’re all going to die soon, anyway?

Detective Hank Palace has faced this question ever since asteroid 2011GV1 hovered into view. There’s no chance left. No hope. Just six precious months until impact.
The Last Policeman presents a fascinating portrait of a pre-apocalyptic United States. The economy spirals downward while crops rot in the fields. Churches and synagogues are packed. People all over the world are walking off the job—but not Hank Palace. He’s investigating a death by hanging in a city that sees a dozen suicides every week—except this one feels suspicious, and Palace is the only cop who cares.
The first in a trilogy, The Last Policeman offers a mystery set on the brink of an apocalypse. As Palace’s investigation plays out under the shadow of 2011GV1, we’re confronted by hard questions way beyond “whodunit.” What basis does civilization rest upon? What is life worth? What would any of us do, what would we really do, if our days were numbered?

My Thoughts: What would you do if you knew your days were numbered? If you were Henry Palace, you would keep doing your job. All Henry has wanted to do, since his mother was killed when he was twelve, was be a police officer. He has recently been promoted to detective after only one year and three months as a patrol officer. Many people from all walks of life are walking off their jobs to complete the items on their "bucket lists" before Maia, a huge asteroid, impacts somewhere on Earth on Oct. 5. And those who are still on their jobs are often suffering from depression and a complete lack of interest in the job. Suicide has become increasingly common.

When Henry is called to a suicide in a McDonald's restroom, he thinks something is wrong. He believes that insurance man Peter Zell was murdered and he is determined to investigate no matter what obstacles might be in his way. And the obstacles are many. There are false trails, red herrings, government plots and a variety of obstructive witnesses.

Henry is an admirable character. He is persistent. I do wonder how much his devotion to finding out the truth is his way of coping with the very uncertain future. It was also fascinating to watch the world around him fall apart as essential services fail and society disintegrates.

I recommend this one for dystopia fans and for mystery fans as well. It was a very compelling read.

Check out this trailer too:

Favorite Quote:
You tell a story like that, about your parents being killed, and people end up looking at you really closely, right in the eyes, advertising their empathy, when really what they're doing is trying to peer into your soul, see what kind of marks and stains have been left on there. So I haven't mentioned it to a new person in years - don't mention it as a rule - I am not a fan of people having an opinion about the whole thing - not a fan, generally, of people having opinions about me at all.
I received this book from a publicist at Quirk books in exchange for an honest review. You can buy a copy here.


  1. This novel sounds bleak but fascinating. Since I read In a Perfect World recently, I've been fascinated with the concept of pre-apocalyptic stories.

  2. THis sounds like a novel my hubby would love!


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