The Last Policeman: A Novel by Ben Winters

This is a book that has been in contention in my house since it has been stolen from me mid-read, see post here.  I finally had it returned to me and finished it in one sitting.

Excellent pre-apocalyptic, Sci-fi, thriller, mystery read.  There is so much good about this book, I almost don’t know where to start. I don’t like repeating the blurb but a brief overview is that the world is going to end.  There is a giant comet headed to earth and we now have  a landing date in about six months.  There are a variety of actions from people all over the world.  Some people go “bucket list”, which is they take off and try to do all those things they always meant to do. Others commit suicide.  One woman shaves her head so she doesn’t have to spend time doing her hair for the final six months.  In this setting, Detective Hank Palace continues to do his job, solve crime.

Detective Palace is whose eyes we observe the story through and being a detective his observations are keen and clear.  The characters are well drawn and realistic with a full range of human emotion amid this setting of soon-to-be mass destruction.  The author creates characters that as a reader I cared about.  I wanted to know what was going to happen to them.

There are some funny moments or black humor,  such as when Palace is convinced the latest body is murder made to look like another suicide and no one else really is:

I’ll tell you what,” says Dotseth genially.  “We’ll call it an attempted murder.”

“Sorry, sir?”

“It’s a suicide, but you’re attempting to make it a murder.  Have a great day, Detective.”

The plot is thrilling and drives you to keep going until you finish. There are moments of misdirection and false clues that Palace follows doggedly trying to solve the case,  Elements of a police procedural here, but one in which the “procedures” are all being turned on their head by the “end of the world”.  The mystery is well crafted and comes to a believable conclusion.  A great murder mystery even if you are not someone who would normally read this apocalyptic type fiction.

This book is first in a trilogy.  The second book is Countdown City and I am going to get that ASAP.  This really was that good.


Sundays in Bed: The Siren by Tiffany Reisz (minor spoiler/warning?)

This is a meme hosted by Midnight Book Girl to be found HERE

Yesterday, I received in the mail a book I had read about on someone else’s blog and thought it sounded interesting.  The book is The Siren by Tiffany Reisz.

A beautiful cover is what drew me in, I’ll admit that I’m that shallow :).  The book is erotica, but definitely better written and attempts more depth than most.  There is funnily enough not  an overabundance of actual penetrative sex, but there is scads of talking about sex and agonizing about sex, and reminiscing about sex.  There are the obligatory BDSM club scenes.  The main character, Nora, is a switch, so while she is Dominant and the aggressor with some characters, she is then the submissive with others.

Ironically, there is some discussion of the movement of BDSM away from being defined as a pathology towards being an acceptable “lifestyle” choice.  I say ironically because in Nora’s case you are left wondering if this would have been a choice.  I don’t say this as a spoiler but more as a warning for other readers who might be turned off, not interested, upset by, etc. the idea that Nora was “introduced” to the “lifestyle” by an authority figure while she was still a minor (under 16).  She and her Dom attempt to excuse this by saying that they did not have “penetrative” sex until she was 20.  Doesn’t really fly with me, but maybe that is because I am mother of teens and an authority figure to other people’s teens and know the responsibility to be above reproach with them.   And then there is another minor child sex incident, for which no excuse is offered, and in fact the sex is held up as “therapeutic”.  I had a real problem with that.  Finally, there is a third character with the appearance of a teen who is the object of 33 year old Nora’s love/lust based on his looks, he is an adult but looks like a teen.  Problematic for me.

In all, the book is better written than many of the erotica offerings out there, but I did not find it erotic, if that makes any sense.  It seems like all the pseudo-psycho babble was a turn-off for me and many of the main characters came across as severely damaged, which is exactly the image BDSM practitioners are trying to shed.