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.


8 thoughts on “The Last Policeman: A Novel by Ben Winters

  1. Hi Betti,

    Whilst this probably isn’t a book for me, it did set me to wondering just what I would do if the end of the World was coming, although I would have to be 100% certain that it was going to happen first! … Just thinking about all those lovely books on my TBR shelves, that I am never going to get to read now, is enough to cause palpitations … I would need to give some serious thought about how I would spend my last few months on Earth

    Would the police even begin to be able to hold onto law and order in those last few months, do you think?

    This sounds like a series that you are really going to enjoy.


    • fanficfan44 says:

      It really is well done. In the series, there is an exact date for the end, although there are government conspiracy theorists who are running saying something else is happening. Detective Palace notes: “People in the main are simply muddling along. Go to work, sit at your desk, hope the company is still around come Monday…Sure some people have chosen to kill themselves, and some people have chosen to go Bucket List, some people are scrambling for drugs…So, yeah, there are differences in behavior, but they are on the margins. the main difference is more atmospheric, harder to define.” The setting is really fully developed and seems like what you would see happening in those circumstances. Thanks for commenting.

  2. Book Blather says:

    Lol, glad you got to finish this one – and that you loved it!

  3. […] the library that Countdown City, book 2 in The Last Policeman trilogy.  This book picks up where The Last Policeman left off, the world is still ending, Detective Hank Palace has been “let go” from the […]

  4. […] Book 3 in The Last Policeman series by Ben H. Winters […]

  5. […] a long time ago I saw The Angry Grey Cat had reviewed The Last Policeman, apocalyptic literature complete with a mystery and a dedicated […]

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