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The Last Policeman (Paperback)
If you knew the world was going to end, absolutely knew it, what would you do?
Ben Winters' newly minted detective, Henry Palace, knows. He'd go to work. That's the basic idea in The Last Policeman. An asteroid is going to hit Earth. It was discovered and dismissed, but then scientists discovered that the trajectory was misprojected. In October, there was a 50/50 chance it would hit us, by January it's a certainty, and now, in March, they're pretty sure where on Earth it will hit, although nobody's saying. And this isn't an ordinary asteroid. It's huge. A dinosaur-killer. The end of the world as we know it.
But Henry doesn't let that slow him down. He's always wanted to be a policeman, and he's got all the rules and regulations memorized. Because of the unusual circumstances, he's been promoted to detective early (the others have taken “early retirement” to live out their last months as best they can), and he's determined to excel at his beloved job. So when he discovers the body of Peter Zell, seemingly a suicide, Henry investigates further, because he believes Zell's death is suspicious. Told on all sides to let it go, Henry can't. He is, after all, a policeman.
The Last Policeman is the 1st of a pre-apocalyptic trilogy: the 2nd book will take place when the planet has just 3 months left; the 3rd will take place with just days remaining, and I have to admit I was curious about how Winters would handle a world spiraling toward destruction. Brilliantly, is the answer. He touches on all the expected responses, and is quite matter-of-fact about the various reactions, from rioting to religious fanaticism, from relief to a fatalistic "whaddya gonna do about it?" attitude.
And through it all is Henry, who's exclamation of choice is "Holy moly!", who is at times naive and ruthless, who is determined that the imminent end of the world will not stop justice from prevailing. I can't wait to see what happens in the few remaining months left to this strange and wonderful world that Ben Winters has crafted. I suspect it's going to spark more than one late night conversation, and Henry Palace is, I think, going to be the epitome of the policeman's policeman— Fran
July 2012 Indie Next List
“The cliched plot of the end of the world gets a new look in The Last Policeman. With an asteroid on its way to Earth, normal life has already shut down. Faced with certain doom, people decide working is a fool's game and head off to fulfill their 'bucket lists,' except for a very few, including Detective Hank Palace. His only desire is to be a policeman, so he can't help trying to solve crimes even though it's a thankless job. Modern technology is useless with no workers to keep it going, so Hank uses old fashioned footwork and reasoned thinking to find a murderer. If certain doom ever becomes reality, I would include this series in my stack of books to read before the end!”
— Ann Carlson, Harborwalk Books, Georgetown, SC
" The] weird, beautiful, unapologetically apocalyptic Last Policeman trilogy is one of my favorite mystery series."--John Green, author of The Fault in Our Stars and Paper Towns
Winner of the 2013 Edgar(R) Award Winner for Best Paperback Original
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?
About the Author
New York Times best-selling author Ben H. Winters won an Edgar Award for his debut mystery The Last Policeman. His YA novel The Secret Life of Ms. Finkleman was also nominated for an Edgar Award. He lives in Indianapolis with his wife and three children.