Advent 2: Book review- The Last Policeman by Ben Winters

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 usdo, what would we really do, if our days were numbered?

I’ve noticed with the books I’ve picked for my Advent Book Reviews are all books that I devoured in a few sittings, books that made me want to phone up the author and yell “WRITE ME MOAR!!1! MOAR STOREE NOW!”

(I don’t think I’ve ever phoned an author and yelled at them to write more, I’m not sure I’d get away with it)

Don’t worry, no spoilers in this review. Also, there’s a few really badly written reviews for this on Amazon. (Hell, there’s lots of badly written reviews on amazon) One of the reviewers said he threw it in the bin because it was in the first person present tense. (Bizarre. That’s how we experience life, life must really suck for him) Another said he didn’t enjoy it because it was a debut self published book. (It’s not, it’s Ben Winter’s ninth or so book and he’s published by Quirk books.)

The Last Policeman is a gloomy post-apocalyptic police procedural. Really gloomy. It’s not a world I’d want to live in but it’s fun to visit knowing when I close the book I can return to a world where we don’t face this kind of long march into darkness. The book does provoke introspection and wondering and you drop yourself into the world of the novel, tilt your chin up and wonder “what if…?”.

I’m really pleased this is a first in a trilogy of novels but I want part two now!

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