The Last Policeman by Ben H. Winters

The Last Policeman by Ben H. WintersThe Last Policeman (Last Policeman #1) by Ben H. Winters
Published: Quirk Books (2012), Paperback, 316pg
Source: Library
Genres: Fiction, Mystery, Sci-fi

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. (from Goodreads)

The Last Policeman caught my eye because it’s not JUST an apocalyptic novel. It’s also a mystery! The mix of scifi DOOM and good old-fashioned police procedural is excellent, and I can’t help but wish that there were more books like The Last Policeman.

Having the mystery in there kept me from panicking about the impending destruction of all that humankind has created over the last several thousand years; it also brought up some interesting questions in the story itself. When everyone’s going to die in a few months anyway, what’s the point of investigating a murder? (What’s the point of doing ANYTHING? Which is why society’s tanked hard, so much so it’s basically a dystopia only without the hardcore totalitarian angle that shows up in most other dystopian books.)

The best part about the book is actually Hank, because he DOES care about solving the murder and he wants to keep doing his job the best he can in the time he has left. Admirable, right? Right! As a bonus, he isn’t gross about women and he has morals and good intentions and whatnot! Yay, Hank!

Even though it’s the end of the world, it’s not really focused on death-destruction-mayhem. All that stuff is there, of course, but the focus is more on Hank and the mystery and the ATMOSPHERE of impending doom. It had all the great elements of an apocalypse (doom, destruction, despair) without giving up hope entirely, and I REALLY liked that.

If you like apocalyptic novels but want different from most of the others floating around right now, definitely check out The Last Policeman.

Read: June 29, 2013

4 thoughts on “The Last Policeman by Ben H. Winters”

    1. I was SO HAPPY that neither he nor the narrative was gross about women. I wish there were MORE women in the story, but at least I don’t have to worry about any of them being objectified. Huzzah!

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