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The Last Policeman by Ben H Winters - Review.

The Last Policeman - Ben H. Winters

Publication Date: Available Now from Quirk Books

 

Source: Purchased Copy

 

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.

 

First of all thank you to Kate  http://forwinternights.wordpress.com/ for finally making me read this one which I purchased AGES ago and has sat there on my Kindle gathering Kindle dust  - It was a magnificent read which I completed in pretty much one sitting. This is a trilogy and I must now  buy book 2 as soon as ye olde book budget allows, having recently been kindly granted a copy of book 3 via Netgalley. Kate tells me it just gets better...and if thats the case I want in.

 

So anyway, its the end of the world. In just a few months a huge asteroid is due to decimate the planet - no Bruce Willis available to save us, the majority of people on earth are doomed. As we meet Hank Palace he is still diligently doing his job, whilst around him people are trying to get their bucket lists achieved in record time - that or simply giving up and killing themselves.

 

So when one more apparent suicide victim turns up in the local McDonalds the majority of Hank's colleagues sniff and move on...Hank however has a bad feeling about this one and starts to investigate. At this point I am one happy reader - I love apocalyptic fiction and I love crime fiction - here is a wonderfully imaginative and clever mash up of the two which grabbed my attention immediately and only got better the further I got into it.

 

There are some interesting themes here - if you knew that not only you, but probably everyone you knew, was due to die in a fiery ball of flame on a set date in the future, what exactly would you bother with?

 

Ben Winters explores this theme quite gently with various asides in the plot - some people for example spend all their time high on whatever drugs they can get their hands on, and all over the world different people take a different viewpoint. In the centre of this maelstrom sits our hero - if indeed you would call him that, some might say he's slightly batty - I mean what does it REALLY matter if someone kills someone else when the end is nigh. And there is the central premise that runs throughout.

 

The story flowed along in a marvellous style, absolutely gripping, lots of twists and turns and Hank himself is a really well drawn character. There is an energy to the prose that keeps things moving along even in the quieter moments and the ending was excellent, setting us up nicely for whatever comes next. I'm really intrigued to read the rest and find out where the author is going with this - after all he has set his own limits on how far this can go. Possibly. Who knows?

 

Either way this was a tremendously fun read, definitely giving pause for thought about what is important in life, with some great characters, a gripping central mystery and comes highly recommended from me.

 

Happy Reading Folks!