My Review of The Last Policeman by Ben H. Winters @BenHWinters #TheLastPoliceman
You know there is something wrong by the first page of The Last Policeman when the author, Ben H. Winters, alludes to the fact that “late night cleaning of 24-hour fast food restaurant bathrooms” is not high on the list of jobs that are still being performed. The reason for the slack? Everyone on the planet has been told that life as they know it will change in approximately six months when an asteroid hits at a place to be determined. This makes Detective Hank Palace’s job even more difficult. From the first sentence the reader is thrown into the world of Palace, recently assigned to the detective squad having waived the required two years and six months as a uniformed officer.
Palace is not immune to what is happening around him. His feelings are evident when he is alone, as he flips off the asteroid and tells it to go fuck itself. But October 3 is the day of impact and this is March 20; Palace has a crime to solve.
Winters uses a first person point of view with a noir feel to it. He guides the reader through the numbing reality of impending doom while plodding through an investigation into what at first appears to be a suicide. Palace cannot stop investigating even though fellow officers think he’s chasing his tail, even when his sister has troubles of her own, or even after his life is threatened. Slowly he peels back the doubt and begins to uncover some shocking secrets.
Winters has a writing style that will put you in the middle of the action. He deals with both the uncertainty of life after impact and the fears and changes that occur, as well as Palace and the job he continues to do despite the doubt. What would you do with just six months until the end of the world? That is the question Winters is asking. I’m a positive person. I would believe in a miracle; that the asteroid will eventually pass by missing Earth, coming so close as to change our weather for six months or so, but without any lasting effects. I would continue doing what I do, like Detective Palace.
And what I will do is buy the next book in this installment, Countdown City. I encourage all you readers out there to do the same (well, except start with this one, The Last Policeman).