The Last Policeman & Countdown City by Ben Winters

The Last Policeman Countdown City Image Map

A deadly asteroid is bound for earth. There’s no hope left: People are abandoning their jobs, their responsibilities, fulfilling bucket lists, committing suicide. Hank Palace is the only policeman left who considers the possibility of murder when 99% of crime scenes are suicides; the only policemen left who cares enough to bother solving the case.

I can’t believe I almost passed on the opportunity to read and review these two books. I’m kind of picky about mysteries, and crime fiction is usually not my thing, but the pre-apocalyptic angle intrigued me. I’m glad I took a chance, because I raced through these two books, reading them back-to-back.

There are 6 months until impact in The Last Policeman, and only 2½ months left in Countdown City. As you can imagine, society deteriorates more and more as time runs out. Both books are riveting. Ben Winters strikes the perfect balance between mystery, thriller, science, and bringing the reader into a society on the brink of devastation. The tone is never too heavy, and certainly not too light. The dialogue is fantastic. And our protagonist? Hank Palace is as kind and caring as he is fierce (when necessary).

Considering it is the first book in a trilogy, The Last Policeman had a surprisingly satisfying ending. It wrapped up in such a way that I could have easily put the series aside if I’d wanted, but that wasn’t going to happen! Immediately upon finishing, I dived into Countdown City, which was equally as exciting.

What’s the difference between what’s lawful and what’s right? When everything seems pointless, and there’s no profit or gain, what choices will people make? How will people choose to spend their last few months? There’s a short but especially powerful scene of readers holing themselves up in a library, devouring as many books as possible.

I couldn’t read quickly enough, either: the first two books in Ben Winters’s The Last Policeman trilogy are that good. I’m looking forward to reading the final installment, World of Trouble, due out this July.

five-stars