Book Review | The Last Policeman by Ben H Winters

Title: The Last Policeman

Author: Ben H Winters

Publisher: Quirk Books

Release Date: 15th August 2013

Source: Own 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. 

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 us do, what would we really do, if our days were numbered?
The world is ending, a date has been set, a place has been chosen, the method has been picked.  With all these things in place would you live a normal life in the remaining months, would you complete your bucket list, would you go crazy or would you chose a darker route.

Detective Hank Palace is relatively new to the police force and even newer to his new title.  His world and everyone else’s is coming to an end, the cause, a massive asteroid that will slam in to the planet causing unimaginable chaos and destruction to life as we know it.  Needless to say people go crazy but not everyone has chosen to abandon hope just yet, some people are carrying on and those people need reassurance that the police are out there still solving crimes and dealing with the bad guys.

Palace is called out to a body at a fast food restaurant, another suicide, an open and shut case but he doesn’t think so, something about this case doesn’t add and its his job to investigate.  A stumbling block is that the rest of the his colleagues don’t really care and being a newbie he should really follow their lead but Palace is a man of action and he sets out to investigate despite protestations from his colleagues that is an open and shut case.

Of course whilst he investigates, the world still turns and the asteroid gets ever closer....

This was not a cheery read, you surmise from the synopsis that even though this is a three book series,  there is unlikely to be a happy ending but it was unique to read a story like this where the world is doomed but some people are just going on as normal.  It’s unsettling to say the least and it makes compelling reading.  I really enjoyed it and it was refreshing to read a book in this kind of setting without zombies, plagues or aliens!




24 comments

  1. One would even wonder what's the point of committing a murder when everybody's going to die ? The plot is interesting and yes, no zombies and no plagues is a bonus ! Adding it to my TBR, thanks :)

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    1. It was refreshing to read an end of the world book with no zombies!

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  2. What an intriguing premise! It must be especially hard to be in law enforcement when no one cares anymore.

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  3. I haven't really read anything apocalypse since the pandemic hit. I wasn't in the mood for that kind of thing with Covid playing out. I do love any kind of apocalypse setting from natural disasters to plagues!

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    1. I’m gradually reading more apocalyptic just not too many involving plagues!

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  4. This has been on my TBR forever, and one of these days I'd love to start this series. Glad you loved it!

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  5. I had always heard good things about this book, but never really understood what it was about. Thank you for your review. I might read it now.

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    1. It’s a great premise especially as you know it’s not going to have a happy end.

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  6. I read this one a few years ago and liked it, but I never read any of the others in the series.

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    1. I’ve read the second and it was good, the third is lined up to be read soon!

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  7. I'm so happy you enjoyed this one! I read it when it first came out and was blown away. Really enjoyed the whole series so keep reading.

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  8. Oh, I'm a huge fan of apocalyptic novels and movies, especially. This sounds awesome!

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  9. I never went back to this series after the first book, even though I enjoyed it a lot. You've reminded me that I need to pick it up. Initially I thought it was a standalone but then when I realized there are two more books after it, it made me curious what was going to happen next.

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    1. I’m intrigued to see how it’s going to end,I know it won’t be good but I definitely want to see it out.

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  10. An interesting premise - but I'm not all that keen to read this one, given what's going on right now:). Thank you for a lovely review, Heather:)

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    1. Yep, covid has put a dampener on apocalyptic books a little for me.

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  11. This sounds totally different from anything I've read before but I'm really intrigued my the idea. And the cover is gorgeous!

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    1. The cover is something isn’t it, the other two books are just as good.

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  12. Wow, what a premise! It's pretty terrifying to think about - knowing the asteroid was coming, we can't do anything about it, and no one cares about murders being committed. Thanks for a great review!

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