The Last Policeman
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The Last Policeman

3.76 (19,102 ratings by Goodreads)
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Description

In THE LAST POLICEMAN, Edgar Award winner and New York Times bestselling author Ben H. Winters, offers readers something they've never seen before: A police procedural set on the brink of an apocalypse. What's the point in solving murders when we're going to die soon, anyway? Hank Palace, a homicide detective in Concord, New Hampshire, asks this question every day. Most people have stopped doing whatever it is they did before the asteroid 2011L47J hovered into view. Stopped selling real estate; stopped working at hospitals; stopped slinging hash or driving cabs or trading high-yield securities. A lot of folks spend their days on bended knee, praying to Jesus or Allah or whoever they think might save them. Others have gone the other way, roaming the streets, enjoying what pleasures they can before the grand finale. Government services are beginning to slip into disarray, crops are left to rot. When it first appeared, 2011L47J was just a speck, somewhere beyond Jupiter's orbit. By mid-October it revealed itself to be seven kilometers in diameter, and on a crash course with the Earth.
Now it's March, and sometime in September, 2011L47J will slam into our planet and kill half the population immediately, and most of the rest in the miserable decades that follow. All of humanity now, every person in the world - we're like a bunch of little kids, in deep, deep trouble, just waiting till our dad gets home. So what do I do while I wait? I work. Today, Hank Palace is working the case of Peter Zell, an insurance man who has comitted suicide. To his fellow police officers, it's just one more death-by-hanging in a city that sees a dozen of suicides every week. But Palace senses something wrong. There's something odd about the crime scene. Something off. Palace becomes convinced that it's murder. And he's the only one who cares. What's the difference, Palace? We're all gonna die soon, anyway. As Palace digs deeper, we are drawn into his world. We meet his sister Nico and her screwup boyfriend, Derek, who are trying to beam S.O.S messages into outer space; we meet Erik Littlejohn, a spiritual advisor helping his clients through these difficult times.
Palace's investigation plays out under the long shadow of 2011L47J, forcing everyone in the book - and those reading it - to confront hard questions way beyond who-dunn-it. 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?
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Product details

  • Paperback | 288 pages
  • 136 x 204 x 24mm | 330g
  • Philadelphia, United States
  • English
  • 1594746745
  • 9781594746741
  • 67,186

Review quote

"A genre-defying blend of crime writing and science fiction." -Alexandra Alter, The New York Times

"Winters's apocalyptic detective story contains an earth-shattering element of science fiction that lifts it beyond a typical procedural."--New York Times Book Review

"The Last Policeman books offer an appealing hybrid of the best of science fiction and crime fiction."--The Washington Post "In his acclaimed Last Policeman trilogy, Masters showed off his mastery of edgy, sardonic wit -- there's nothing like an asteroid speeding toward Earth to bring out the black humor in people."--Newsday

"Sharp, funny, and deeply wise."--Slate.com

"Darkly intriguing."--Discover

"I'm in the middle of it and can't put the dang thing down."--USA Today's Pop Candy

"Ben Winters makes noir mystery even darker: his latest novel sets a despondent detective on a suspicious suicide case--while an asteroid hurtles toward earth."--Wired.com

"In his Last Policeman trilogy, for which he won both the Edgar Award and the Philip K. Dick Award, Winters took a standard science fiction trope -- the final months before an asteroid slams into Earth -- and mixed it with some of the conventions of the detective novel, imbuing his apocalyptic scenario with an extra measure of urgency and poignancy."--The San Francisco Chronicle

"Winters's writing is funny, surprisingly tender, and thoroughly human."--Ellery Queen Mystery Magazine

"Winters constructs a sturdy, functional, entertaining page-turner."--Greg Cook, WBUR.org

"I'm eager to read the other books, and expect that they'll keep me as enthralled as the first one did."--Mark Frauenfedler, Boing Boing

"Normally, only Stephen King and Dean Koontz can suck me into a book and not release their stranglehold until I, exhausted from lack of sleep, have turned the last page. Now [Ben Winters] has joined their ranks...The Last Policeman is extraordinary--as well as brilliant, surprising, and, considering the circumstances, oddly uplifting."--Mystery Scene

"The Last Policeman succeeds both as a mystery, with a quirky detective and an intriguing whodunit, and as a piece of apocalyptic speculative fiction. That's good news. The even better news is that this novel is supposed to be the first of a planned trilogy, with each case occurring closer to the moment when, as Henry repeatedly notes, 'Bam!' And that is something we can anticipate with a good feeling."--Sacramento News & Review

"Full of compelling twists, likable characters, and a sad beauty, The Last Policeman is a gem."--San Francisco Book Review

"The best genre fiction holds a mirror up to society while also providing edge-of-the-seat excitement, and The Last Policeman did that and more."--Las Vegas City Life

"This is a book that asks big questions about civilization, community, desperation and hope."--io9.com

"An entertaining and well-plotted tale."--Wired.com's GeekDad

"The Last Policeman presents a fascinating portrait of a pre-apocalyptic United States."--Tor.com

"A heck of a lot of fun."--Locus

"Resonant and powerful."--Locus

"Ben Winters vividly describes the decline of civilization in this pre-apocalyptic story, and spins a wonderful tale...This engrossing story is the first in a planned trilogy. It is a well-written mystery that will have readers eagerly awaiting the second installment."--New York Journal of Books

"If the next two books are as good as this one, I can't wait for the end of the world."--Asbury Park Press

"Winter's novel is a solid noir detective tale, set in a pre-apocalyptic world where the coming destruction is an unavoidable aspect of life."--Colchester Sun

"Winters is masterful in crafting a plausible image of a society that's hanging onto sanity by its fingernails as it teeters on the edge of mass hysteria...This is a novel that grabs ahold of you and doesn't let you go until the very end."--The Nashua Telegraph

"A fascinating character study.... This novel combines the best of detective investigation with philosophical debate and science fiction." --My Edmonds News

"Absolutely outstanding, I completely loved it from start to finish and I'm already rueing the fact that there will only be two more in the series...this gets the highest recommendation I can give. Buy it."--In Search of the Classic Mystery Novel

"A promising kickoff to a planned trilogy. For Winters, the beauty is in the details rather than the plot's grim main thrust."--Kirkus Reviews, starred review

"A solidly plotted whodunit with strong characters and excellent dialogue...This memorable tale is the first of a planned trilogy."--Booklist

"This thought-provoking mystery should appeal to crime fiction aficionados who like an unusual setting and readers looking for a fresh take on apocalypse stories."--Library Journal
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About Ben H. Winters

BEN H. WINTERS is a New York Times bestselling author and an Edgar Award nominee. Ben lives in Cambridge with his wife and three children.
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Rating details

19,102 ratings
3.76 out of 5 stars
5 19% (3,543)
4 47% (8,976)
3 28% (5,307)
2 5% (1,039)
1 1% (237)
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