The Last Policeman by Ben Winters
A Novel

79%

14 Critic Reviews

...Palace refuses to let the future control his present, emerging as a likeable hero of the end times. A divergent subplot involving Palace's ex-girlfriend, his sister, and her radical conspiracy-theorist husband slows down the story...
-Publishers Weekly

Synopsis

"[The] weird, beautiful, unapologetically apocalyptic Last Policeman trilogy is one of my favorite mystery series."—John Green, author of The Fault in Our Stars and Paper Towns

Winner of the 2013 Edgar® Award Winner for Best Paperback Original!

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?

Ebook contains an excerpt from the anticipated second book in the trilogy, Countdown City. 

 

About Ben Winters

See more books from this Author
Ben H. Winters is an Edgar Award nominee and a New York Times best-selling author. His most recent novel, Bedbugs, was hailed by Vanity Fair as a "diabolical tale of paranoia." He lives in Indianapolis, Indiana.
 
Published July 10, 2012 by Quirk Books. 322 pages
Genres: Mystery, Thriller & Suspense, Science Fiction & Fantasy, Literature & Fiction, Crime. Fiction
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Critic reviews for The Last Policeman
All: 14 | Positive: 13 | Negative: 1

Kirkus

Excellent
on Apr 30 2012

A promising kickoff to a planned trilogy. For Winters...the beauty is in the details rather than the plot’s grim main thrust.

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Publishers Weekly

Above average
on Sep 10 2012

...Palace refuses to let the future control his present, emerging as a likeable hero of the end times. A divergent subplot involving Palace's ex-girlfriend, his sister, and her radical conspiracy-theorist husband slows down the story...

Read Full Review of The Last Policeman: A Novel | See more reviews from Publishers Weekly

NY Journal of Books

Good
Reviewed by John M. Wills on Jul 10 2012

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.

Read Full Review of The Last Policeman: A Novel | See more reviews from NY Journal of Books

Booklist Online

Excellent
Reviewed by David Pitt on Jun 30 2012

...it’s a solidly plotted whodunit with strong characters and excellent dialogue. But the impending apocalypse isn’t merely window dressing, either: it’s a key piece of the puzzle Hank is trying to solve.

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Slate

Good
Reviewed by Dan Kois on Aug 03 2012

What makes Palace such a fine hero is that despite the slim hopes for his case and the slimmer hopes for the planet itself, he gets to work—following his hunches and utilizing the skills he’s been honing his whole life.

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Chamber Four

Below average
Reviewed by Nico Vreeland on Jul 20 2012

The writing...leaves a lot to be desired. Winters sometimes tries to write like a pulp novelist, but Palace is too gooey a character. He winds up sounding like an angsty teenager describing his emotions by hamfistedly cataloging his physical feelings (his heart beats “like a desperate prisoner” in one passage).

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Wired

Good
Reviewed by James Floyd Kelly on Aug 27 2012

...all we can do is root for Henry to deliver justice while there’s still time to appreciate it. Even at the end of the world, there’s still something to be said for putting our best foot forward, doing the right thing, and hoping there are others out there like Henry who will keep the gears turning until the very last moment.

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Boing Boing

Good
Reviewed by Mark Frauenfelder on Nov 10 2012

It’s creepy fun to read Winters' description of a pre-apocalyptic society that knows it's doomed...The Last Policeman is only the first book in a trilogy. I'm eager to read the other books...

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Starburst Magazine

Good
Reviewed by Graeme Reynolds on Jul 31 2012

While the main plot of the book is fairly standard police procedural fare, the descriptions of society in terminal decline are absolutely riveting.

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Bookshelf Bombshells

Above average
Reviewed by Lacy LeBlanc on Jul 09 2012

This was a good story, and it was very well written. That being said, I still had trouble getting into it. I think that maybe Palace’s methodical approach to life, especially considering that he’s probably going to die in a few short months, could’ve used a little spice.

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Geeks of Doom

Good
Reviewed by The Book Slave on Dec 03 2012

It’s science fiction! It’s crime fiction! It’s a…sci-cri! The Last Policeman is the latest thrilling novel by New York Times best-selling author Ben H. Winters...

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Strange Horizons

Above average
Reviewed by Rahul Kanakia on Jan 18 2013

If we ignore the weakening of the book's underlying premise, the rest of the novel offers a fun and competent police procedural story.

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News Review.

Good
Reviewed by Kel Munger on Jul 30 2012

The mystery itself is interesting, with plenty of twists and engaging characters. However, the main thing that attracted me to this book was Winters’ skill in showing what happens to people under stress, particularly of the existential type.

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Alternative Magazine Online

Excellent
Reviewed by Marty Mulrooney on Oct 17 2012

This is a genuinely engaging mystery novel that boldly asks us to consider what life is worth, and what truly defines us as individuals. The first in a planned trilogy, The Last Policeman not only presents a brilliant premise – it executes it to perfection...

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Reader Rating for The Last Policeman
77%

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Malinda Charter

Malinda Charter 27 Jan 2014

Added the book to want to read list