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.
Ben H. Winters wrote one of the creepiest books I had the pleasure of reading last year for Giving me the Creeps October- Bedbugs. Once again he's taken an obscure subject and developed it into chilling book you can't put down. Bedbugs was about a woman who believes her dream apartment has been infested with the dreaded bugs and how it leads to the destruction of her life. The Last Policeman is about possibly the most sensible man on the planet, just trying to do his job as everything goes to pieces around him.
Both books take a bizarre concept, and through thoughtful characterization, unexpected plot development and a realistic approach make them completely believable and accessible to the reader. Which means they are also significantly creepier too.
Hank Palace is truly the most sensible, level headed, policeman ever. The world is nearing it's fiery end, and humanity is crumbling around him faster than a dry cookie, but Hank has a job to do and nothing is going to prevent him from seeing it through to the best of his ability. This makes him crazy lovable as a protagonist, his dogged dedication in the face of ridiculous obstacles is THE most entertaining element of The Last Policeman by far.
"No. No. Not you. You're a policeman through and through, Hank," she says... "You'll be standing there when the asteroid comes down, with one hand out, yelling, Stop! Police!"The simple fact that everyone around him is giving up, running away or otherwise quitting before the end is official, is a puzzle to him. But he also has the most profound moments of insight about it as well.
I squint into the grey sun, seeing Andreas plastered against the bus, slowly sliding down. IT IS SIMPLY TO PRAY. Secret government escape bases. People's inability to face up to this thing is worse than the thing, it really is.I'm telling you, if I found out the world was ending I'd want to know Hank Palace.
Between the apocalyptic back ground, and Hank's hard-boiled detective story line, there is also the unsettling nuances that a murderer is using humanities break down to his/her advantage. The mystery, and the slow but complex unraveling of it were engrossing. I did not see any of it coming.
All in all an truly enjoyable, and completely unique book. It wasn't until I started this review that I realized it was part one of a series, so the good news is- there's more to look forward to!
The Last Policeman, by Ben H. Winters
Published by Quirk Books, July 10th, 2012
My copy acquired at the BEA
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