Book report #12 (2020)

The Last Policeman, by Ben H. Winters. Pub 2012

I can’t remember where I read about this book, someone else’s blog or book store posting on Facebook most likely. I picked it up (along with the rest of trilogy) on sale during my January stock-up. I can say that I am pleased that I did, as this book was a great read.

Set in 2012, the Earth is on a collision path with a large asteroid, due to arrive and destroy much of the earth on 03 October (the where is still a mystery till near the end). Many people are leaving their jobs, heading off to complete their bucket list before the end of the world. Key infrastructure and supply chains are collapsing as much of the world adopts a “why bother” attitude. The novel opens with a death (murder?) and follows the investigation by Detective Hank Palace. The investigation is complex, made more so by the societal changes that are taking place due to the pending apocalypse. Hank is the titular last policeman because he’s one of the few who cares to investigate the case, his fellow detectives and cops opting more for the “why bother” stance.

The murder story is good and suspenseful, and like a Midsomer Murder, claims a few more victims before it is resolved. The societal elements are even more fascinating, as basic things collapse gradually and people are living with significant uncertainty. It makes sense: in a world that is about to end (but not for a few months), would people need life insurance? Would technicians maintain cell towers? Would companies still make light bulbs, tinned food, gasoline? The only distracting and truly unbelievable bit is the suggestion of government underground bunkers to save some people – that these have been around for decades and domestic terrorist groups spring up trying to find them to destroy/take over. Not that that story line is not realistic, just that it goes a bit beyond the murder mystery and seems unnecessary. Until you consider that there are two more books…I guess all will be revealed eventually.

This was a nice change from the art and literary criticism. It’s not light reading, as it leads to musings about bucket lists and what-ifs, but it’s light enough for a long-weekend read.

Fate: give to a friend (but not until I’ve read all three books).

(Bummer – I just now remember that we removed the “murder” category from our list.)

12 – set in a place I’ve never been (New Hampshire)
24 – a book by an author I’ve never read before

2 thoughts on “Book report #12 (2020)

  1. Pingback: 2020 Reading Challenge – summary | rclr

  2. Pingback: Book report #34 (2020) | rclr

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