Cindy Crawford's Reviews > The Last Policeman

The Last Policeman by Ben H. Winters
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's review
Aug 19, 12

Read in August, 2012

** spoiler alert ** The scenario for The Last Policeman presents a fascinating premise. An asteroid is on it's way to earth, and astronomers have announced that it will, against improbable odds, hit the earth and destroy life as we know it. People react in a variety of ways--some go off to do the things they most want to do, some turn to drugs or drink or religion, some kill themselves, some carry on with their lives. Henry Palace, new detective, is one who carries on.

When called to the scene of an apparent suicide, Detective Palace decides, with no evidence to support his decision, that the man was murdered and begins an investigation. Investigation is difficult since the infrastructure is slowly eroding as the time of impact grows closer, but Palace perseveres. The case takes many twists and turns, with red herrings galore, but Ben H. Winters always keeps control of the intricate plot. Just when Palace things he has found the answers, he realizes that there is another element.

The subplot throughout the book, introduced by Palace's younger sister and her "idiot" husband, hints at some kind of government conspiracy, an idea reinforced throughout with various minor characters, government reactions to Palace's investigation, and news reports. This hint remains a wispy possibility until the epilogue, when Henry's sister comes back and offers to tell him about the secret project. By then Henry is too tired and frustrated to care. He solved the mystery of what really happened to Peter Zell, the dead man he started investigating at the beginning of the book, but during the course of the investigation he lost his job, his new love, and his innocent fervor for the job.

This is the first of a planned trilogy, and while this works fine as a standalone novel, the set-up for book two is intriguing. I'll definitely want to read the next book.

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