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The Last Policeman

(The Last Policeman #1)

3.79  ·  Rating details ·  30,875 ratings  ·  3,406 reviews
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 i
Paperback, 316 pages
Published July 10th 2012 by Quirk Books
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Left Coast Justin It's a wonderful book all on its own. But many people will be deeply curious to see how it all ends, and the entire trilogy is deeply rewarding.…moreIt's a wonderful book all on its own. But many people will be deeply curious to see how it all ends, and the entire trilogy is deeply rewarding.(less)
MadProfessah I'm actually picturing Hank as that tall awkward guy from SILICON VALLEY..I just googled him and he actor's name is ZACH WOODS.

I think the next most i…more
I'm actually picturing Hank as that tall awkward guy from SILICON VALLEY..I just googled him and he actor's name is ZACH WOODS.

I think the next most important character is actually the sister...(less)

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Average rating 3.79  · 
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 ·  30,875 ratings  ·  3,406 reviews

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Feb 01, 2013 rated it really liked it
(I originally rated this three stars but after completing the entire trilogy and getting a much better idea about the character of Hank Palace, I've boosted it to four.)

Three men are playing cards when someone runs up and tells them that the world is ending. The first man says, “I’m going to go pray.” The second man says, “I’m going to get drunk and sleep with six whores. The third man says, “I will finish the game.”

I learned that little parable from Young Guns 2, and I kept thinking about it wh
Imagine Spin (my review) crossed with The Manual of Detection (my review) and a suicide investigation. As interpreted by Kant. What do I mean? Consider:

An asteroid is heading toward Earth. Fast and large, the power of its collision with Earth will cause an explosion “equaling the blast force of a thousand Hiroshimas,” and the shock waves will cause tsunamis and earthquakes worldwide. Even worse, the resulting environmental destruction will cast a cloud cover over the world, obscuring the sun f
Dan Schwent
Apr 27, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2014
When Detective Henry Palace is called to the scene of an apparent suicide, he can't shake the feeling that it's murder. But with an asteroid due to hit the Earth in six months, no one really cares and with the infrastructure crumbling, Palace has his work cut out for him...

It's taken me way too long to give Ben Winters' existential detective tale a shot. I'm kicking myself for it but the upside is the second book is already out and the third comes out in two months.

The Last Policeman could eas
So,... you're a detective in a weird world turned upside down. Because it has been announced that a gigantic asteroid will hit earth in about 6 months time....Fatal hit expected. People change, the world changes, suicide rates go up... so what's the use of doing police work anymore? Young detective Hank Palace stumbles into an apparent suicide but something is just not right. He decides to investigate.... in this weird weird world waiting to collapse. Yeah, out of the box, good story. Liked it. ...more
Richard (on hiatus)
Sep 19, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: crime-series
The Last Policeman by Ben H. Winters is an involving police procedural set in Concord USA. Henry Palace, a newly promoted detective is called to a McDonalds outlet where a body has been found in the rest room. It’s an obvious suicide ..... or is it? Palace isn’t so sure.
All sounds quite typical of this genre except for a massive twist. We are in the very near future and the world is in panic. It’s been announced that a meteorite is heading towards earth and will collide on October 3rd - in 6 mon
Oct 04, 2014 rated it liked it
Shelves: fiction, trilogy
Really liked this first in The Last Policeman trilogy, a steal at $1.99 July 7, 2017 on Amazon and possibly other vendors.

The publishers summary will give you all you need to know about this book. I couldn't say it better. What I can tell you is that I liked this story about a cop who maintains his moral self in the worst of times. Detective Henry Palace is a man I'd like to know and one who could make the last days of life worth living. The mystery was secondary for me. There is a sequel which
"I don't know." I shake my head slowly, look out the window at the parking lot, lift my cup of coffee for one final sip. "I feel like I wasn't made for these times."

"I don't know, kid," she says. "I think maybe you're the only person who was."

This book was not at ALL what I expected. Not at all. A mystery/science-fiction mashup, Winters is creating a determined police detective who still remains focused on his job even as the world is crumbling around him - a little less than a year when the ast
Richard Derus
Oct 03, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Rating: 4* of five

12 JULY 2021 UPDATE THE TRILOGY'S BEEN OPTIONED FOR TV by Fox...Read all about it!!

The Publisher Says: 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
Sep 03, 2019 rated it really liked it
Recommended to Jenna by: Judith E
Shelves: mystery
Earth Ending Meteorite GIF - EarthEnding Meteorite Meteor GIFs

"The date that everybody knows is October 3, six months and eleven days from today, when a 6.5-kilometer-diameter ball of carbon and silicates will collide with Earth."

If you knew that the world would be ending soon, what would you choose to do with the time humanity has left? Would you prefer to know that it was going to end or be uninformed? I can't make up my mind if I would want to know ahead of time that an earth-destroying catastrophe was going to occur or just go about my days oblivio
Ɗẳɳ  2.☊
Jul 20, 2014 rated it liked it
Shelves: apocalyptic, gumshoe
HOLY MOLY! A giant asteroid is headed straight for Earth! But wait, it’s Batman to the rescue. Whew, thank heavens. Um, hang on a second . . . that’s not the Bat, it’s that other doofus.

Ugh, sorry to build your hopes up, but, in my defense, their backstories were nearly identical. Sadly though, the yahoo’s not too worried about saving the planet. Heck no. Not when there’s a curious MYSTERY afoot. An apparent staged suicide that no one but our intrepid hero gives a rat’s ass about.

Look, here co
Paul Bryant
A car is a thing that has to have wheels, an engine, seats and at least a steering wheel and a brake otherwise it isn’t a car. And you have to have fuel. Otherwise it will still be a car but it won’t go anywhere. The manufacturers change all the external details around and make us think that this car is different to that car but they’re all cars, so basically the same. I think detective thrillers are like cars. You have to have a minimum of one dead body; you have to have red herrings whereby th ...more
Sep 12, 2016 rated it really liked it
Recommended to Michael by: carol.
A wonderful mashup of a police procedural and a story of an impending apocalypse. A comet is scheduled to destroy humanity and much else in six months. As much of society goes to hell in a handbasket with drugs, sex, or pursuit of a personal bucket-list, Harry does his part to keep civilization going as a policeman in his corner of the world, Concord, New Hampshire. A man is found dead of apparent self-strangulation in the bathroom of a McDonald’s, a common event at this time. But Harry, new in ...more
Apr 19, 2019 rated it really liked it
'It's the end of the world as we know it and I feel fine, " as REM and policeman Henry Palace would say. Everyone in the world knows when a meteor is going to destroy the Earth and each person copes with it accordingly. Henry Palace has a case to solve and he's not going to let the end of the world deter him. As everyone can tell who meets him, he is a no nonsense, good guy and a born policeman.

I really liked this character and his way of dealing with the crisis is much more rational than how ot
Manuel Antão
Feb 11, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2013
If there was an asteroid heading for Earth, and you knew it was going to cause mass extinctions and probably kill you, how would you spend the last months of your life? Would you carry on with your duties? Are there some things still worth fighting for, even though death for almost everyone is close at hand?


The stock market have collapsed.
World trade has slowed. Who wants to pump oil when they only have a few more days to live?
People tend to do what they want, money is not so much of a
Aug 25, 2015 rated it really liked it
Don't let the methodical pace or "flawed" police detective fool you. This book is something special. I've read better SF and I've read better mysteries, easily, but here's where this novel shines:

It's a delicate balance trick.

I mean, after all, what would you do if the world was going to be hit by an unsurvivable asteroid in six months, eleven days? Follow your dreams, go wild, or commit suicide? All options are commonplace, but here we get a rookie detective promoted because no one else wants
Mar 12, 2017 rated it liked it
A buddy read with Ula and Silvana.

Good blending of mystery and pre-apocalyptic SF, and interesting enugh so maybe some of you could read in in one sit. There are clues for subsequent books, but still maintain the mystery plot for first book well. As in almost mystery-fantasy stories, the mystery aspect limited by the setting.

I found some trivia on this book related to J R R Tolkien:
1. The asteroid was called Maia. Maia is a lesser deity in Middle Earth universe.
2. There was an event in the book
I've been wanting to read this book for a while, especially since several of my friends have given it good reviews. The premise of a world on the brink of apocalypse and the societal breakdown because of that sounded really intriguing. So when I saw it on sale at Audible, I picked it up.

And that's about the time that this book peaked for me. *sigh* Right off the bat I realized that audio isn't the format that I should have gone with on this one. The story is told via first person limited narrat
Althea Ann
Jul 04, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Read in one marathon sitting! It's not too often I actually do that, but the fact that I was compelled to brings this mystery up to 5 stars.

This was my post-apocalyptic book club's selection for the month. Technically, it's actually a pre-apocalyptic novel. It's been announced that in six months, an asteroid will hit the Earth. Faced with imminent demise, people are falling apart. Social structures are gradually breaking down. Everywhere, people are taking off, quitting their jobs, aiming for t
Dec 06, 2013 rated it really liked it
The Last Policeman is Ben Winters' attempt to tackle the incredibly popular dystopia subgenre in a new and interesting way. A man is found hanged to death in a McDonald's bathroom, a rookie detective thinks it was murder, but nobody else cares because The Earth is about to be wiped out by an asteroid.

Taking a hardboiled character, placing him in a (loosely) science fiction setting and giving him a mystery to solve doesn't sound too innovative I know, but the aspects of a society that's having a
Nov 15, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: sci-fi
“Aren’t we all depressed, Detective? Under the weight of all this unbearable immanence ?”

I am not familiar with the word “immanence”, when I looked it up it does not make any sense in the context it appears in. Wiser heads than mine told me it is a typo for “imminence” which makes more sense, but the word recurs several times in the book and I have to wonder if Ben H. Winters is trying to convey something profound with this word and not quite landing it? Other than that, I have little to compla
Dec 11, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: audio
This book would be a police procedural, but since the world is about to end when an asteroid collides with Earth in six months, newly elevated police detective Henry Palace is essentially operating as a private detective. Henry suspects that the assumed suicide of an insurance actuary was a murder. However, given the state of the world no one but Henry is feeling really inspired to investigate crimes. Henry's sister also enlists his aid in tracking down her missing husband. What you have is a cr ...more
James Thane
Dec 15, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shelves: crime-fiction
This book has the most intriguing premise of any that I've read in a long while. Set in the not-too-far-distant future, it features Hank Palace as a fledgling detective in Concord, New Hampshire. One night, Hank is called to the scene of a suspicious death in the restroom of a McDonald's restaurant. An insurance man named Peter Zell is lying on the floor with an expensive leather belt wrapped around his neck. The other end of the belt is tied to the handicap grip bar next to the toilet, and the ...more
Jul 28, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Absolutely brilliant! What happens to society if you know the world is going to end? Find out here!
aPriL does feral sometimes
'The Last Policeman' is a first-class mystery as well as an almost literary speculative fiction. It also is heartbreaking.

There are three books in the Detective Henry Palace 'Last Policeman' series - a trilogy. He is in the Criminal Investigations Division of the Concord (New Hampshire) Police Department. Henry's dream was to become a detective most of his life, especially after his parents died when he was a little boy. He had closely observed the process of police work, being especially intere
I’m late to the party with this series, but like many others I was attracted to it because of the “pre-apocalypse” setting. In the novel, a 6km-diameter asteroid is going to collide with Earth in 6 months’ time, and it will be a civilisation-ending event.

Would you keep going to work if the world was going to end in 6 months’ time? In the novel many people have stopped doing so, and most of those who are still at work are just going through the motions. Detective Henry Palace is one of the honest
The end of the world changes everything.

Okay, six months until a disaster of epic proportions hits the earth that may leave a tiny amount of survivors who will then have to live through an ice-age. In other words, you are going to die in six months. They even know the day. What would you do for your last six months alive?

It's easy to think, "oh, I would do everything I've ever wanted to do - my bucket list." And, there are plenty of people who are bucketing. But, they have to have the money
Emma Sea
Nov 10, 2012 rated it really liked it
I did enjoy this, and I will read the sequels. The length was perfect: I was just beginning to be a bit over when it wrapped up. Going on for longer would have decreased my rating. I liked the writing, and the MC's voice.

Do I sound a little underwhelmed? It was good, but not as good as I hoped.

I think one of the disappointments for me was the depiction of a pre-apocalyptic United States. For other readers this might be more compelling.

I grew up in the 70s and early 80s. True story: when I was 1
Oct 15, 2017 rated it really liked it
This was a group read for SFF Book Club this month. I was pleasantly surprised. It started off a little rough- something about the writing didn't sit well with me although it seems many others enjoyed the writing so maybe it's just me.

This is a mystery plot with a twist- the world is going to be struck by a giant asteroid in about six months. Life on planet Earth is ending. It was refreshing to read a book about what happens before the apocalypse instead of after. The asteroid was also a seeming
An asteroid is on a collision course with Earth. The impact will annihilate most of the world’s population and those that do not die immediately will suffer immensely through resulting earthquakes and ash clouds. Folks are quitting their jobs, running off to do things they've always wanted to accomplish before the end of the world. Others are committing suicide, unable to bear the enormity of the situation, wanting to check out before the big day.

Then there are people like Detective Hank Palace
Jun 04, 2015 marked it as dnf-did-not-finish
WOAH second book I've ever DNF-d and it comes within a week of each other! I guess that first book liberated me to DNF alllll da books.
I was attempting to read this for #TBRTakedown and LOOK HOW WELL THAT TURNED OUT. I probably could finish this, but I honestly have no desire to. The concept and overall story set up was so interesting, but the rest of the novel (that I read) has been a bore. The murder mystery part was slightly interesting but at this point I don't care to find out and spend my
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