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Countdown City

(The Last Policeman #2)

3.85  ·  Rating details ·  14,486 ratings  ·  1,475 reviews
There are just 77 days to go before a deadly asteroid collides with Earth, and Detective Hank Palace is out of a job. With the Concord police force operating under the auspices of the U.S. Justice Department, Hank's days of solving crimes are over...until a woman from his past begs for help finding her missing husband.
Brett Cavatone disappeared without a trace – an easy
Paperback, 316 pages
Published July 16th 2013 by Quirk Books (first published July 13th 2013)
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Average rating 3.85  · 
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 ·  14,486 ratings  ·  1,475 reviews

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Feb 08, 2018 rated it really liked it
Ah, yes, this is a really good apocalyptic trilogy series. 77 days to go before a deadly asteroid will hit earth and the world is in turmoil and growing chaos. Detective Hank Palace is out of a job but still accepts a request from a lady (former babysitter in his younger days) to find her husband Brett Cavatone, who disappeared without a trace. People are disappearing all over the world, going after their 'bucket list', suicide or trying to find a part of the world with possible chances of survi ...more
Richard (on hiatus)
Jan 19, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: crime-series
Countdown City by Ben H Winters is the second book in the Last Policeman trilogy.
Earth has a couple of months left before it collides with asteroid Maia 2011gv1. The fabric of socíety has broken down as no one sees the point in normal routine anymore. People have either gone ‘bucket list’ or sit at home and wait. A few however are hard wired to carry on working or find some meaning in these last days.
Henry (Hank) Palace is such a character. No longer a detective he agrees to help a family frien
Dan Schwent
May 01, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2014
When retired policeman Henry Palace is approached by his childhood babysitter to track down her missing husband, he's on the case. But with only seventy-seven days until an asteroid crashes into Earth, will he be able to track the missing man down amidst rioting, looters, and the rapidly disintegrating infrastructure?

The second Henry Palace book is even better than the first. It sees Palace riding his ten-speed bicycle all over New Hampshire, looking for a former state trooper that doesn't want
Richard Derus
Oct 12, 2015 rated it really liked it
Rating: 4* of five

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

The Publisher Says: There are just 77 days to go before a deadly asteroid collides with Earth, and Detective Hank Palace is out of a job. With the Concord police force operating under the auspices of the U.S. Justice Department, Hank's days of solving crimes are over...until a woman from his past begs for help finding her missing husband.

Brett Cavatone disappeared without a trace – an easy feat
Jan 14, 2015 rated it really liked it

★ ★ ★ ★ 1/2

Had Earth not been scheduled meet an asteroid face-first in less than six months, Hank Palace would have made a fabulous beat cop. He might have even made a decent detective once he had a few years under his belt. However, his hasty promotion through the police force has been cut short and he finds himself hanging around the neighborhood and doing favors for friends. And by ‘favors,’ I don’t mean in a Matt Scudder-alcoholic-ex-detective-on-the-
Jul 29, 2013 rated it really liked it
I am a weak and cowardly person so if I knew that he world was about to end, I’d probably spend my final moments just crying, cursing the universe and generally acting like Bill Paxton in Aliens. "Game over, man! Game over!"

Hank Palace is better man than I am, or at least he’s able to divert himself from the upcoming apocalypse by playing detective. In The Last Policeman, Earth had learned that a giant asteroid was coming to send humanity out the same way the dinosaurs bought it. Hank was a youn
"You can't just abandon your promises because the world is over."

Excellent. Even better than the first book.

I don't answer. I'm off in the distance somewhere, I'm racing through the wilderness, I'm standing in a storm with my hands raised, reaching out for bits and flakes of ideas like falling snow.

This is the exciting sequel to The Last Policeman.

Henry Palace, no longer (view spoiler), is still running around solving mysteries even though 77 days from now an ast
Kevin Kelsey
Feb 13, 2016 rated it liked it
Shelves: read-2020, read-2016
The writing is a little clunkier in this follow up to The Last Policeman, but in some ways it's a better story. This one delves deeper into some existential questions as the end draws nearer, and it spends some time casually setting up the final novel pretty nicely as well. It is what it is. Read these books for the interesting premise and the mystery. ...more
James Thane
Jun 23, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: crime-fiction
This is the second volume in Ben H. Winters' "Last Policeman" series, featuring Detective Hank Palace, lately of the Concord, New Hampshire PD. Lately, because in just seventy-seven days, a giant asteroid named Maia is going to slam into the earth, ending life as Hank and everyone else knows it. Naturally, things are now a bit discombobulated.

In the course of things, all the Concord police detectives have been fired since there's really no point in investigating anything when the world won't sur
Aug 25, 2015 rated it really liked it
Hank is no longer a policeman, but he's all boy-scout, which happens to make him an ANTI-HERO in this world.

That's pretty funny, isn't it? I mean, sure, we like to make fun of those types of people, right? But in a world full of crumbling order, near anarchy, and bucket lists and *mostly* good people doing whatever they really wanted to do before the last 77 days come around and wipe them all out, that one person who lives by heroic high-ideals, the man who tries to find a missing person in a w
This book is an example of second-book-syndrome or middle-book-syndrome for me. The and pre-apocalyptic plot and setting are getting more serious, but you can imagine worse conditions (for book three).

But with the promising of other reviews about the third book, I believe to read the book sooner or later.

One thing that stole my attention on the novel: the dog is cute.
The second book in the series and society is really falling apart as the day of the asteroid strike approaches. Our lead character, Henry Palace, is no longer a detective as there’s no longer any need for investigations, and the Police exist solely for the purpose of maintaining social order. Despite Palace being “retired”, a woman who was once his babysitter asks him to find her missing husband, and he can’t turn her down.

Palace is a born detective in that he has a compulsion to get to the trut
There is an aspect of my character that tends to latch on to one difficult but potentially solvable problem, rather than grapple with the vast and unsolvable problem that would be all I could see, if I were to look up.

The asteroid is hitting the earth in 77 days and everyone has their own way of coping. Henry/Hank Palace is determined to still act the policeman in spite of the fact that the world is complete chaos at this point. People are acting slightly crazy when facing imminent death. So
May 12, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: reviewed, mystery
Review of "The Last Policeman"

So the world is still ending and the countdown to its demise continues its inexorable march to zero. Society is on the verge of collapse with the bonds that maintain it dissolve a bit more everyday. Sometimes that takes the form of a person abandoning everything to go "bucket listing", other times it involves turning to doomsday cults, and for others it is simply suicide. The only thing that is certain is that things are not getting better and they will almost c
Jul 18, 2016 added it
Shelves: fiction, trilogy
The Hook The last line of my review of The Last Policeman stated ”There is a sequel which I may not read as I thought the uncertainty of what might come was a fitting end.” Guess curiosity killed this gal. After reading a review of World of Trouble I decided to see Henry Palace to the end, whatever that may be.

The Line ”Last month there was a free class at the public library called “Eat Less and Live.”

The Sinker – Detective Henry Palace is now just citizen Henry Palace, a man trying to live his
A good middle for this series. I am enjoying the Last Policeman series. It's one author's vision of the crumbling of society due to a slow moving catastrophe. There is an end date so in Winter's vision we watch the slow erosion of civility. We also see the attempt of one man to try and maintain his integrity and sense of self among the chaos by becoming obsessive about his job. It allows him to ignore the decline. "Fiddling while Rome burns" comes to mind. So far the series is definitely worthwh ...more
Sep 04, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shelves: fiction, 2013, gum-shoes
"I keep my head down and my mind focused on the case because I’m sick of wondering why I’m doing this, why I care. This is just what I have, this is what I do."

..and with that, Hank Palace gives us an answer to why he’s so goddamn determined to run around playing detective in the face of certain doom. With Countdown City, Ben H. Winters takes us back to Concord, New Hampshire, less than 3 months until impact. In just 77 days, Maia will collide with Earth and the impact along with the resulting c
Jenny (Reading Envy)
An asteroid is fast approaching that will destroy earth (but not yet, this is book 2 of 3) and now former cop Hank Palace is trying to help a friend find her husband. Not really the book for now, but my summer reading challenge is about finishing series I'd started. And in some ways I guess it is, because it features a white cop trying to navigate a world where power structures no longer include him. What was formerly considered crime happens in the open, and some acts of compassion are viewed a ...more
Aug 25, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: post-apocalypse
This series is such a good idea! I’ve read so many books about Post apocalypse worlds, but what if you know the Apocalypse is coming? In this case a meteor will be crashing into the planet in 77 days. Does law and order prevail? I think you can work out the answer! Henry Palace is an honest man though in a world where many have ‘gone bucket’ dropping all their cares and responsibilities to fulfill their bucket list dreams.
Althea Ann
Oct 30, 2014 rated it liked it
There is some serious middle-book-syndrome and sequel-itis going on with 'Countdown City.'
'The Last Policeman' was gripping from the first page straight through to the end. I read it in one sitting, and gave it 5 stars.

'Countdown City' was... ok. It took a while to get going, and even once things started rolling, I just didn't really care about the case. Former detective Hank Palace agrees to help his former babysitter find her missing husband before the end of the world (which is coming, in ju
Aug 25, 2022 rated it really liked it
4.5 stars. No middle book malaise here. As society enters its final circle down the toilet bowl drain and the heavy stench of desperation pervades the air the narrative is filled with both more action and more introspection. Palace may finally realize what's truly important to him, but alas, it may be too late, everything may already be lost. Isn't that always the way. ...more
Mar 24, 2014 rated it really liked it
Ben Winters continues to explore the breakdown of modern society in the face of impending apocalypse with his second Hank Palace novel. With this installment his detective is no longer a professional detective and instead follows the well gumshoed path, alone down those dark streets, he must go as if by some sort of genetic disposition, facing up to the end times by giving himself fully to a missing person investigation in a world where the majority of people have simply got up and left their li ...more
Judith E
This second book in The Last Policeman Trilogy finds Detective Henry Palace searching for Henry’s old babysitter’s husband and stumbling upon his sister’s cult-like friends who are preparing for the asteroid’s impact with Earth.

Henry’s inner conversations can be quite funny but mostly they are dialogues justifying his actions in the face of imminent death. He finds comfort in continuing his strict and rigid investigative procedures instead of “grappl(ing) the vast and unsolvable problem, that w
Mar 31, 2019 rated it really liked it
Second book syndrome. I do like Winter's writing and this is a good detective story. There is much introspection material in this book. What would you do if you knew the world ended in 70 days, I like how Winters represents the whole spectrum of choices. Good enough to keep going until the conclusion. ...more
Jul 14, 2021 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
I personally regret spending time on what little I read of this book. I found it boring and plain dumb.
Wendi Lee
Nov 07, 2017 rated it liked it
I really enjoyed The Last Policeman, and while the second book in this trilogy has a lot of strong points going for it (notably ex-Detective Hank Palace and his determination to follow through with his investigation, whether or not he works for the police anymore or not), I didn't feel the same connection.

The catastrophic asteroid is drawing closer to Earth, and resources are dwindling. Hank decides to help his old babysitter find her husband, and his sleuthing draws him away from his town, tow
Jun 28, 2013 rated it really liked it
Great follow up to The Last Policeman.

After such a great first book, I thought that the second one would be sure to dip quite a bit. But it only dipped a fraction.

This "case" was excellent too- but in the bigger story of the asteroid-I did foresee the situation that occurs at the end of this book. To me, it was pretty obvious.

But love, love these characters. And am TRULY intrigued in how Ben H. Winters keeps their core values so pertinent to the circumstances of their own cognitive "reality"-
Mar 15, 2016 rated it liked it
Ok book, I mostly read it because I'm interested in finishing this trilogy, imagine what would happen to the world if everyone knew an asteroid would hit the earth and kill everyone on it a 100 days from now, this is the premise of this trilogy. In this book we follow the life of the main character (a forcefully retired police officer ) who tries to keep order among chaos in society , this second book deals more with the fact that as the asteroid gets closer more and more of society cohesiveness ...more
Megan Baxter
Mar 31, 2017 rated it really liked it
I'm now two books into this trilogy about a policeman/private detective (sort of) in the months leading up to the end of the world by asteroid collision. I quite enjoyed the first one, but I think I like Countdown City even more. The world is now well established, and Winters is going some interesting places with a fairly traditional mystery as the vehicle.

Note: The rest of this review has been withheld due to the changes in Goodreads policy and enforcement. You can read why I came to this decis
Julie Davis
May 20, 2013 rated it it was amazing
I liked the audio for the first book in this trilogy so much (The Last Policeman) that upon finishing it I went and picked up this audio for rereading. Also, the last book in the trilogy comes out in July so I might as well have the previous two fresh in mind, right? Peter Berkrot does a stellar job.

My full review is below.


What does it say that my first act upon opening this book was to look for what month it is? How close is the asteroid? Obviously, I've opted into Ben H. Winters
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Third book? 4 74 Sep 19, 2019 02:47PM  
Sci-Fi Indonesia: Buddy read - Jan 2018 - Countdown City (The Last Policeman #2) 22 17 Feb 22, 2018 07:00AM  
Dystopian Society: Contining The Last Policeman trilogy...book #2 1 8 Jun 01, 2016 09:52AM  
Norwescon: Countdown City 6 22 Sep 10, 2014 09:05AM  

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38 likes · 13 comments
“Respectfully, sir, the asteroid did not make you leave her. The asteroid is not making anyone do anything. It's just a big piece of rock floating through space. Anything anyone does remains their own decision.” 14 likes
“Because a promise is a promise, Officer Cavatone, and civilization is just a bunch of promises, that’s all it is. A mortgage, a wedding vow, a promise to obey the law, a pledge to enforce it. And now the world is falling apart, the whole rickety world, and every broken promise is a small rock tossed at the wooden side of its tumbling form.” 6 likes
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