Kemper's Reviews > World of Trouble

World of Trouble by Ben H. Winters
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it was amazing
bookshelves: winner-winner-chicken-dinner, 2014, apocalypse-now, crime-mystery

(I won this ARC from Goodreads.)

I think that one of the bright spots about knowing that an asteroid is going to hit the Earth would be that no one could ever say again, “Cheer up. It’s not the end of the world!”

There are only a few days left until the hunk of space rock called Maia will collide with the Earth and almost certainly wipe out humanity. Hank Palace, a former police detective, is on one last case of a highly personal nature. He’s trying to track down his rebellious sister Nico who is with a group she claims can stop the asteroid by locating a scientist who is being held as part of some kind of vast conspiracy that is allowing Maia to impact Earth.

With his dog and a talented scrounger he’s not sure he can entirely trust, Hank has made his way through complete anarchy on his way from New England to a police station in small Ohio town where his last clue has led him to believe Nico and her wacky pals are waiting to rendezvous with the scientist. However, when they arrive instead of finding Nico, Hank makes a couple of other shocking discoveries. Can he solve the mystery of his missing sister before time runs out once and for all?

I don’t think I’ve ever done such a 180 on a character like I have on Hank Palace. In The Last Policeman when Maia was six months out and society was still pretty much intact, Hank was an earnest detective whose insistence on doing things by the book and dogged determination at mounting a murder investigation in the face of Armageddon made him seem like his own denial and urge to play cop wasted the time of other people, and wasting someone else’s time seems almost as bad as murder in this scenario. (Now that I’ve read all three books, I’m going to give The Last Policeman an extra star.)

However, in Countdown City when Hank was no longer a cop but still followed an investigation to the bitter end, he seemed more like a guy just trying to cling to some semblance of responsibility and decency even as everyone else was running off to fulfill their bucket list, committing suicide or just going crazy. Here, with only days left Hank still thinks that there’s a proper way to do things, and he continues to take extensive notes when talking to people and walks around a dead body like the CSI guys are going to show up at any moment to process the evidence.

It’s not exactly denial because Hank knows full well what’s coming and that he has very little time to find Nico, but he’s still helpless to resist his compulsion to know every little detail as if he can die satisfied if only he knew the whole story.

Ben Winters also showed a low key strain of creative world ending in how he’s established the way that that things have fallen apart gradually over the course of this trilogy. Hank started out as a patrolman getting to live his dream of being a detective when other cops have started walking off the job and there were still some structure and rules in place. Now that the end is really near, Hank is just another guy wandering through dangerous territory trying to satisfy one last personal quest before the big boom.

This ended up being an exceptionally good story with a great premise that Winters fully delivered on with his flawed but ultimately relatable main character.

One final note, and this is a total spoiler about the ending. (view spoiler)
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Reading Progress

March 24, 2014 – Shelved
April 28, 2014 – Started Reading
May 4, 2014 – Finished Reading

Comments Showing 1-17 of 17 (17 new)

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Brandon Sweet merciful crap, I want to read this right now.


Kemper Brandon wrote: "Sweet merciful crap, I want to read this right now."

All you got to do is win a copy..... Or wait until it releases in July.


Brandon Kemper wrote: "Brandon wrote: "Sweet merciful crap, I want to read this right now."

All you got to do is win a copy..... Or wait until it releases in July."


I may or may not be getting one from Quirk Books. I just need it now.


Faustine Vaughn Whoa whoa whoa ... there's a SEQUEL to this book!?? I must go find this!


Kemper Faustine wrote: "Whoa whoa whoa ... there's a SEQUEL to this book!?? I must go find this!"

This is the third book of the trilogy.


Faustine Vaughn Yes, which is why I need to find the sequel pronto so then I can read this one! :)


message 7: by Leo (new)

Leo I love the fact that you have a shelf called "winner-winner-chicken-dinner". That said, I already had The Last Policeman lined up (thanks to your review) but now I'm even more eager to dive into it.


message 8: by Kemper (last edited May 14, 2014 08:13AM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Kemper Leo wrote: "I love the fact that you have a shelf called "winner-winner-chicken-dinner". That said, I already had The Last Policeman lined up (thanks to your review) but now I'm even more eager to dive into it."

It's a small shelf, but I like it. Hope you enjoy the books as much as I did.


Faustine Vaughn So I just finished the second book, Countdown City, and it is SO much better than the first! I am so glad July isn't far off, because I can't wait to read what happens next. I've completely changed my mind about Hank from book 1 to book 2 - which, how rare is that!?


Jasmine I have to say this was my favorite one of the series. And it ended nicely.


message 11: by Chip (new) - rated it 5 stars

Chip Agree with all of the above. Posting only to note that upon seeing this made the "winner, winner, chicken dinner" shelf, I immediately went there expecting to find a shelful* of good future reads. Highly disappointed to find only two others there. Don't even know what to say that they are, respectively, the 17th (!!) and 24th (!!) in two series. I ain't got time to bleed, I mean, read 39 preceeding books. Shit. *Yes, I know it's a virtual shelf and so technically full. Whatever.


message 12: by Kemper (last edited Jul 20, 2014 07:03AM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Kemper Chip wrote: "Agree with all of the above. Posting only to note that upon seeing this made the "winner, winner, chicken dinner" shelf, I immediately went there expecting to find a shelful* of good future reads...."

The winner-winner-chicken-dinner shelf is reserved for books I won through Goodreads giveaways. So I'd love to have it be full up but that's all those bastards have given me. Favorites contains a lot of the ones I consider all time greats.


message 13: by Dane (new) - added it

Dane Your spoiler actually made me want to read the book. If your fears were true I would avoid this, but now I'll add it to my reading list!


Kemper Dane wrote: "Your spoiler actually made me want to read the book. If your fears were true I would avoid this, but now I'll add it to my reading list!"

Yeah, the ending made a huge difference on how I felt about all three books.


Constance I really got into the first book, blazed through the second, but got distracted with life stuff with the third so it took me awhile to get back t it. When I did I hated that I'd let so much time go by before picking it up again. Really good series but I felt cheated by the end. I reread the last paragraph a few times convinced I'd missed something, but no, that was it. Pity.


Colleen Perfect review for this series. I also had the rare occasion to have my views on a character completely change over the course of a series, but still not have them radically altered/rewritten through the books.


Tracy I loved these books and this was my favourite. I was heart broken by the ending but it was so true to the story that I was glad the author followed through. Terrific review.


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