The Last Policeman: Book summary and reviews of The Last Policeman by Ben Winters

The Last Policeman

A Novel

by Ben Winters

The Last Policeman by Ben Winters X
The Last Policeman by Ben Winters
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  • Published in USA  May 2013
    336 pages
    Genre: Novels

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Book Summary

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 fields. Churches and synagogues are packed. People all over the world are walking off the job—but not Hank Palace. He's investigating a death by hanging in a city that sees a dozen suicides every week—except this one feels suspicious, and Palace is the only cop who cares.

The first in a trilogy, The Last Policeman offers a mystery set on the brink of an apocalypse. As Palace's investigation plays out under the shadow of 2011GV1, we're confronted by hard questions way beyond "whodunit." What basis does civilization rest upon? What is life worth? What would any of us do, what would we really do, if our days were numbered?

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Book Awards

  • award image Edgar Awards, 2013

Reviews

Media Reviews

..a solidly plotted whodunit with strong characters and excellent dialogue...This memorable tale is the first of a planned trilogy." - Booklist

"This thought-provoking mystery should appeal to crime fiction aficionados who like an unusual setting and readers looking for a fresh take on apocalypse stories." - Library Journal

"Starred Review. A promising kickoff to a planned trilogy. For Winters, the beauty is in the details rather than the plot's grim main thrust." - Kirkus Reviews "Ben Winters makes noir mystery even darker: his latest novel sets a despondent detective on a suspicious suicide case—while an asteroid hurtles toward earth." - Wired magazine

"Full of compelling twists, likable characters, and a sad beauty, The Last Policeman is a gem." - San Francisco Book Review

"The Last Policeman succeeds both as a mystery, with a quirky detective and an intriguing whodunit, and as a piece of apocalyptic speculative fiction." - Sacramento News & Review

"Winters is masterful in crafting a plausible image of a society that's hanging onto sanity by its fingernails as it teeters on the edge of mass hysteria....This is a novel that grabs ahold of you and doesn't let you go until the very end." - The Nashua Telegraph

"If the next two books are as good as this one, I can't wait for the end of the world." - Asbury Park Press

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Author Information

Ben Winters Author Biography

Photo: Mallory Talty

Ben H. Winters is the author of eight novels, including most recently World of Trouble, the concluding book in the Last Policeman trilogy. World of Trouble was nominated for the Edgar Award from the Mystery Writers of America. Countdown City was an NPR Best Book of 2013 and the winner of the Philip K. Dick Award for Distinguished Science Fiction. The Last Policeman was the recipient of the 2012 Edgar Award, and it was also named one of the Best Books of 2012 by Amazon.com and Slate.

Ben's other books Literally Disturbed, a book of scary poems for kids; the New York Times bestselling parody novel Sense and Sensibility and Sea Monsters and a novel for young readers, The Secret Life of Ms. Finkleman, which was a Bank Street Best Children's Book of 2011 as well as an Edgar Nominee...

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