Sunday, July 1, 2012
Sci-Fi Mystery: The Last Policeman by Ben H. Winters
Date: July 10, 2012
Read: for review (disclaimer: I received my copy of this book in return for an honest review.)
Reading time: three days
From the back cover: 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. What's the point in solving murders if we're all going to die soon, anyway?
My review: In terms of a speculative fiction tale, The Last Policeman was a refreshing read. Equal parts examination of the worth of life, mystery, considerations upon the downfall of civilization, and dark humor, the novel is both interesting and entertaining. I liked the characters with their different personalities and quirks, though I found most of the other investigators and officials to be rather irritating buffoons. I thought the plot dragged a little toward the middle of the book, but overall it was well-developed and well-paced. The premise of this first book is fascinating and different from most other recent sci-fi releases, being more serious and thoughtful rather than dramatic and action- or romance-driven. I can't wait to see what the rest of the trilogy has in store for readers! Though the conclusion to The Last Policeman would allow the novel to be a stand-alone, enough intriguing questions were left to be developed into a sequel...