The Last Policeman – Book Review

You know that thing, when you finally read a book you’ve heard about again and again but, for whatever reason, haven’t gotten around to yet? And then you do and it’s awesome.


Yeah, I just had that with Ben H. Winter’s excellent pre-apocalyptic mystery The Last Policeman.

policeman_winner-cover_Layout 1The Last Policeman is a book I had heard about and even held more than once with intent to buy but for some reason always put down again. I remember Eric Smith (fellow Book Riot contributor, now agent looking for awesome new voices in YA) recommending it way back when.

There’s a meteor heading for Earth and everyone is awaiting the point in time when scientists are able to tell them once and for all if it will hit and how much damage it will cause. The answer, as it turns out is “yes” and “catastrophic, life-ending”.

So not the most upbeat of settings. The main character, however, is a policeman so absorbed by a case he is working on that he somehow manages to not let the impending end of the Earth interfere with his police work.

The case involves a man found hanging from a belt at a fast-food place. Suicides are increasingly common as people decide to take their lives ahead of the meteor killing them, so no one really cares about the man in the bathroom. Only, as Hank Palace discovers, there is still a belt around the man’s pants.

“What’s the point in solving murders if we’re all going to die?”

He investigates this is the world falls apart around him; people commit mass suicide, or try to find a place to spend their final days, a few even trying to find places to “ride it out.”

The Last Policeman is the first in a trilogy (all the books are out) and has been optioned for TV. It deftly joins together the detective novel with a pre-apocalyptic noir and I completely and fully recommend it. It has just enough hope to not be totally dreary and pointless, as there is a chance that a part of the world may survive the asteroid impact (at least short term), and rumors that the government is going to send up a rocket to derail the path of the asteroid, saving everyone.

Have you read the Last Policeman series? Anything along those lines you think I should read?

*Photo by Kristopher Roller on Unsplash


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