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?
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?
©2012 Ben H. Winters (P)2012 Brilliance Audio, Inc.
A very clever premise - dedicated detective pursuing a murder case during the last days of life on earth. The murder mystery could have been better constructed...for me it was the protagonist's interaction with others as the society crumbles around him that elevated this book beyond average.
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If you knew an asteroid was going to end life as we know it, what would you do during those last six months?
For rookie detective Hank Palace, it really is no conundrum at all. You diligently keep working at your job. Hank is living his dream. He's finally a detective. His lifelong ambition. When an insurance adjuster is found hanged at a local fast food restaurant, everybody is quick to put this down as just another suicide. With the end near, these have significantly increased after all. But Hank isn't convinced and starts investigating.
The mystery aspect of the story was pretty average. I admit I reacted like the majority of characters in this book and didn't actually care very much about the victim's fate. But I enjoyed Hank's interactions with his colleagues, his family and the people he met during his investigation. It was really the pre-apocalyptic setting and its effect on people's behavior that made this story interesting.
This is the first book in a trilogy and I remained undecided whether or not to pick up the next book until pretty much close to the end where an interesting little twist intrigued me enough to add the second book to be listened to at some stage.
On the whole, I enjoyed Peter Berkrot's narration. Character voices were distinct, none of them sounded shrill, and the narration was delivered in a clear and pleasant manner that was easy to follow. The story is told from the first-person perspective of the main character, Detective Hank Palace, who unfortunately came across as rather juvenile. Not sure how much of that was down to the narrator's choice of portraying him with this slightly sarcastic, self-deprecating tone and how much was down to the author creating this vaguely wacky character. I'm still on the fence whether I actually liked him or not. At times I thought he was funny and compassionate, at other times I found him annoyingly naive as well as rather ignorant towards other people's priorities considering everybody has only six months left. It will be interesting to see how Ben H. Winters develops his protagonist in Countdown City, book two of the series.
There were no problems with the quality of the production.
Overall, a light and entertaining listen with a cast of quirky characters in an unusual and intriguing setting.
Audiobook was purchased for review by ABR
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(sing with me ...REM)
"its the end of the world as we know it..."
The comet is coming, the comet is coming!
A newly-promoted Detective is not going to let a little thing like death and dying get in the way of his dreams, especially when he senses foul play.
If it weren't for Audible I'd never get any reading done.
This is an entertaining story of a young detective trying to solve a murder in a time when no one cares because the world is about to end. It's well-written, but not very deep. It's a good read but more of a time-filler than an occasion for reflection.
I love to read books set in interesting places or historical settings. I especially love mysteries and thrillers.
I have done the pre- and post-apocalyptic story before, and have never found that type of story to be to my liking. However, I am glad I decided to give this book a try. I was hooked from the very beginning of the story. I will definitely read the next two books as soon as they become available.
Detective Hank Palace sees a murder where everyone else sees a suicide. What was most interesting to me was how Detective Palace finds the motivation, and the clues to continue the investigation under such distressing circumstances. The cast of characters and society felt real to me regarding the reactions to the news of the asteroid. Some people keep moving forward, some try to complete their bucket list and others just become useless, and at worse, dangerous to the community.
I found that when I was listening to this book my entire mood would change to mild distress and sadness. I was reading a second book at home that had me laughing and in an entirely different mood, but as soon as I turned on this audio book, I would go immediately to a darker place. The author was very good at getting me emotionally involved in the story.
The narrator, Peter Berkrot, was good, not excellent. Some of the voices he used sounded strange and had a sarcastic sound when I thought the dialog should have been interpreted differently. But that is a small complaint and did not bother me overall.
I notice that "The Last Policeman" just won a 2013 Edgar Award. I congratulate Ben H. Winters and look forward to how this trilogy plays out.
maybe a sale item
was not very suspenceful , didn't really feel like the world was ending , guessed the ending after father's intro.
write this, audilbe bills it as great not so IMO
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Yes. Original plot, vivid characters, perfect performance
Yes. This one is as good as any other
The Last Policeman is a great murder / mystery story, written with talent by Ben H. Winters and delivered in a perfect performance by Peter Berkrot.
The story follows young Police Detective Hank Palace as he tries to do his job while the Earth is on the brink of destruction. He is called on the scene of an apparent suicide, but his gut says he has to look at it as a potential murder… For the duration of the case, we see Detective Palace fighting not to lose his mind and his purpose, and trying to make sense of the morals system of a society that has nothing to lose as an event of catastrophic proportions is just 6 months away…
Although the story picks up a little slow, I enjoyed the book very much. The backdrop of impending doom is very well thought and written by Mr. winters and the fact that the plot was a strong one, as we meet a set of unique characters that have helped a lot, creating a very immersive experience for the reader.
Detective Hank Palace is The Last Policeman because he is the only one who still cares about what’s right in a pre-apocalyptic United States. He will tell you a story and it is not a regular mystery…
The audiobook version of The Last Policeman is read by Peter Berkrot. He hightens the level of immersion created by the author, delivering a stunning performance. Mr. Berkrot reminds me of a younger Richard Ferrone and I consider this a very good thing since Richard is an award-winning narrator. Peter brings all the characters to life with different voices, making it very easy for the listener to keep each one easily differentiated in his mind. When he is not acting, he reads in calm and steady voice… I consider Peter Berkrot to be the perfect choice for this book and I hope that, one day, he will scare us half to death with a book by Stephen King.
I will listen to the two remaining books in this trilogy, as I understand that all of them are great, and since I enjoyed both the author and the narrator so much, I’m sure that it will be time well spent…
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I value intelligent stories with characters I can relate to. I can appreciate good prose, but a captivating plot is way more important.
The world is coming to an end. One cop decides to do his job and investigate a death that no one else cares about (including me).
The movie Fight Club has a line that goes something like: "You're polishing the brass on the Titanic". That's what I felt the protagonist was doing in this book. It's impossible to care about his case because everyone in the world is hurtling to their doom.
Even a life-or-death situation doesn't matter when death is a certainty in just a matter of months. The book was doomed to fail because of this.
Maybe I would have cared if it was a cop searching for a kidnapped child... that would have been sufficient motivation. But murdered adult with no one mourning him? Meh.
Say something about yourself!
What a fantastic concept. A 'by the book' cop in a town that runs like the Simpsons' Springfield Police Dept. Add to that, a meteor, and you have "The Last Policeman". I cannot explain what it is about this book. The brilliant narration by Peter Berkot, the clever humour,the gumshoe like feel. The apocalyptic circumstances. Whatever it is, I cannot seem to get enough. In fact, prior to completing this one, I bought the other two. Not looking forward to the 'end' of Det. Hank Palace. But it sure will be fun getting there.
Enjoyed this pretty bleak, but somewhat upbeat, detective story set to the back drop of the end of the world.
Interesting allegory for the meaninglessness and/or intrinsic meaning of our every day actions/motivations. Kept me thinking about why we live our lives as I compared my motivations to that of he knowingly doomed.
Enjoyable story, with interesting characters, and smooth writing.
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