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Publisher's Summary

There are just 77 days to go before a deadly asteroid collides with Earth, and Detective Hank Palace is out of a job. With the Concord police force operating under the auspices of the U.S. Justice Department, Hank’s days of solving crimes are over - until a woman from his past begs for help finding her missing husband.

Brett Cavatone disappeared without a trace - an easy feat in a world with no phones, no cars, and no way to tell whether someone’s gone "bucket list" or just gone. With society falling to shambles, Hank pieces together what few clues he can, on a search that leads him from a college-campus-turned-anarchist-encampment to a crumbling coastal landscape where anti-immigrant militia fend off "impact zone" refugees.

The second novel in the Last Policeman trilogy, Countdown City presents a fascinating mystery set on the brink of an apocalypse - and once again, Hank Palace confronts questions way beyond "whodunit." What do we as human beings owe to one another? And what does it mean to be civilized when civilization is collapsing all around you?

©2013 Ben H. Winters (P)2013 Brilliance Audio, Inc.

Critic Reviews

"Extraordinary - as well as brilliant, surprising, and, considering the circumstances, oddly uplifting." (Mystery Scene Magazine)

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

Overall

  • 4.1 out of 5.0
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Performance

  • 4.3 out of 5.0
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Story

  • 4.1 out of 5.0
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  • Overall
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  • Story
  • Matthew
  • SEATTLE, WA, United States
  • 08-14-13

Don't bother buying a new watch battery

Would you listen to Countdown City again? Why?

I dont' generally listen to books more than once.

Did the plot keep you on the edge of your seat? How?

Yes, very much so. This series is highly compelling, and this addition is certainly no exception. Our proantagonist is a wonderfully complex character, living in wildly stressful times and situations.

This is a very unique storyline, namely pursuing pretty standard day to day policing situations under the loom of the end of days. It would be easy to write yet another doomsday scenario story, but Winters choses to bring us along with the mundane daily aspects of life, and that further escalates the sense of foreboding.

Well done in all regards.

What does Peter Berkrot bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

Wow, where do I start. Berkrot owns this book. RIght up there with Hiil, Guidall and Brick. This book is listenable simply due to him , let alone the story. Colour, nuance and tone are all there in spades, and he leaves enough space for us to add our own piece to this story.

Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

The scenes in the police station, and in the diner with detectives, are very genuine, honest and believable. Enjoyable to say the very least.

Any additional comments?

This series has me locked in. Definitely not your typical "end times" concept, ( although falls into that genre without a doubt ). Worth spending credits for , and recommend you do it in the correct order.
Highly recommended, and I can't wait for the next episode!

7 of 7 people found this review helpful

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  • Joel
  • NEWPORT BEACH, CA, United States
  • 07-14-14

Sets Up Well for the Series Finale

After reading The Last Policeman earlier this year I'd been interested in continuing the series but not rushing to it. I love the concept. A young policeman at the end of the world. An asteroid is only months away from making impact and destroying the world, and yet Hank Palace still wants to bring justice to a crumbling society. My biggest problem with the first book and continued in Countdown City is that Hank Palace doesn't feel real. He's like an ideal that everyone should strive to be like but you know that no one in that situation would.

In Countdown City he takes on the case of his child-hood babysitter who can't find her husband. Like any good detective novel Hank goes after this seemingly straightforward case that turns out to be anything but. As the book describes they're only months away from the extinction of humans, a lot of people are going missing, so finding one man is no easy feat. The best parts of Countdown City are describing the ways in which people are coping. Some hang on religion, others form militias, and others retreat to even more primitive means.

Its an interesting concept and a decent detective novel. It's a shame that both areas can't shine throughout the entire novel. There are just far to many head-scratching decisions that keep this series from being great. Countdown City is a short solid read but not all that memorable.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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Uninspired, tiring


I expected a story something along the lines of: a scientist discovers an error in the numbers, and the comet will not actually collide with earth; scientist does; police officer investigates claims by other concerned party that scientist was killed as a cover-up; world continues to devolve into anarchy; novel wraps up with a cliff-hanger where the news is publicized by rebels and we wait to find out what happens in third and final novel.

What I expected was a follow-up novel that expanded upon the initial premise. What I found was a forced story that had little to do with the main Antagonist (the Comet), and a novel populated by u memorable characters.

Verdict: a poor follow-up

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story

Fun, Fun, Fun.

The sequel to "The Last Policeman" is more of the same. Funtime in Concord. Det. Palace is unlike any protaganist i have encountered. A vulnerable charachter that you just want to climb into the book and hug. And i can't give enough kudos to the brilliant performance by Berkrot as narrator. Now off to the finale.

5 of 6 people found this review helpful

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Getting Creepy and Scary

I did enjoy the first book of this series, but I am so glad this story will end as a trilogy. I am willing to listen to the last one, but I probably would have stopped here, if there was a fourth book. With the asteroid within 70 days of hitting, society is breaking down into something that feels like "Lord of the Flies". While I would like to think I would act like the main character, Hank, I find him to be an idealistic version of how everyone wants to act under these circumstances. I think the ending of this book was a great set-up for the last book in the series. Too bad the rest of the book was just mediocre to me.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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What a snore

zzz zzz zzzzz zzzzz zzz zzz zzz zzz zzz zzz zzz zzz. zzz zzz zzzzz zzz zzz was I sleeping? you really won't be missing out on anything. cliff notes would barely make a difference

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Societal Denial & Obsessive Compulsive Protagonist

The protagonist is fairly annoying in this sequel. He is more or less in denial about the apocalypse, has made nearly no plans, and is obsessively following "leads" in a ridiculous "case" and endangering others by refusing to let it the f@$k go. The rest of society is more or less in the same denial, which is even more incredible and somewhat annoying. The books overall have a very interesting premise, but the details seem unlikely to be realistic. It seems much more likely that people would start preparing and organizing as soon as a major planet-level disaster became a certainty, particularly if they had something more than a year to plan. The obsessive protagonist who is in denial may be realistic, but he is still annoying.

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  • Story

Bleh

Having enjoyed the first story well, I was looking forward to reading the sequel. The world is still there but with a lot less time and the effects of societal breakdown is more apparent.

However, this time the story doesn't feel as involved as the first. There's more focus on the case this time and with the exception of a college of communists struggling to hold on for 77 days to prove communism works and a few other settings, there isn't much there. The following of the case is a little more clunky too. I found myself having to re-read parts to actually figure out if I had zoned out and missed something or if hadn't been revealed yet. Again, the mystery doesn't bring along the reader to help figure out. You're more or less told conclusions which is a key plus or minus I look for in any mystery novel. This story is definitely in the minus category.

I would say that this story rode too much on the coattails of the first book and the charm just wasn't there as much this time. I will check out the third book because of the world the first one built. Hopefully the story will be better put together in that one. Final Grade - C+

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  • John
  • Kenmore, WA, United States
  • 05-11-16

Better than First Book

What did you love best about Countdown City?

The author is able to implement a personal perspective to the story. By giving so much detail you feel like you are there.

What about Peter Berkrot’s performance did you like?

Quiet but constant presentation. No yelling, no whispers, just the story. Very nice.

Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

Had to listen to it twice. There are so many details, most connected, that I had to listen a second time to make sense of the action. Yes I would listen in one sitting if possible. Segments are good too.

Any additional comments?

Enjoyed this book. Very good perspective of what happens on a personal basis as society crumbles. Plus the main character has physcotic and personality problems. He is messed up but a good guy.

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More sci-fi, more lyrical than book one

“More” is the word that describes this second book in the “Last Policeman” series. More sci-fi is evident, as the author acknowledges that in a world that is just months away from certain destruction, basic services would begin to break down. This was one of the things that annoyed me in the first book, in which people were quitting their jobs en masse to fulfill their “bucket lists” by flying to far-off destinations. It also bothered me that the protagonist drove his police car all over the place despite an oil shortage that was mentioned early on in the narrative. I kept trying to figure out who was still running the airlines and pumping the gas, and why anyone cared about money when the world was about to end.

Here, Detective Hank Palace is reduced to riding a bicycle and more social unrest is evident and the writing is more lyrical. The descriptions of the slowly collapsing society are not so much dystopian as they are melancholy and bittersweet. Some of the writing is downright gorgeous and that was the main reason I decided to continue on and read the third installment in the series as soon as I finished this one.

[I listened to this as an audio book read by Peter Berkrot]