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Countdown City: The Last Policeman Book II (Last Policeman Trilogy) [Kindle Edition]

Ben H. Winters
4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (232 customer reviews)

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Book Description

Winner of the 2014 Philip K. Dick Award

The Last Policeman received the 2013 Edgar Award for Best Paperback Original--along with plenty of glowing reviews. 
Now Detective Hank Palace returns in Countdown City, the second volume of the Last Policeman trilogy. There are just 77 days before a deadly asteroid collides with Earth, and Detective 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.
Countdown City presents another fascinating mystery set on 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?

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

In this sequel to Edgar Award-winning The Last Policeman, Winters intensifies his vision of a lawless apocalyptic society as an asteroid nicknamed "Maia" continues its deadly trajectory toward Earth. Impact: October 3rd. Seventy-seven days from when the narrative picks up. Set in Concord, N.H., where the police force is fraying and money has no value, people are frantically fleeing the Eastern Hemisphere to seek refuge from Maia's direct path, amidst hundreds of U.S. citizens who are simply disappearing. Narrator and straight-laced detective Hank Palace has lost his job, but he still can't resist helping his childhood babysitter Martha Cavatone locate her missing husband. With the end of the world nigh—and a bike as his only mode of transportation—this is no easy task. Clues lead Palace to a colonization of radicals who've overtaken the University of New Hampshire and followed by a forsaken coastal fort used to execute catastrophe immigrants as they approach the shore. While not as well paced or marvelously original as its predecessor, this second installment in a planned trilogy is darker, more violent and more oppressive. Through it all Palace remains a likeable hero for end times, and with Concord already in ruins, readers are left to wonder how he'll survive to tell his final tale. (July)

From Booklist

For those who haven’t read The Last Policeman (2012), here’s what you need to know: the world is doomed. An asteroid is going to smash into the planet earth in the very near future. Society is in disarray. A lot of people have already checked out, via suicide or just vanishing entirely. Law and order is more of an idea than a practical reality. Hank Palace is a police officer—well, he used to be, before the police department was shut down a few months ago. Now, like most people, he’s unemployed. When an old friend asks him to find her missing husband, Hank reluctantly agrees. But how do you find a missing person when half the people in the country aren’t where they’re supposed to be? As with the first Hank Palace novel (this is volume 2 of a projected trilogy), the mystery element is strong, and the strange, pre-apocalyptic world is highly imaginative and also very plausible—it’s easy to think that the impending end of the world might feel very much like this. Genre mash-up master Winters is at it again. --David Pitt

Product Details

  • File Size: 1685 KB
  • Print Length: 322 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 1594746265
  • Publisher: Quirk Books (July 16, 2013)
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B00B6OV90E
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #8,942 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
16 of 17 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Terrific Ride to the End of the World May 28, 2013
Format:Paperback|Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
What does it say that my first act upon opening this book was to look for what month it is? How close is the asteroid? Obviously, I've opted into Ben H. Winters' trilogy which began with The Last Policeman.

Holy mackerel, what a fantastic second book! I don't usually get to say that so it is a particular pleasure to have loved this book so much.

Ben Winters did a masterful job of making me intensely interested in the mystery when former police detective Hank Palace is asked by an old friend to find her missing husband. This is almost impossible in a world where going "Bucket List" is common and society is hanging on by a thread with no technological communications left. Of course, Hank can't turn down this personal plea.

Hank's investigation gives Winters the perfect vehicle to simultaneously display some American society's odd mutations in response to the impending asteroid strike. His single-minded hero forges ahead despite all obstacles because that's the only way he knows to tackle his problems. This dual mystery-apocalyptic scene made a book I simply couldn't put down.

I especially enjoyed the fact that the characters seem very real. I was intensely anxious, for example, about Hank's dog, Houdini, when he took him along to infiltrate a college campus that has become an anarchist encampment. Houdini does indeed become threatened which becomes an obsessive worry for Hank (and me). And the result? Completely unexpected by Hank (or me). But absolutely typical and perfect. It was at this point that I tipped my hat to Mr. Winters.

This trilogy is shaping up to be a real classic for both the science fiction and mystery genres. I am looking forward with great anticipation to the end of the world, as seen by Detective Palace. The Last Detective and Countdown City are both going on my Best of 2013 list.
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12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
Format:Paperback|Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
Imagine what "Walking Dead" would be like if Rick ignored the shambling hordes of zombies and instead he continued being a law enforcement officer, investigating suicides and searching for missing persons.

That scenario is similar to Countdown City. Henry Palace has been cut from the diminishing police force in Concord, N.H. It is July. An asteroid will destroy Earth on Oct. 3. And yet, Henry gets up every day, dons a suit and tie, tucks his notebook in his pocket and rides off on his 10-speed bike, pulling a wagon with supplies and his little bichon frise, Houdini. Off he goes to solve crimes, ignoring the mayhem, avarice and crumbling society surrounding him.

This is a hybrid sci-fi and detective story, with a heavy overlay of social commentary. Henry is naive, loyal and honorable in a world in which those qualities may be fatal.

The premise of the novel is very interesting -- far more so than the case Henry attempts to solve -- and sometimes his tunnel vision becomes too much to bear.

Decent, kindly Henry has time for one more adventure before the world ends, if the metaphorical zombies don't get him first.
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12 of 15 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars dark and absorbing June 22, 2013
Format:Paperback|Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
As an asteroid heads towards Earth for an extinction event, people have different ways of spending the last few months of their existence.

Young Hank Palace is a detective thrown out of the force as they ceased to bother detecting anything. But his natural instinct is to help people and investigate. He copes with the impending end of everything by doing what he always wanted to do. Detect and help but now there are no phones, no internet, no facilities or cars. And not many people that care.

Within this environment of a decaying society and a change of values, Hank follows up on a missing person and the trail takes him into some strange and dangerous places..

I enjoyed this as much as I did the first book, a great deal. Hank is a 'normal' guy just doing what he always wanted to. He makes mistakes is not a gun wielding hero but an everyday guy through which a horrible world is depicted.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great read! September 24, 2013
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
The fast action and well developed characters totally over shadow the oppressive story line-the world is ending. The asteroid didn't get us. We shot ourselves.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Countdown to the third installment March 19, 2014
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I was very taken with the first installment of this trilogy. It's a great idea for a novel: the world is ending, what will you do with your last remaining months?

This second installment feels obligatory and somewhat stale.

The logistics of mystery solving seem impossible when almost all infrastructure has failed. In some sense, the mystery element becomes almost unbelievable. The police force itself is gone and our main character --now an ex-cop-- is forced to cycle around New Hampshire on a bike, yet he's able to take on a missing person case. Hmmmmm.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Better than the first book in the series October 25, 2013
By drahcir
Really liked the premise of "Last Polliceman" and like the way it's continued here. Society's continuing to collapse, and Henry Palace, though no longer a police officer, is continuing to play detective.

Henry's basic goodness- his desire to try and take care of people- shines through this novel. Whether it's to help people in trouble, or parentless kids, or his own sister, his intentions are noble. And at least the novel ends with him in a (comparatively) safe place.

I suppose there are a few logical issues- why were he and the other detectives retired while they continued to hire new uniformed officers? Wouldn't it have been better to have a few experienced people in uniform? Or did they just want newbies who'd brainlessly enforce what seemed close to martial law? Why WOULD the govt take the police off the street and have the citizens engage in what was pretty well open warfare against each other?

And I wish he'd get the firearm stuff right- his Sig Sauer is a pistol, or a handgun, or a semi-automatic handgun- it sure isn't a revolver!

But that's a minor detail... on the whole a good read, with a few implausible twists and turns.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
3.0 out of 5 stars not as good as first but still worth the read
Part mystery, part sci-Fi. I won't repeat what has been said in the comments but what an interesting concept. Read more
Published 8 days ago by M. E. S.
4.0 out of 5 stars A Fantastic Sequel
Countdown City picks up shortly after The Last Policeman closes, with Hank Palace being out of a job but unable to stop helping people. Read more
Published 11 days ago by Michelle @ In Libris Veritas
5.0 out of 5 stars Part 2 of an entering trilogy
I stumbled upon The Last Policeman a few years back and enjoyed it tremendously. It also takes place in my neck of the woods, making it that much more interesting to me. Read more
Published 27 days ago by Amazon Customer
5.0 out of 5 stars This was as good as the first book and I have book three ...
This was as good as the first book and I have book three just sitting to read but then it will be over.
Published 1 month ago by Bill Donovan
4.0 out of 5 stars the setting can be extremly depressing but the book is entertaining...
This entire series is what a good end of the world disaster movie should be and you can divide it between

The people who go bucket list saying if we are all going to die... Read more
Published 1 month ago by General Pete
2.0 out of 5 stars No Longer Interested in Plot
Like so many other reviewers point out, Winter's first book was pretty good and set the stage for a pretty good plot. Read more
Published 1 month ago by zorba
4.0 out of 5 stars Four Stars
very good. Highly recommended
Published 1 month ago by Mr. Smith
5.0 out of 5 stars Great series. very well executed
I have really enjoyed the whole series -- it is a refreshingly different concept, well handled and well written. Highly recommended.
Published 2 months ago by Bryan
3.0 out of 5 stars Protagonist motivation obscure and confusing
The second installment in this series starts out great, but has similar flaws to the first one. Ben H. Read more
Published 2 months ago by Edgar Allan Poet
5.0 out of 5 stars Very well done, the end of the world angle ...
Very well done, the end of the world angle is slight but very interesting. Finished the 2 can''t wait to see if he can pull off 3
Published 2 months ago by Terry J. Pratt
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More About the Author

Ben H. Winters is the author of seven novels, including Countdown City, a nominee for the Philip K. Dick Award, and The Last Policeman, which won an Edgar Award, was nominated for the Macavity Award for Best Mystery Novel, and was an Best Book of 2012. His other books include Bedbugs, Android Karenina, the New York Times bestseller Sense and Sensibility and Sea Monsters, and the middle-grade novels The Mystery of the Everything and The Secret Life of Ms. Finkleman, a Bank Street Best Book of 2011 and an Edgar Award nominee. Ben is also the author of many plays and musicals for children and adults, and he has written for national and local publications including the Chicago Tribune, Slate, and the Huffington Post. He lives in Indianapolis, Indiana, where he teaches at Butler Univsity, and he blogs at

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Topic From this Discussion
Present tense rather than past.
That is unfortunate. You are missing out on a terrific trilogy.
Dec 18, 2013 by shrich2 |  See all 3 posts
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