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The Last Policeman Audible – Unabridged

4.1 out of 5 stars 777 customer reviews

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By Jeri VINE VOICE on June 30, 2012
Format: Paperback Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
In six months, the scientists announce, an asteroid is going to hit the earth and end life as we know it. That's the premise for this clever, enthralling novel.

Knowing that death will arrive in six months has lots of people simply walking off their jobs. Heading out to enjoy whatever hours remain or fulfill a Bucket List of places to see.

Not Palace, however, the main character, who has always wanted to be a police detective and now has his chance.

Concord, New Hampshire has become a 'hanger town". People who chose suicide rather than endure what may be a horrific death after the asteroid hits. One of these hangers is Peter Zell, who apparently commits suicide at McDonald's.

But Palace refuses to accept Zell's death as yet another suicide. Instead, he starts investigating. Zell, it turns out, seems to have been a rather likable fellow, a quiet nerd who worked for an insurance company, alphabetized his cereal and had few friends.

Everyone, including the medical examiner, agrees that Zell is a suicide. The fact is: no one else seems to care. About anything much, in fact, now that the end is so near.

What really draws you into the book is the way the author spins out the background of what happens when everyone knows death will come in six months. For example, the government has frozen the prices for restaurants. So why would anyone bother to show up and make the food and serve it? The $1,000 tips.

People respond to the looming catastrophe by "doing all sorts of things, for motives that can be difficult or impossible to divine clearly.
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Format: Paperback
Hank Palace is not amoungst the norm when he finds out the world is going to end due to an asteriod hitting earth within the next six months. The norm all abandon their jobs and spend what time they have left with their families and living out their dreams. Hank is a police officer and although the world is ending, the crime has not stopped, and he refuses to abandon his job of protecting his community. In fact, he's consumed with solving a murder, that is being said to be a suicide, but Hank believes otherwise, he believes it was cold-blooded murder.

I loved Bedbugs by Ben Winters, and in fact it was one of my favorite books of last year, so that being said I had extremely high expectations of this book going into it, and I think because I built it up so much it fell a bit flat for me. I was really hoping the end of the world/post-apoctolyptic aspect was going to be the main focus, but instead I felt like it was more about Hank solving the mystery behind the suicide/murder.

That being said, I'm still a huge fan of Ben Winters writing, his writing style is phenomenal, and although this book wasn't really my cup of tea, I know for the right reader this could be a five-star book. His writing draws you in, and for those that like true-crime/mystery novels, I think you would love this book.
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Format: Paperback
"What would you do with just six months until the end of the world?" This, apparently, was the question that Ben H. Winters put to various pundits while preparing his book, THE LAST POLICEMAN. The question suggests science fiction, almost the classical "What if..." scenario. Yet, Winters's book is ultimately a fast-moving, psychological mystery that--while never engaging with them deeply--forces the reader to contemplate some of the oldest existential questions: Does death give life meaning, or is it that which negates it? How should I live my life? Can I be saved?

Albert Camus famously asserted that there was only one true philosophical question: Why not suicide? This is the burdensome question that all of Winters's characters must grapple with when the scientific community confirms that the planet will likely be destroyed by an imminent collision with an asteroid in six months' time. Camus's answer to the question was not for the weak-willed: the "absurdist" hero must reject suicide and embrace his existential situation, no matter how absurd it may be. For many of Winters's characters, the task proves too much, and so Hank Palace, the young detective who narrates the story, finds himself called to a series of suicides. Most of the investigations are perfunctory, bureaucratic affairs. But one of them just does not feel right: no suicide note, no cellphone, a brand new designer belt used to rig a noose....

As the investigation unfolds it is clear that Palace is not just looking for a killer; he is also looking for meaning, purpose. The victim, who Palace tells us he likes, is almost a mirror reflection of himself: ordinary, orderly--not quite OCD, but close. He even dresses the same as the victim (both men have several suits of a single color).
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Format: Paperback Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
Detective Hank Palace is dedicated to his job of finding killers, despite having the best reason in the world not to care: A 6.5-kilometer-wide asteroid is due to strike Earth in six months, eventually wiping out all human life. Humanity struggles on, trying for a semblance of normalcy amid impending doom. People are killing themselves to avoid going through what will happen when the asteroid strikes.

One of those apparent suicides is Peter Zell, an actuary for an insurance firm who is found hanged in a restroom stall at one of the few McDonald's still open in Concord, N.H. It looks like an open-and-shut case -- and, really, why should Palace make the effort to prove otherwise, despite the bruises on the man's face that might indicate he was murdered? Only a few cops still work at the CPD. Others have walked off the job, gone "bucket list" to enjoy their last few months of existence. But Palace perseveres, and the clues to murder start piling up.

This is an absorbing novel, a rippingly fast read with strong characters who are dealing with the toughest of situations in their own ways. Author Ben Winters paints a convincing picture of what life would be like in the U.S. under these circumstances, with small hints about what's going on in other parts of the world. Some areas already are in chaos. Money doesn't mean what it once did to Palace, though it's still, to his surprise, important to others. People who normally would not engage in risky behavior such as drug-using are saying, "Why not?" Palace works hard to maintain professional behavior despite knowing that, even if he catches the killer, that person will only spend a short time in jail -- if jails still exist.

It would have been easy for Winters to go overboard on the world destruction theme, but he didn't, so the story reads like reality. This is the first of a trilogy, and it will be interesting to see how the theme plays out in the remaining two books.
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