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World of Trouble: The Last Policeman Book III (The Last Policeman Trilogy) Paperback – July 15, 2014
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The concluding volume of the Last Policeman trilogy takes place the week before an asteroid will slam into Earth. Hank Palace, who used to be a police officer before society started tearing itself apart, has one thing he needs to accomplish before the asteroid hits: find out what has happened to his sister, Nico, who (as recounted in the previous books in the trilogy) had hooked up with a group of people who claimed to have a plan to save the world. Where the first two books (The Last Policeman, 2012, and Countdown City, 2013) were preapocalyptic mysteries, this one, while still set before the cataclysm, reads like a post-apocalyptic story: society has almost completely fallen apart, cities are deserted ruins, people are scrounging for food, technology is all but dead. The series has had a built-in expiration date from the very beginning, so readers shouldn’t be upset that it’s ending now, but—and this is an indication of Winters’ abundant gifts as a storyteller—we really, really wish he could find a way to keep it going. A fine conclusion to a unique and compelling trilogy. --David Pitt
“Stubborn, earnest, self-deprecating and decent, his protagonist, Hank Palace, is a brilliantly realized character you want to follow to the very end—and beyond.”—San Francisco Chronicle
“In this remarkable series, Winters creates a melancholy hybrid of crime and science fiction, managing to subvert the expectations of both genres.”—San Francisco Chronicle
“Winters, a major talent, gives us the best realized world on the verge of annihilation that this reviewer has seen since Cormac McCarthy.”—Sci Fi Magazine
“Winters’ style is a slow burn....His cadence is a steady beat rather than a roller coaster, and his words sparing and simple. They will stay with you.” —William O’Connor, The Daily Beast
“World of Trouble is a page turner, a book that is riveting and humane, suspenseful rather than frenetic, and moving rather than depressing; and the key to it all is our guide trough this crumbling world. Palace is a brilliant creation, the perfect hero for our eschatological age.”—Tor.com
“Riveting entertainment.”—The A.V. Club
“Winters’ World of Trouble is more than a shining example of how to write about the apocalypse—it’s one of the most well-written mysteries of any era...World of Trouble is a book you don’t want to miss.”—Paste
“That Winters can paint for us a world that is so bared-boned, raw and honest is why this is one of the best books of the year so far.”—The Cleveland Plain Dealer
“When the trilogy races toward the end (in more than one way), you find yourself with a spark of hope for the human race, even in just spirit and soul.”—GeekMom
“This is quality writing.”—Cape Cod Times
“World of Trouble demonstrates a greater confidence in the storytelling, richer supporting characters, and an ending that I wanted to both race toward and hold off as long as possible.”—Indianapolis Business Journal
“Winters has done an excellent job.”—McClatchy
“It is impossible not to love Hank and his need to try to do the right thing all the time. The bleak premise of this series could be too much, but, instead, it gives a certain clarity to the action of people who become their most real selves when the end of the world arrives.”—Library Journal
“As fascinating as Winters’ imagined societal breakdown can be, it’s his attention to human connections—heartfelt, heroic and lethal—that really make this trilogy worth reading.”—Kirkus
“A fine conclusion to a unique and compelling trilogy.”—Booklist
Praise for Countdown City
“I always appreciate novels that have new and interesting approaches to traditional genres, and Ben H. Winters’ two novels featuring Hank Palace fill the bill.”—Nancy Pearl, NPR
“Winters is brilliant in conveying the ways in which people look for their best impulses but often end up as the victims of other people’s most base instincts.”—Toronto Star
“Don’t miss this series!”—Sci Fi Magazine
“Winters is a deft storyteller who moves his novel effortlessly from its intriguing setup to a thrilling, shattering conclusion.”—Los Angeles Review of Books
“One of the best mysteries I’ve read in such a long time.”—Nancy Pearl, KUOW
“Winters’s work shines.”—Locus
“The ‘don’t lose hope’ ending is slam bang, setting us up for the ‘final-final’ installment.”—Florida Times-Union
“A precise, calendar-driven doom casts a shadow over the series, a planet-killer asteroid that the Earth can’t duck, making this an existential policier.”—The Sunbreak
“A thrilling and contagious read.”—Fayetteville Flyer
“Gripping.”—The Free Lance-Star
“As with the first Hank Palace novel (this is volume 2 of a projected trilogy), the mystery element is strong, and the strange, preapocalyptic 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.”—Booklist
“Through it all Palace remains a likeable hero for end times.”—PublishersWeekly.com
Praise for The Last Policeman
“A genre-defying blend of crime writing and science fiction.” –Alexandra Alter, The New York Times
“The Last Policeman books offer an appealing hybrid of the best of science fiction and crime fiction.”—The Washington Post
“In his acclaimed Last Policeman trilogy, Masters showed off his mastery of edgy, sardonic wit — there’s nothing like an asteroid speeding toward Earth to bring out the black humor in people.”—Newsday
“Sharp, funny, and deeply wise.”—Slate.com
“I’m in the middle of it and can’t put the dang thing down.”—USA Today’s Pop Candy
“Ben Winters makes noir mystery even darker: his latest novel sets a despondent detective on a suspicious suicide case—while an asteroid hurtles toward earth.”—Wired.com
“In his Last Policeman trilogy, for which he won both the Edgar Award and the Philip K. Dick Award, Winters took a standard science fiction trope — the final months before an asteroid slams into Earth — and mixed it with some of the conventions of the detective novel, imbuing his apocalyptic scenario with an extra measure of urgency and poignancy.”—The San Francisco Chronicle
“Winters’s writing is funny, surprisingly tender, and thoroughly human.”—Ellery Queen Mystery Magazine
“Winters constructs a sturdy, functional, entertaining page-turner.”—Greg Cook, WBUR.org
“I’m eager to read the other books, and expect that they’ll keep me as enthralled as the first one did.”—Mark Frauenfedler, Boing Boing
“Normally, only Stephen King and Dean Koontz can suck me into a book and not release their stranglehold until I, exhausted from lack of sleep, have turned the last page. Now [Ben Winters] has joined their ranks...The Last Policeman is extraordinary—as well as brilliant, surprising, and, considering the circumstances, oddly uplifting.”—Mystery Scene
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Top customer reviews
With that in mind, I approached World of Trouble, the final novel in Ben H. Winters' terrifically creative and emotionally powerful Last Policeman series, with a great deal of trepidation. I so enjoyed the first two books and absolutely loved the world he created, so I hoped that I wouldn't be disappointed with how he concluded the series. (Spoiler alert: I wasn't.)
"I was a detective for only three months, promoted out of nowhere and dismissed just as abruptly when the CPD was absorbed by the Department of Justice, and so I never received the higher-level training I would have in the normal run of a career."
Henry "Hank" Palace was a police detective in New Hampshire. He was tremendously dedicated to his job. The problem was, scientists discovered that a giant asteroid was on a collision course with Earth, thereby ending the world as we know it, so his job was eliminated, as police departments all across the world were phased out. But Hank couldn't turn off his instincts to uncover the truth about crimes he is aware of, or his need to protect his sister, Nico, who has fallen in with a group of people convinced there's an Armageddon-esque way to destroy the asteroid before it destroys Earth, but the government has covered it up.
When World of Trouble begins, Hank is holed up in New England in a well-stocked safe house with a number of his former law enforcement colleagues, getting ready for the end of the world. But he desperately wants to find Nico before the asteroid hits, and so he finds himself traveling to Ohio with his sidekick, Cortez, and Houdini, the dog he somehow adopted. Along the way, they encounter cities taken over by violence, cities which seem empty because their residents have gone into hiding, and cities which truly are abandoned. And Hank can never turn off his protective instincts, as many of the people he tries to help remind him of Nico.
Their arrival in the small Ohio town leads them to several startling and disturbing discoveries. And as the amount of time for Hank to find Nico before the asteroid hits dwindles, Hank is desperate to figure out where she has gone and what led her there, but more than that, he wants to truly understand whether the solution she so fervently believed in was as far-fetched as it sounds, or if this could be reality. But the truth is far more disturbing—and dangerous—than he imagined.
I don't know how I imagined Winters would conclude this series, but I definitely thought that World of Trouble was a fitting, well-done conclusion, which remained true to Hank's character and the situations that Winters created for him. As you might imagine of a book set in the last few days before the world is expected to end, this was tremendously moving and poignant, and very well-written. There were plenty of twists and turns to keep my interest, but as with the other books in the series, I also found the whole idea very thought-provoking, as I wondered how I would handle knowing that the world was expected to end in a matter of days.
I would definitely recommend you pick up this series, and read it in order. You'll be amazed at Winters' creativity and his storytelling ability, but you'll also find yourself fully immersed in this world, and hooked on these characters.
That said, what I loved about this 3rd and last book of the series is the author closed/concluded all the the “loose” ends of the varied issues of the other characters, a trait many authors don’t do!!! As for location of Detective (ret.) Palace in “the end,”....couldn’t have done it any better short of my wish that the initial impact and reactions of some of the characters, and or the planets reaction of same.
Loved the series and the writing style of this author. I’ve purchased this authors other 2 books. Excellent series, Thanks!!!!
But you should not be reading this because it is a decent police procedural series. You should read it because it is a fascinating and scary mediation on what it would be like to face the end of the world.
Overlying and under-girding everything is the certain impact of a dinosaur-extinction-sized asteroid about to strike the earth and end all organized life forms for millions of years. Winters does a great job of putting the reader into the mind frame of waiting for the impact. He riffles through many different ways people react to the knowledge that on a specific day, at a specific time, their lives will absolutely end. He shows the slow-motion disintegration of society, the various means of irrational denial, and has it all accelerate as the asteroid comes nearer. You are there with the first person protagonist; Winters drags you into the frame and you start to live under the shadow of the asteroid yourself, disagreeing with the narrator's choices at times, arguing to make choices you would be making instead.
I rated this a four and not a five mainly because the second novel dragged a little bit, which is typical for trilogies it seems. And some of the plot lines and characters were a little bit fanastical, although in the face of the end of the world perhaps they were dead on.
The final book really brought a lot of it together, And even if you know how the world will end, there are still choices to be made in how to write about it, and Winters ended it well.
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