Tuesday, September 17, 2013

The Last Policeman by Ben Winters

I'm adding a new rating, the Animal Lover Rating (ALR). If you are like me, one scene where an animal is abused or traumatized can ruin a story, so I figure forewarning is appropriate. Since the ALR explanation will often be a bit of a spoiler, I'll put the details at the end of the review. Here's the rating system:

RED - scary stuff, danger, either animals are cruelly treated or you will cry and cry
YELLOW - caution, possibly some animals in scary situations which might or might not resolve happily
GREEN - nothing to fear
BLUE - no animals at all (as if) or only the briefest mention "oh look at the cows"

The Last Policeman
by Ben Winters
3 stars - worth reading
ALR - Green

There's a big ass meteor headed for our planet. Thanks to modern science, everybody knows the exact date of arrival and that when it hits it will immediately wipe out a big chunk of the planet and leave the rest a cold, ash covered place with unknown chances of human survival.

So now what do you do? The arrival is six months away when the book opens. People are reacting in various ways. Some are ditching everything and doing their "bucket list" others are trying to just go about their business. Inflation is out of control, there are new strict laws (as in your trial date is... never), but for the most part, folks are living their lives. I mean, after all, you can't run, you can't hide, and you don't know if you're on the direct hit path or not.

In Concord, New Hampshire, Hank Palace, newly promoted police detective, is doing his job. So when he is called to a suicide that looks like something more, he dutifully treats it like a homicide and tries to find the perpetrator. Easier said than done. Nobody else in the department seems to care and the dead guy's family and friends are all taking the suicide story to heart.

I actually found the book a bit disturbing and I'm not sure I will read the rest of the series. Because we can see the world, society, unraveling in subtle (and some not so subtle) ways and all along I'm wondering what I would do and getting kind of freaked out.

It's not a bad little book. It's a quick read and will keep you guessing up until the end. The ending itself was so so, but since there are two more books, you can keep going if you so choose.

ALR - Green
Very minor poodle-ish dog character who sees his master killed but is later adopted and seems to be just fine.


  1. Like the ALR addition. The book I just finished was shockingly RED on your scale and I'm now apprehensive about the rest of the series.

  2. I can't read this book. I sleep poorly and dream very vividly, so this would greatly bother me. And I like your color coding ALR system, too.