COUNTDOWN CITY

The Last Policeman Book II

Ben H Winters

NPR Best Book for 2013, Philip K. Dick Award Winner

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.

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NPR Best Book for 2013, Philip K. Dick Award Winner

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 justgone. 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?

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  • Quirk Books
  • Paperback
  • July 2013
  • 320 Pages
  • 9781594746260

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About Ben H Winters

Ben H. Winters is the author of World of Trouble, the conclusion to the Last Policeman Trilogy. Countdown City, the second book in the trilogy, was an NPR Best Book of 2013 and the winner of the Philip K. Dick Award. The Last Policeman was the recipient of the 2012 Edgar Award from the Mystery Writers of America; it was also named one of the Best Books of 2012 by Amazon.com and Slate. Ben has written eight novels in total, along with nonfiction, poetry, and plays.

Praise

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

Winters is a deft storyteller who moves his novel effortlessly from its intriguing setup to a thrilling, shattering conclusion.”—Los Angeles Review of Books

Through it all Palace remains a likeable hero for end times...”—PublishersWeekly.com

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

Discussion Questions

Do you think the author paints a convincing picture of Concord, New Hampshire, and of the world at large with only three months until the asteroid collides with Earth?

Now that the precise point of the asteroid’s impact has been announced, “impact zone” refugees are leaving their homes and flooding the United States. Would you take this chance and flee your country for the possibility of finding safety elsewhere?

When you learned of how the United States is handling the refugees, how did you react? Is it right to turn them away? Even if some of them are children?

As in The Last Policeman, people continue to abandon their jobs and disappear from their previous lives. Does it surprise you when Martha approaches Hank to find her husband?

Why do you think Hank decides to take on Martha’s case? What do you think this says about Hank’s character?

Hank’s sister, Nico, continues to believe that the asteroid and information about its impact are part of a conspiracy. Do you think she is a credible character?

What do you think about the fact that Hank turns to his sister for help in his search for Brett Cavatone?

While searching for Brett, Hank and Nico visit an anarchist encampment to collect more information about Cavatone and his whereabouts. What did you think of the encampment’s security measures and justice system?

What is your reaction to the scene when Hank closes in on Brett Cavatone?

Given the collapse of law and order in the novel, do you think it’s OK for Hank and Brett to take extreme action if it will save lives?

Do you think that Hank, or anyone else, might survive the impact of the asteroid? Or do you believe Hank’s days truly are numbered?

If you knew there were only 77 days before an apocalypse would occur, what would your bucket list look like?