THE LAST POLICEMAN

Ben H Winters

2012 Edgar Award Winner, Amazon.com Best Book of 2012, Slate Best Book of 2012

What’s the point in solving murders if we’re all going to die soon, anyway?

Detective Hank Palace has faced this question ever since asteroid 2011GV1 hovered into view. There’s no chance left. No hope. Just six precious months until impact.

The Last Policeman presents a fascinating portrait of a pre-apocalyptic United States. The economy spirals downward while crops rot in the fields. Churches and synagogues are packed. People all over the world are walking off the job—but not Hank Palace.

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2012 Edgar Award Winner, Amazon.com Best Book of 2012, Slate Best Book of 2012

What’s the point in solving murders if we’re all going to die soon, anyway?

Detective Hank Palace has faced this question ever since asteroid 2011GV1 hovered into view. There’s no chance left. No hope. Just six precious months until impact.

The Last Policeman presents a fascinating portrait of a pre-apocalyptic United States. The economy spirals downward while crops rot in the fields. Churches and synagogues are packed. People all over the world are walking off the job—but not Hank Palace. He’s investigating a death by hanging in a city that sees a dozen suicides every week—except this one feels suspicious, and Palace is the only cop who cares.

The first in a trilogy, The Last Policeman offers a mystery set on the brink of an apocalypse. As Palace’s investigation plays out under the shadow of 2011GV1, we’re confronted by hard questions way beyond “whodunit.” What basis does civilization rest upon? What is life worth? What would any of us do, what would we really do, if our days were numbered?

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  • Quirk Books
  • Paperback
  • July 2012
  • 336 Pages
  • 9781594746741

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$14.95

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About Ben H Winters

Ben H Winters is the author of The Last Policeman trilogy. The Last Policeman, the first book in the trilogy, 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. Countdown City, the second book, was an NPR Best Book of 2013 and the winner of the Philip K. Dick Award. Ben has written eight novels in total, along with nonfiction, poetry, and plays.

Praise

“...sharp, funny, and deeply wise.”Slate.com

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 magazine

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 magazine

A promising kickoff to a planned trilogy. For Winters, the beauty is in the details rather than the plot’s grim main thrust.Kirkus Reviews, STARRED review

Discussion Questions

Do you think Ben H. Winters paints a convincing picture of Concord, New Hampshire, and of the world at large with only six months until the asteroid might collide with the earth?

The economy is spiraling downward while crops rot in the fields. Churches and synagogues are packed. People all over the world are walking off the job—but not Hank Palace. What do you think motivates Hank to remain dedicated to his work? And is his character realistic?

Hank has finally attained his lifelong goal of becoming a detective but his promotion is due to the fact that all of his colleagues are quitting. Do you think Hank feels the need to prove himself in order to make his dream of being a detective real and fulfilled?

When you learned of how the hospital is handling the patients, how did you react?

Hank has a complicated relationship with his sister and doesn’t like her husband. Were you surprised when Hank took on the risk of looking for Nico’s husband?

Hank has a brief but intimate relationship with Naomi. Is love at the end of the world possible?

Toward the end of the book Hank finds himself alone and seems to be OK with it. Are you surprised that he took in Houdini as a pet?

This novel is a mash-up of mystery and science fiction. If you’re a fan of mystery and not science fiction, did any of the science fiction aspects of the book appeal to you? (Vice versa for the science fiction fans.)

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 six months before the apocalypse, what would your bucket list look like?