The Last Policeman Series by Ben H. Winters
The Last Policeman, Countdown City, World of Trouble
Recommended! Fast and Enthralling Mysteries
I’m pretty bad at series, let’s all just accept that. I think this might be the only series I’ve started and finished this year? Ah well, I suppose that should go to show you how easy and fun a read they were! The series takes place over the few months before the world ends. Certainly a fun setup, huh!?
Our main character, Hank Palace, is a detective working in the police force in these last days when he stumbles upon a murder during the course of an investigation. Initially the murder is pegged as ‘yet again’ another suicide. As can be expected, with the knowledge of the world’s ultimate end so close many people are taking a bit of faster route out seeing no point in sticking around. It’s a dim and depressing setting to put a story, but it works. Hank is the only one who sees the murder for what it is and even cares to investigate. The series spirals out from there, descending downwards as the world it’s set in, further into chaos and darkness.
I enjoyed the shit out of all three books. I can’t pick a weaker book in fact, all three came across fairly strong. The characters were all believable for me, you’ll see some of the tropes you might expect in this setting but you also begin to see depth to them. The narrative is told in a disconnected manner that might through some people off so that’s something to keep in mind. For me that seemed to further enforce Hank’s mentality. He keeps going. The world is ending, it didn’t matter if it was 4 months out or 2 days, he kept going. Was it just stubbornness or something else? I have my opinions on that, but nothing I can safely discuss without spoiling it. I just really enjoyed it for that.
I also felt the world too, after a certain point it almost feels ruined and empty – which again, I feel like would be the case. You see people struggling to hold on, hoping. You’ll also see people just flat out giving up. The world around Hank reflects that as he travels and works, continuing to be a policeman. It’s what he is, so it’s what he does. He’s the classic white knight and so he continues to be that white knight even in the darkest of times. The final book, of course the darkest of the three is where things get personal and harder hitting. We see our knight crumble just like the world around him. It’s all so well done.
I really recommend this series for anyone. My only reservation is disconnected feeling to the stories, especially in the beginning, but it’s well worth that if you don’t mind it. They are also hella fast reads, I blew through each book in less than 4 hours each (though I tried super hard to make that last one stretch out). Great series, I’ll definitely put this on the reread list.