Saturday, September 9, 2017

The Last Policeman by Ben Winters

I have a confession:  I got this book out because I worked with Ben's brother, Andy and because it takes place mostly in Concord, NH, a city that I now work in and know somewhat well. That being said, I don't regret getting this book out at all and I actually really loved it.

It's not unusual to have a murder in a mystery.  A cast of unique and quirky characters with interesting backstories and even insurmountable odds. However, the insurmountable odd in this series is an asteroid that is inevitably going to hit the earth but no one knows where on the earth is going to hit exactly. In spite of this, Detective Palace of the Concord Police Department is investigating what he believes to be the homicide of a local insurance agent that was found hanging in the bathroom of a local fast food restaurant.  The fast food restaurant is obviously a Mickey D's although the company itself has gone out of business, as has Dunkin' Donuts (a sacrilege in New England). Cell phone service is getting more and more spotty. Many employees are going "bucket list" - they are quitting their jobs and their lives and trying to do everything that they wouldn't have done during their normal lives under normal circumstances.  This includes many police officers. Who wants to solve a murder when the world is going to end by the close of the year?

The insurance agent's body is found hanging in a seeming suicide but our protagonist thinks that it was a homicide and not a suicide and is dead set on proving that he's right. I found myself starting off thinking that Palace was just going to be a regular, dogged grunt.  But then I found myself giving him more and more respect as the very well written novel progressed. He followed his instincts and was persistent, dogged even, in attempting to find justice for his victim in the light of much heel digging and joking. The novel itself moves quickly and with confidence. I loved Detective Palace and I loved the premise of the book: in a time when everyone has an "I Don't Give a F***" attitude, I  was very happy to see someone who just went about his business.

Go get this - I'm about to go get the second novel in the trilogy!  :)

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