The Last Policeman

The Last Policeman  - Ben H. Winters

One of the things I love about science fiction, disaster movies, and pre/post-apocalyptic stories is the examination of the inevitable breakdown of society. To see it from a detective’s point of view, during the course of a murder investigation, was something new to me and it made for some damn fine reading.


Detective Henry Palace is an interesting character. He’s a pedantic by-the-book sort who sees no point in losing it just because a ginormous asteroid is on a collision course with Earth and set to render the planet uninhabitable if it doesn’t destroy it outright. Nope. He’s got a job to do and he’s going to do it. The impending doom of the entire planet is no excuse for people tossing their morals to the winds. Though he’s not entirely likable, he is relatable (to me, at least, being a fellow pedant and all), and I found this book absolutely engrossing. The thing I found most annoying about him was, as the investigation progressed, his repeating cycle of “Aha! That’s it! Why couldn’t I see it before? I’m so stupid! No, wait. That’s it! Why couldn’t I see it before? I’m so stupid!” with varying degrees of self-blame for his perceived slip-ups. Still, it’s a minor nit-pick and didn’t impact my enjoyment much at all.


Minus points for being written in first person present tense, which I’ve never liked but will tolerate for a good story, and this was a spanking good story.