Tuesday, 20 May 2014

Review: The Last Policeman: A Novel by Ben H Winters

The Premise: From the author of Sense and Sensibility and Sea Monsters, comes a brand new trilogy titled The Last Policeman series, with the first novel titled: "The Last Policeman: A Novel" (2012). The story takes place in a pre-apocalyptic world and follows Detective Hank Palace, as he attempts to solve a suspicious suicide in a city where suicides are quite frequent. The novel is linked with the tag line: "What's the point in solving murders if we're all going to die soon, anyway?" The story follows the narrative which most mystery novels ask and that is "whodunnit" and the novel has many twists and turns, where all the evidence points to it being a suicide but also, you are skeptical as Palace unravels the mystery for you. Along with that, there is the underlying narrative and that is the story of Palace himself; who he is, his job, his role as a policeman/detective and his family and friends. Without spoiling anything, I believe the underlying narrative about Palace is the interweaving aspect that will unravel within the next two books in the series and also, the narrative of the effects of imminent and inevitable end of the world. From what I have read and seen, each book comes with a new "case" so to speak.

My overall thoughts and review? To begin with, it is INCREDIBLY refreshing to read a story that is set in the pre-apocalyptic as opposed to the post-apocalyptic. It brings an interesting dynamic to a world that is awaiting the inevitable end of the world, and how each character reacts to it. It asks the question, is crime even worth solving when the end is so near? The context for the end is also interesting, because even after the first book there is still lots to be developed. When reading this, it reminded me a lot of Robert Galibrath's (JK Rowling's) The Cuckoo's Calling murder mystery type narrative. I thoroughly enjoyed reading from the perspective of Palace and I found it really interesting that he was kind of ambivalent towards the end of the world and placed more emphasis on the actual case and stuck through it even when all signs point to, it isn't worth solving. I also found the underlying narrative of Palace and his sister interesting too which was spliced in between the scenes of the case. I am now already onto the second book in the novel which is currently out, titled Countdown City and I can't wait to read the next part of the novel, where Palace is in fact, no longer an actual policeman and with the deadline of the end of the world quickly approaching.

Rating of the book: 4/5 stars.

For more information on Ben H Winters and the series, you can read his website http://benhwinters.com/  or on his twitter at https://twitter.com/benhwinters!

Disclaimer: This book was sent to me from Quirk for consideration/review. All opinions are my own. 


  1. This sounds like such a cool concept! There have been so many post-apocalyptic novels recently, which is awesome, but it's interesting to have a story set in a pre-apocalyptic world.

    1. For sure! I hope you read it. I really liked it!