The Last Policeman

The Last Policeman by Ben H. Winters

⭐️⭐️⭐️ 1/2 Pages: 316

A giant asteroid is plummeting towards the earth, so why solve a murder? That is the existential question at the heart of the book The Last Policeman by Ben H. Winters. The premise is intriguing, offering two unique plots that are intertwined, the investigation into the murder (believed to be a suicide, not a spoiler) and overhanging shadow of 2011GV1 or Maia (the asteroid).

As I said, the concept is interesting. Our protagonist Hank Palace is a new detective, but much of the force has mentally checked out, people stopped caring since the asteroid will destroy the earth. Hank starts investigating a suicide (which has become common), but finds some oddities and decides to investigate. Another unique law that the US government has produced is citizens can be jailed without trial for minor offenses, meaning being arrested is basically a death sentence.

I didn’t find Hank to be a great main character, he was an eager young detective, following the rules, but really there aren’t any rules with the impending doom of the asteroid. When he should appear admirable he just seems to live out his dream of being a detective and oblivious to anything else aside from his investigation.

The book is the first in a trilogy and I’ve seen that many people think it works better as a whole trilogy than just a standalone book. Based on the concept I will more than likely read the rest of the trilogy. I think it would make a great TV show, True Detective mixed with West World maybe? A slow, introspective mystery, with an intriguing concept!

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