The Last Policeman by Ben Winters

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The Last Policeman by Ben Winters

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sep 21, 2015, 6:14pm

The Last Policeman is pre-apocalyptic, strictly speaking. But it tries to describe a society that knows almost to the day when life will alter forever - the day a monster meteorite is predicted to collide with the earth.

Winters mostly spends time conceptualizing how individuals are handling the bad news. Suicide and drug use are common outlets. Society is staggering along; some people cash out and look for their bliss, others stay at their posts, but sometimes only bodily.

I didn't particularly like the book. There were several logic flaws and a poorly explained secondary plot concerning Henry's sister. It was a depressing read and the mystery Henry was trying to solve was not particularly absorbing. I wouldn't choose to spend two more books with Henry; he's frankly boring and depressing.

But it did get me thinking about the premise. One aspect I think Winters overlooked is the possibility that some people would become more giving and charitable; one last chance to get things right.

sep 21, 2015, 9:46pm

I have the series on my kindle, waiting for me to read someday.

Have you read On the Beach? Nevil Shute imagined an extremely civilized reaction to the impending apocalypse.

sep 21, 2015, 10:09pm

I've been wanting to read The Last Policeman.... I'm not sure how/whether to prioritize it now.

>2 SylviaC: I have only read On the Beach once, years ago, but I adored it. I've read an unusual (for an American) number of Nevil Shute novels. Oddly, that is not the only one of his with a genre influence.... Most are mainstream war/historical/Australian novels, but In the Wet has a slight genre element.

sep 21, 2015, 10:17pm

>3 amysisson: He's one of my favourite authors. An Old Captivity has that element, too, but is a much brighter story than either of those.

sep 22, 2015, 9:37am

I've read the whole series. There are some civilized reactions to the impending doom, especially in the third book. Sad to say, though, I think such a reaction would be rare.

sep 22, 2015, 5:08pm

I too read On the Beach many many years ago. I'll have to dig it out again.

sep 22, 2015, 5:42pm

The interesting thing about OTB, for me as a modern reader/viewer, is the exact duplication between book and film in most scenes. No complaints there about production discretion.

sep 22, 2015, 6:47pm

Sounds like Nevil Schute "On the Beach" 1957 - movie 1959. I looked that up before I read the following comment. Could have saved myself some time! I was in my twenties when I read that book and saw the movie. It was VERY upsetting. We expected the atom or the hydrogen bomb at any time and had expected it since WWII ended. If you ever wonder how the MIC (military industrial,etc.) took over, well, they scared us to death.

Redigeret: sep 24, 2015, 2:22am

Interesting. My reaction to The Last Policeman was rather the exact opposite of the OP's. I thought it's entire spectrum of characters' reactions to the impending catastrophe seemed extremely human. Rather than describing a society on the brink, I felt the author was trying to say something about being human in general. Tastes differ, of course, but I thought the trilogy was well worth reading. It has become one of my favourites in the apocalyptic genre.

>"...a poorly explained secondary plot concerning Henry's sister." This secondary plot runs through all three books .

(BTW, TLP won an Edgar in 2012.)

sep 28, 2015, 8:31am

I read the trilogy this summer and enjoyed it very much.

sep 28, 2015, 8:39am

It was certainly different. But to me it read more like a police procedural/crime novel than really an apocalyptic one, and sadly the change in characters motivations wasn't enough to make it interesting enough to want to continue reading the series.