Ben H. Winters. You might recognize this author's name - he penned the New York Times bestseller Sense and Sensibility and Sea Monsters. Winters' latest book The Last Policeman is just as imaginative and inventive.
I've got a fondness for post apocalyptic fiction, but Winters has penned a pre-apocalyptic novel.
The Last Policeman is set in the months before the world as we know it will end. It is inevitable - an asteroid is going to hit the earth and the impact will destroy our planet. What would you do, knowing the world was ending? Start ticking off items on your bucket list? End things on your terms? Henry Castle does none of that, instead he continues on as normal. He's a newly appointed detective on a police force that is dwindling, both in resources and manpower. When Henry is called to an apparent suicide, he can't shake the niggling feeling that this death may not be what it looks like. And in a world about to end, Henry pursues this case as a murder.
Henry was such an engaging character - earnest, forthright, honest, polite, trusting and an anomaly in these times. Even though the world will end, he chooses to stay true to himself and his beliefs until the day that happens. Winters' plot is full of twists and red herrings. I truly enjoyed Hank's dogged and determined pursuit of the truth.
"Right at this moment I have to decide, is the thing. Am I going to leave town and go north to Maine and find a house on Casco Bay and sit there and stare out the window with my sidearm and wait, or am I going to stay here and do my work and finish my case. My cases."
I've read lots of post apocalyptic fiction, but it was interesting to read Winters' view of what the world might hold before that final blow. Winters gives us lots of food for thought in people's actions and words.
There's a secondary plot involving Hank's sister, that I thought was filler until the last few chapters. It caught me off guard and piqued my interest for the next book, as The Last Policeman is the first in a trilogy. The Last Policeman was an unusual blend of sci-fi and mystery that just worked. I'm curious to see what else will happen before the asteroid hits.....or after.
Read an excerpt of The Last Policeman. You can find Ben H. Winters on Twitter.