Friday, April 25, 2014

Ben Winter's Last Policeman Trilogy and Why You Should Read It

So I'm going to share with you all one of my favorite book series' today. It's the Last Policeman trilogy by Ben Winters. The first two books are available now. "The Last Policeman" is the first book and the second is "Countdown City". I'm going to tell you a little about Ben, a little about the books, and hopefully by then you will all be as jazzed to read the third book as I am when it comes out in July. Though if Quirk would like to send me an ARC so I could read it before everyone else I would be pumped. (I'm not too proud to beg.)

Let's start with Ben. First you can find him on twitter at : @BenHWinters. He's pretty active on there. These books are not his first, he also wrote "Sense & Sensibilities and Sea Monsters." (He's written others too but I just wanted to use this picture, so sue me). We all know how I feel about Jane Austen but I'm still a little tempted to read this. Mostly because of the cover. I also like Ben because he lives in Indianapolis, which is a city I have spent some time in. All my mom's family is from Indiana and I spent many a summer in backwoods, straight country Indiana so Ben gets some points for being a Hoosier.

Laughing and repulsed all at the same time.

Anyway, back to the trilogy. 

"The Last Policeman" came out in July of 2012. And it was a finalist for the Edgar Award for best original paperback. 

So here's a quick and dirty summary. Hank Palace is a newly minted police detective in Concord, New Hampshire. In early 2012 the world is given some life changing news, an asteroid will be colliding with earth within the year and it will probably wipe out all life on the planet. Maia will be making contact with earth on October 3rd. There are measures taken to keep the world from dissolving into complete chaos, but it's inevitable in some degrees in some places.

Hank copes with this news by staying on the job. It's a much depleted squad with much depleted resources but to maintain some kind of normalcy he dresses in work appropriate clothes, follows protocol and keeps doing his job. One day he is called to the scene of a suspected suicide in a McDonald's bathroom. These calls are not unusual, a lot of people are coping with their impending doom by ending their lives. What troubles Hank about this suicide is that the victim hung himself with a very expensive belt, but all of his other clothes were very cheap. He suspects murder, but everyone left on the force rolls their eyes and tells him to let it go. Everyone's going to be dead in October anyway, right?

Hank doesn't let it go. There is drugs, fraud, his weird sister and her trouble making husband, a beautiful girl and more. The deeper he digs the more dangerous it gets!

"Countdown City" was released in July of 2013.

Hank has been granted early retirement (yay?) from the police force, so he is off the crime beat, at least officially. A woman that he hasn't seen in years appears at his door begging for help to find her missing husband. There are only 77 days until the asteroid comes and Hank doesn't tell her that at this point there's nothing he can do for her or anyone else. People are going missing every day. Most of them by choice.

But because Hank and this woman have a past, and because he needs something to do to keep his mind off the fact that Maia is going to be hitting Indonesia soon, he agrees to help. The world has gotten rougher and less civilized from when we left it last. There is a very short scene with a housewife, and young boy on a skateboard, and some water that really stopped me in my tracks and gave me pause.

Nico, Hank's sister helps him with this case, which is kind of a mixed blessing. There's a lot of scenes at a college campus that has dissolved into an anarchist commune-type of place awash with drugs and conspiracy theories. As Hank works on the case he to find Brett Cavatone he founds out things about what the government is doing even he is shocked...

What I think is the greatest thing about these books is it asks the question: "You know the day of your death. What do you do? How do you act? Do you keep on? Do you end at all? Do you turn into a monster? Do you turn into a saint? How do you cope?" It's these questions that really roll around in your brain while you're reading these books.I also thought it was interesting that a lot of people go "bucket list". When you realize that you're time is numbered people suddenly decide to do the things they always wanted. Paddle the Amazon, see the Grand Canyon, live in Paris... no time like the present!

This book also just won the Philip K Dick Award for 2014 as well!

The third and final book "World of Trouble" comes out July of this year! Will everyone die? Will there be a last minute savior? Will it whiz right by earth and then all of this chaos was for nothing?!?! I have so many questions!

Are you intrigued? I hope you are! Has anyone else read these?

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