Monday, August 5, 2013

The Last Policeman: An original novel from the man who gave us Android Karenina

There's a relatively slow-moving asteroid heading straight for Earth, and it will almost certainly wipe out all organic life upon impact. Thanks to modern science, everyone knows the exact day this will happen. NO thanks to modern science, there's absolutely nothing anyone can do to stop it.

Nope. You're all gonna die.

With roughly 6 months until the end of the world, people are coping primarily by walking off the job (going Bucket List, as they say) or committing suicide (skipping the List and going straight for the Bucket). So what we step into is a barely functioning pre-apocalyptic United States where there are so many suicides each week that the police department doesn't even bother to investigate them anymore. At the same time, the powers of local law enforcement have been amped up to help prevent widespread chaos, and being arrested for even a minor offense could mean sitting in a cell until the Big Kaboom. So the stakes are high, you see.

We find Hank Palace—a young patrolman recently promoted to detective when his predecessor decided he would rather be racing yachts—at the scene of an apparent suicide in the stall of a McDonald's bathroom. But he's the only one, including the dead man's family and coworkers, who isn't convinced it's a suicide, and he'll get to the bottom of this and bring the guilty party (if there IS one) to justice if it takes the rest of his time on Earth.

Because he IS the law.

He's not literally the LAST policeman, but he seems to be the last one in the city who cares to do his job responsibly, rather than to satisfy a power trip or get a reliable Internet connection. But the whole point is that doing his job at all is a little more complicated these days.
Still, the conscientious detective is obliged to examine the question of motive in a new light, to place it within the matrix of our present unusual circumstances. The end of the world changes everything, from a law enforcement perspective. (p. 115)
So there's THAT mystery to solve. There's also a little something in the realm of a conspiracy theory, which isn't resolved in this book because something had to be saved for the sequel (Countdown City, available now at a fine independent bookseller near you!).

I don't have feelings of love for this book. And I can't put my finger on what it was that fell flat for me, because the premise is clearly intriguing and I usually like stories about the end of humanity. It could be that I never felt fully connected to any of the characters. It could also be that my heart is made of aluminum cans and plastic wrap (fully recyclable). But I DID gasp and say "OH NO" out loud when a thing happened to one of the characters. So it wasn't a complete failure in the character development department. And I DO think I shall read the next in the series . . . eventually.

Can you just read this one and tell me if I should definitely like it?

Look how helpful I am.



    That premise DOES sound good. How do people travel? Are pilots still piloting?

  2. This book seems muy interesante, hmmm.
    However, I'm more interested in your aluminum can heart. Does it run on Cola? Cream soda? Beer?

  3. No. It is *I* who is amused by YOU. So there.

    There's no more piloting of things because there's a massive fuel shortage...because so many people have stopped doing there jobs. Hardly anyone even drives a car anymore unless they can afford to pay exorbitant gas prices.

  4. My ALLEGED aluminum can heart. The jury's still out.

  5. This book SOUNDS interesting. (Also didn't they make a movie sort of about this with Steve Carrel and Kiera Knightly? That was a thing, right?)

    Anyway, so since this is a series I suppose the world does not end at the end of the book. Or it does and the rest of the series is very different.

  6. It sounds interesting, so if I happen to stumble on a copy i'll pick it up and let you know if you should be loving or not loving it.

    That Judge Cat Dredd is perfection.

  7. Yeeeeees. Seeking a Friend for the End of the World, which was a pretty cute movie. But the tone of this is a little more...dire, in general. No quirky Keira Knightleys in sight.

    There's still, like, 6 months left until the end of the world by the end of the book. So who knows how many follow-up books they can squeeze in before the boom. Probably a lot.

  8. You're a good friend.

    And Judge Grumpy Dredd what I call him.

  9. Oh and I forgot to comment about how hard it is for me to take the author seriously when they're responsible for Android Karenina which, granted I never actually read, but always seemed like the absolute bottom of the 'insert monsters into classics' trend.

  10. This sounds really cool! I like end-of-the-world books like this, and books that make me say "OH NO". A leeeeetle put off by there being a sequel, but adding it to my TBR anyways.
    Also, SO MUCH LOVE for that last gif :)

  11. I totally agree.

    He ALSO wrote Sense and Sensibility and Sea Monsters, but that title is loooong.

  12. Sequels ARE off-putting. I'm not sure why.

    But I think you would like this one. I'm pretty confident about that.