World of Trouble, the final book in The Last Policeman trilogy by Ben Winters finds Henry Palace working to solve his last case. He’s hunting for his sister, last seen leaving with a group who claimed they knew how to divert the asteroid and save the world. He has two weeks before the end of the world in which to do it and only a handful of clues.
The Last Policeman has been an intense, well-written series, and World of Trouble is no exception. Jumping the time forward allows Winters to show how the United States has adjusted to the oncoming catastrophe—mostly, it has fragmented. Hank, as is typical of the character we have come to know through the last two books, has the towns categorized. “Red towns” are violent, armed, and unfriendly; “green” are pretending life is going on as usual, “blue” are uneasy, and so on. Some people have paired up to party until the end, some are in hiding, some are holding onto hope that the asteroid might yet be turned aside.
Winters has a knack for choosing vignettes that give insight into this new world, painting a plausible picture of a world on the edge. There’s the pair of kids who have decided to release the zoo animals only to find themselves chased by the tiger, for example, or the couple holding barbeques until the end. Hank’s travels take him to each of these places, and in each case, he tries to help—and to find information. Winters has created a complex, driven character in these last books. Hank’s driving need is to solve each case, to put the pieces into place before the clock runs out, but the decisions he makes are seldom cut and dried.
The Last Policeman series is a unique blend of noir and apocalyptic. It is supremely well-written and will keep you hooked until the last page. Recommended for fans of mystery, science fiction, slice-of-life stories, and just plain good writing.
Expected publication: July 15th 2014 by Quirk Books (Pre-order : World of Trouble from Amazon)
ISBN: 1594746850 (ISBN13: 9781594746857)