The Last Policeman by Ben H. Winters
It’s the end of the world as we know it, and he feels fine. Well, actually, he doesn’t feel fine. A suspicious suicide has disturbed his sense of order
An asteroid is bearing down on earth. Mankind has 6 months left. But Detective Hank Palace of Concord, New Hampshire has more immediate concerns. An actuary with a seemingly precise life is found dead in a fast food restaurant. It looks like a suicide, a very popular option in these last days.
However, something doesn’t feel right to Palace. He investigates the death as a murder, despite pressure to declare the death a suicide and move on. The book’s back cover says it best. “What’s the point in solving murders if we’re all going to die soon, anyway?”
My favorite part of this book was the main character, Hank Palace. He’s got a “just the facts ma’am” attitude and an instinctive desire to do things right. The world may be ending, but that’s no reason conduct sloppy detecting!
His determination to do things right is not motivated by an idealistic dedication to protect the public or serve the people. No, it’s more personal, almost selfish. Letting a murder be classified a suicide would disturb his sense of order, akin to eating ice cream for breakfast or going to the grocery store in pajamas. It’s just not right. As a librarian with an acute sense of order, I can relate to this outlook.
What would you do if the world was ending in 6 months? Would you quit your job? Rush through your bucket list? Indulge your dark fantasies? Or make sure you did your job right, cause letting things slide would bother you?
Watch the skies men!