Book Review – Countdown City by Ben H. Winters

Review of: Countdown City
Ben H. Winters

Reviewed by:
On 2015-03-02
Last modified:2015-03-02


Interesting, but a bit unsatisfying

Countdown City by Ben H. Winters

Countdown City by Ben H. Winters

The blurb impacts:

Detective Hank Palace returns in Countdown City, the second volume of the Last Policeman trilogy. There are just 77 days before a deadly asteroid collides with Earth, and Detective Palace is out of a job. With the Concord police force operating under the auspices of the U.S. Justice Department, Hank’s days of solving crimes are over…until a woman from his past begs for help finding her missing husband.

Brett Cavatone disappeared without a trace—an easy feat in a world with no phones, no cars, and no way to tell whether someone’s gone “bucket list” or just gone. With society falling to shambles, Hank pieces together what few clues he can, on a search that leads him from a college-campus-turned-anarchist-encampment to a crumbling coastal landscape where anti-immigrant militia fend off “impact zone” refugees.

This is the second book in the series and it has basically the same strengths and weaknesses as the first book.  The idea of someone trying to keep doing his job even after the world is doomed is an interesting one, but the central question of why he would do that is never answered.

The actual central mystery of the case is interesting but feels sort of irrelevant in the context of the end of the world.

The hints in the first book about some possible conspiracy for surviving or preventing the asteroid impact are also echoed in the second book, but nothing really crystallizes.  Presumably this will all come to a head in the third book, since by the end of the second book there isn’t much time left until the asteroid’s arrival.

It was interesting how the books track the collapse of society – it makes the main character’s investigation more difficult because it’s not taking place in a stable environment.