Publisher: Quirk Publishing
Publication Date: 13 May 2013
Format: Paperback, 336 pgs
Source: Personal Library
I have to confess I'm a huge fan of mystery & crime, but not so in science fiction. Movies, however, is another matter. This fiction piqued my interest due to all the rave reviews I have read from the blogging community, and since this has the mystery element, I thought if the sci-fi part didn't interest me, at least I have the mystery part to keep me interested. And after having read the book, I was glad to say I wasn't disappointed, both the mystery and the sci-fi part. Yes, that speaks a lot, isn't it?
Now back to the book. First of all, I liked the title. If you are a regular reader of this blog, you'd know that I'm a big fan of crime thrillers. Flawed protagonists intrigue me the same way they solve their cases. What makes The Last Policeman stands out among the rest is the pre-apocalyptic setting, and the protagonist, Detective Henry "Hank" Palace of the Concord Police Department, is definitely not flawed. To me, he is more than a detective; he is a hero in my opinion.
Despite learning that the asteroid is going to hit the Earth soon and that the whole world would be wiped out, Detective Palace didn't let this calamity get to him. Although he feels the dread, he carries on with his duties like usual, hoping to solve the cases as best as he can, such as the latest suicide case of an insurance man, Peter Zell. While the rest of the law enforcement team thinks Peter Zell ended his life due to depression with the news of the asteroid and everything, Detective Palace didn't think so. He goes in search of finding answers to Peter's death, more determined than ever.
While The Last Policeman is very much of a detective story, I think at its core it reflects on how people react and behave under stressful and critical situations. While there are peeps who scrambled or resort to taking their own lives, there are also peeps who try to lead their lives like normalcy and/or live it to their fullest (yes, I'm thinking of Detective Henry Palace). While the topic is sad and seems like a hopeless situation, still it is interesting to look at the human behaviours from another angle.
And then there is the conscientious Detective Henry Palace who feels obliged to examine the question of motive in a new light, and the end of the world changes everything from a law-enforcement perspective. I admired his determination, his strong sense of justice despite the calamity. He does what he can, and dig harder should he meets a dead end; he still has a purpose, from the start to the end. Yes, you can say I've found another favourite literary character. I'm hoping the author would continue writing Detective Henry Palace even if this trilogy ends. I'm sure many readers will agree with me on this.
* This book won the 2012 Edgar Award in the category Best Paperback Original.