Countdown City (Last Policeman Series #2)

Countdown City (Last Policeman Series #2)

4.3 13
by Ben H. Winters

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"[The] weird, beautiful, unapologetically apocalyptic Last Policeman trilogy is one of my favorite mystery series."—John Green, author of The Fault in Our Stars and Paper Towns

Winner of the 2014 Philip K. Dick Award

The Last Policeman received the 2013 Edgar Award for Best Paperback Original—along with plenty of glowing reviews


"[The] weird, beautiful, unapologetically apocalyptic Last Policeman trilogy is one of my favorite mystery series."—John Green, author of The Fault in Our Stars and Paper Towns

Winner of the 2014 Philip K. Dick Award

The Last Policeman received the 2013 Edgar Award for Best Paperback Original—along with plenty of glowing reviews.  
Now 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.
Countdown City presents another fascinating mystery set on brink of an apocalypse—and once again, Hank Palace confronts questions way beyond "whodunit." What do we as human beings owe to one another? And what does it mean to be civilized when civilization is collapsing all around you?

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
In this sequel to Edgar Award-winning The Last Policeman, Winters intensifies his vision of a lawless apocalyptic society as an asteroid nicknamed "Maia" continues its deadly trajectory toward Earth. Impact: October 3rd. Seventy-seven days from when the narrative picks up. Set in Concord, N.H., where the police force is fraying and money has no value, people are frantically fleeing the Eastern Hemisphere to seek refuge from Maia's direct path, amidst hundreds of U.S. citizens who are simply disappearing. Narrator and straight-laced detective Hank Palace has lost his job, but he still can't resist helping his childhood babysitter Martha Cavatone locate her missing husband. With the end of the world nigh—and a bike as his only mode of transportation—this is no easy task. Clues lead Palace to a colonization of radicals who've overtaken the University of New Hampshire and followed by a forsaken coastal fort used to execute catastrophe immigrants as they approach the shore. While not as well paced or marvelously original as its predecessor, this second installment in a planned trilogy is darker, more violent and more oppressive. Through it all Palace remains a likeable hero for end times, and with Concord already in ruins, readers are left to wonder how he'll survive to tell his final tale. (July)
From the Publisher
An NPR Best Book of 2013
“I always appreciate novels that have new and interesting approaches to traditional genres, and Ben H. Winters' two novels featuring Hank Palace fill the bill.”—Nancy Pearl, NPR
“Winters is brilliant in conveying the ways in which people look for their best impulses but often end up as the victims of other people’s most base instincts.”—Toronto Star

“ of the best mysteries I've read in a long time.”—Nancy Pearl, KUOW

“...the 'don’t lose hope' ending is slam bang, setting us up for the 'final-final' installment.”—Florida Times-Union

A precise, calendar-driven doom casts a shadow over the series, a planet-killer asteroid that the Earth can’t duck, making this an existential policier.”—The Sunbreak

“…a thrilling and contagious read.”—Fayetteville Flyer

“Through it all Palace remains a likeable hero for end times..."—

“Winters is a deft storyteller who moves his novel effortlessly from its intriguing setup to a thrilling, shattering conclusion.”—Los Angeles Review of Books

“...gripping...”—The Free Lance-Star

“... Winters's work shines.”—Locus
“Don't miss this series!”—Sci Fi magazine
“As with the first Hank Palace novel (this is volume 2 of a projected trilogy), the mystery element is strong, and the strange, preapocalyptic world is highly imaginative and also very plausible—it’s easy to think that the impending end of the world might feel very much like this. Genre mash-up master Winters is at it again.”—Booklist

Kirkus Reviews
As the world's inevitable demise draws near, a former cop refuses to shirk what he takes to be his moral responsibilities. Impelled by an inner sense of duty, former Concord police detective Hank Palace starts on a mission to find missing Brett Cavatone when his wife, Hank's former baby sitter, begs him to take the case. As Hank measures the remaining 77 days before asteroid Maia hits, in servings of dog food for his bichon frisé Houdini, he's a man on a mission that, even if successful, may be altogether meaningless. But he has no purpose greater than going through the professional and ethical motions. His stoicism stands in stark contrast with the activism of his sister Nico, who, with her revolutionary friends, is convinced there's a government conspiracy to be found out. Hank must blend in with Nico's world if he's to have any hope of learning what happened to Brett, who's a bit more unpredictable than his wife has led Hank to believe. Even if rumors of a government conspiracy aren't true, civilization is abuzz with secret factions and alliances Hank must understand in order to find out the truth before the clock runs down. Some of the melancholy charm of the first in this series (The Last Policeman, 2012) is dissipated, for Hank solves a less inventive mystery set against, rather than fully integrated into, a hopeless backdrop.

Product Details

Quirk Publishing
Publication date:
Last Policeman Series , #2
Sales rank:
Product dimensions:
5.20(w) x 7.90(h) x 1.00(d)

Meet the Author

New York Times best-selling author Ben H. Winters won an Edgar Award for his debut mysteryThe Last Policeman. His YA novel The Secret Life of Ms. Finkleman was also nominated for an Edgar Award. He lives in Indianapolis with his wife and three children.

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Countdown City 4.4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 13 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I found the first novel of this series so original, compelling, and ___________ (add any or all of your own superlatives to the blank space), that this second in the trilogy was notably more of a straight up private detective mystery. Still immensly enjoyable read.
dhaupt More than 1 year ago
Former police detective Henry Palace is still interested in serving the public, he still dresses for work even though he’s no longer employed, he still meets other “retired” officers of his disassembled unit at the local diner where they commiserate on the state of the world, or what’s left of it. He still believes in serving his community so when approached by his childhood babysitter to locate her missing husband he readily agrees, even though according to the “experts” in 77 days the asteroid known as Maia will hit the Earth with apocalyptic results. There are forces that will attempt to keep him from solving this puzzle and he will re-connect with unlikely allies to help him search. But in the end what does it matter, is he the only voice of reason left in a world gone mad. Or is he just as deranged as the rest of the planet? Ben H. Winters leads his readers by the nose through this second in his pre-apocalyptic trilogy, a terror-filled, can’t put it down, page turner. He uses the most eloquent of dialogues to describe what’s happening in the world, the world where the information highway we enjoy is shutting down more each day, and the inevitable event-to-come is all smoke and mirrors. He lets us use our imagination just enough to scare the bejeezus out of us, but not enough for us to stop turning the pages. He’s a magician with words and phrases and his narrative will flow smoothly through every titillating experience. If you love apocalyptic fiction, pre, post or otherwise this will be your next must read, but to enjoy every page, every scene and every interaction it should be read in order. If you love the novels of Stephen King, Harry Turtledove, Justin Cronin or Orson Scott Card you will love this trilogy too. Ben you’ve taken me on an adventure of a lifetime so far and I’m looking forward to “The End”.
FashionistaNYC More than 1 year ago
i read the Last Policeman and didnt love it but i was intrigued enough to buy the second (i hope there's a third) book ... it was really good .. involving which i am sorry to say the first was not ... not sure you need to read the first book to enjoy the second ... i really want to learn what happens to Hank's sister .. i have one bone to pick .. Hank's friend a former cop was helping find some missing kids .. we never learn what happens to him that struck me as odd .. so now there are two reasons i need a third book
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Another solid entry in the series
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lovelybookshelf More than 1 year ago
Note: This is a joint review of the first two books in the trilogy (no spoilers). A deadly asteroid is bound for earth. There's no hope left: People are abandoning their jobs, their responsibilities, fulfilling bucket lists, committing suicide. Hank Palace is the only policeman left who considers the possibility of murder when 99% of crime scenes are suicides; the only policemen left who cares enough to bother solving the case. I can't believe I almost passed on the opportunity to read and review these two books. I'm kind of picky about mysteries, and crime fiction is usually not my thing, but the pre-apocalyptic angle intrigued me. I'm glad I took a chance, because I raced through these two books, reading them back-to-back. There are 6 months until impact in The Last Policeman, and only 2½ months left in Countdown City. As you can imagine, society deteriorates more and more as time runs out. Both books are riveting. Ben Winters strikes the perfect balance between mystery, thriller, science, and bringing the reader into a society on the brink of devastation. The tone is never too heavy, and certainly not too light. The dialogue is fantastic. And our protagonist? Hank Palace is as kind and caring as he is fierce (when necessary). Considering it is the first book in a trilogy, The Last Policeman had a surprisingly satisfying ending. It wrapped up in such a way that I could have easily put the series aside if I'd wanted, but that wasn't going to happen! Immediately upon finishing, I dived into Countdown City, which was equally as exciting. What's the difference between what's lawful and what's right? When everything seems pointless, and there's no profit or gain, what choices will people make? How will people choose to spend their last few months? There's a short but especially powerful scene of readers holing themselves up in a library, devouring as many books as possible. I couldn't read quickly enough, either: the first two books in Ben Winters's The Last Policeman trilogy are that good. I'm looking forward to reading the final installment. I received a copy of each book from the publisher in exchange for my honest review.
prenoun More than 1 year ago
A nice continuation of the series.  Bleak, but not too bleak -- and the overarching mystery is interesting, but doesn't completely overshadow our fascination with Hank Palace's impending doom.  
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Not enough going on in this book. The first book was only interesting for the first half. The series is dull and plodding...don't waste your money
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Res 1:Map Res 2: Bank Res 3: Weapons store Res 4: Police station Res 5: Subways Res 6: Airport Res 7: Bios Res 8: millitary base Rules: If you get into fights, no playing god. You can rob banks and stuff. No buying 500 kiloton nukes and blowing up the city. And besides, 500 kiloton bombs cost $5,000,000,000,000,000.00.