The Last Good Man

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Overview

In Jewish scripture, there is a legend: There are thirty-six righteous people on earth. The thirty-six protect us. Without them, humanity would perish. But the thirty-six do not know they are the chosen ones.

In Beijing, a monk collapses in his chamber, dead. A fiery mark—a tattoo? a burn?—spreads across his back and down his spine. In Mumbai, a beloved economist, a man who served the poor, dies suddenly. His corpse reveals the same symbol. Similar deaths are reported around the...

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The Last Good Man: A Novel

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Overview

In Jewish scripture, there is a legend: There are thirty-six righteous people on earth. The thirty-six protect us. Without them, humanity would perish. But the thirty-six do not know they are the chosen ones.

In Beijing, a monk collapses in his chamber, dead. A fiery mark—a tattoo? a burn?—spreads across his back and down his spine. In Mumbai, a beloved economist, a man who served the poor, dies suddenly. His corpse reveals the same symbol. Similar deaths are reported around the world—the victims all humanitarians, all with the same death mark. In Venice, an enterprising Italian policeman links the deaths, tracing the evidence. Who is killing good people around the world?

In Copenhagen, police are preparing for a world climate summit when they receive the Interpol alert. The task falls to veteran detective Niels Bentzon: Find the “good people” of Denmark and warn them. But Bentzon is a man who is trained to see the worst in humanity, not the good. One by one, people are crossed off his list. He senses their secrets and wrongdoings.

Just as Bentzon is ready to give up, he meets Hannah Lund, a brilliant astrophysicist mourning the death of her son and the implosion of her marriage. With Hannah’s help, Bentzon begins to piece together the puzzle of these far-flung deaths. A pattern emerges. It is, they realize, a perfectly executed plan of murder. There have been thirty-four deaths—two more to come if the legend is true. According to the pattern, Bentzon and Hannah can predict the time and place of the final two murders. The deaths will occur in Venice and Copenhagen. And the time is now.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
The Jewish legend that the world is kept from destruction by 36 just people, who are unaware of their status, underpins this intriguing first novel from Kazinski, the pseudonym of filmmaker Anders Rønnow Klarlund and Jacob Weinreich. When Italian police officer Tommaso di Barbara becomes aware that good people have been dying all over the world, he concludes that the victims are 34 of the 36, and contacts a Danish colleague, hostage negotiator Niels Bentzon, to assist him in saving the last two members of the group. Bentzon, in turn, finds unexpected help in the form of scientist Hannah Lund, who uses the inquiry to re-engage with the world after her son’s suicide. The story, laden with murky metaphysics, loses its way as Bentzon, Lund, and di Barbara race to identify the last of the righteous. This is the rare thriller that’s stronger on characters, especially the protagonists, than plot. Agent: Lars Ringhof, Lars Ringhof Agency. (Mar.)
From the Publisher
“How does one find two exceptionally—and genuinely—good people—and then protect them? The fear that question provokes—because what if there are no really good people left? Or what if there's no protection to offer the few who do remain?—is what makes this book so terrifyingly compelling. The answers it offers, however, make for a quietly inspiring read.”—Oprah.com

"With a rich brocade of charged emotion and a hero with grit and determination, The Last Good Man never disappoints. This one has everything I look for in a thriller—history, secrets, conspiracies, action, adventure, and international settings. Check this one out, you're going to love it."—Steve Berry, New York Times-bestselling author of The Amber Room and The Columbus Affair

"The Last Good Man is a vivid, powerfully written adventure, where religion and science are melded into an impassioned brew."—Juan Gómez-Jurado, author of The Moses Expedition and The Traitor’s Emblem

“Intense…. Moments of rapid-fire suspense… A truly compelling and worthwhile journey.”—Associated Press

“A mind blowing novel . . . with a spectacular ending.” —Pleine Vie (France)

“Breathtaking.”—Ekstra Bladet (Denmark)

“So tight and exciting that the pages fly through your fingers.”—Fredericia Dagblad (Denmark)

“The buzz thriller of the season.”—L’indépendant (France)

“A.J. Kazinski spins the web of suspense ever tighter, and the reader becomes irrevocably trapped in its web… An unbelievably good ending.”—Hamburger Abendblatt (Germany)

“A fast-paced, smartly plotted book … with a cast of lively and likable characters.”Kirkus

Library Journal
A Chinese monk. A charitable Indian economist. Just two of 34 "good men" who have died mysteriously. Does this have something to do with the Jewish belief that at any time there are 36 righteous people on Earth protecting the rest? If so, Det. Niels Bentzon of Copenhagen has two deaths left to prevent. Especially good where thrillers with religious overtones are popular.
Library Journal
The Talmud claims that there are 36 righteous people on Earth that protect humanity—without them, the world will perish. In Denmark, Det. Niels Bentzon is tasked with finding "good people" and warning them that they may be targeted for murder. So far, there have been 34 victims around the world. Bentzon entrusts astrophysicist Hannah Lund, who sees patterns in everything, to help him unravel the mystery of the good people—who they are, what they have in common, why they are dying. They predict the final two murders—one in Venice, the other in Copenhagen—and attempt to stop them. VERDICT Drawing on the biblical story of Abraham and Isaac, this fast-paced debut collaboration between director/screenwriter Anders RØnnow Klarlund and Danish author Jacob Weinreich is a spectacular thriller. Named 2011 Best First Novel by the Danish Academy of Crime Fiction, this well-crafted twist of Jewish mythology made modern will appeal to fans of Dan Brown or Jennifer Lee Carrell (Interred with Their Bones). [See Prepub Alert, 9/23/11.]—Michelle Martinez, Sam Houston State Univ. Lib., Huntsville, TX
Kirkus Reviews
Working on his own, a beleaguered Italian cop, Tommaso, uncovers a strange wave of international murders. According to Jewish scripture, there are 36 "good," righteous people unknowingly assigned to protect civilization. One by one, from Chicago to Mumbai, they are being killed. Only two are left alive. It's up to Tommaso and Bentzon, the Danish cop he tags across the language barrier, to save humanity. It isn't easy to identify the targets; not all of the victims were humanitarians or activists. But the race is on when Hannah, a brilliant, disheveled, data-crunching astrophysicist teamed with Bentzon, devises a chart of where and when each of the killings was or will be. The final two, conveniently enough, are planned for Copenhagen, where President Obama is attending a world climate conference and Bentzon must contend with an Arab terrorist on a deadly mission, and Venice, where Tommaso's efforts are informed by a strange final warning from his dying mother. Writing under a pseudonym, Danish filmmaker Anders Rønnow Klarlund and Danish crime and children's novelist Jacob Weinreich have concocted a fast-paced, smartly plotted book. Described in Denmark as "Dan Brown meets Stieg Larsson," the book owes a lot more to Brown's occultish puzzle novels than Larsson's ultra-violent, socially aware thrillers. As dire as the situation is, this is a good-humored book with a cast of lively and likable characters--none more than Hannah, who goes from grieving her dead son and the death of her marriage to deriving excitement from working on the most gripping problem anyone has ever faced to dying and coming back to life nine minutes later. The co-authors successfully keep the wheels of their end-of-the-world scenario spinning.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781451640755
  • Publisher: Scribner
  • Publication date: 3/6/2012
  • Pages: 480
  • Product dimensions: 6.20 (w) x 9.10 (h) x 1.40 (d)

Meet the Author

A.J. Kazinski is the pseudonym of Anders Rønnow Klarlund and Jacob Weinreich. Klarlund is a director and screenwriter whose films include Strings, starring James McAvoy, and At the End of the World. Weinreich has published three novels for adults and more than twenty books for young adults. Both men live in Copenhagen with their families.

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4
( 5 )
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Sort by: Showing all of 5 Customer Reviews
  • Posted August 4, 2012

    Am I the only one who wondered what or who was killing the men?

    Am I the only one who wondered what or who was killing the men? Was it our own evil that was killing the men? I never understood or was it made clear who the murderers were unless it was" we the people" with all of our flaws. It seemed to be sad that the lead character had to commit a sin to live; how depressing.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 4, 2012

    Compelling Reading

    Couldn't put it down!

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  • Posted April 12, 2012

    more from this reviewer

    The book was interesting for the first 2/3ds, and hen it seemed

    The book was interesting for the first 2/3ds, and hen it seemed as if the author could not keep the storyline going in such a fashion.
    The whole concept of the 36 good men seems ludicrous if they know not who they are and seem to be as vulnerable as the rest of us.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted April 5, 2012

    very good

    interesting characters

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 24, 2013

    No text was provided for this review.

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