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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


"[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

Library Journal
Hank Palace, protagonist of the Edgar Award-winning The Last Policeman, returns in this sequel, set 77 days before an asteroid will destroy Earth. Things have gotten worse in New Hampshire: Hank has been fired since all police work has been federalized, his sister is still running with a group that claims that it's all a government conspiracy and only they can save the world, and an old family friend asks him to find her husband. Hank reluctantly agrees, but with so many people dropping out to pursue their bucket lists and no telephones or electricity, it won't be easy. VERDICT Winters has written another complex mystery with plenty of possible motives, suspicious characters, and rich details of a society slowly coming apart, although the local library remains open, of course, staffed by its dedicated librarians and volunteers. As the end nears for Hank and the rest of the world, he struggles to find both the missing husband and a reason to keep looking. Anyone who enjoyed Winters's previous novel will like this outing, as will other readers interested in a good mystery in an innovative setting.—Dan Forrest, Western Kentucky Univ. Libs., Bowling Green
From the Publisher
“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
“Don’t miss this series!”—Sci Fi Magazine

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

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

“Winters’s work shines.”—Locus

“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

“Gripping.”—The Free Lance-Star

“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

“Through it all Palace remains a likeable hero for end times.”—PublishersWeekly.com

Praise for The Last Policeman
“A genre-defying blend of crime writing and science fiction.” –Alexandra Alter, The New York Times
The Last Policeman books offer an appealing hybrid of the best of science fiction and crime fiction.”—The Washington Post

“In his acclaimed Last Policeman trilogy, Masters showed off his mastery of edgy, sardonic wit — there’s nothing like an asteroid speeding toward Earth to bring out the black humor in people.”—Newsday 

“Sharp, funny, and deeply wise.”—Slate.com
“Darkly intriguing.”—Discover

“I’m in the middle of it and can’t put the dang thing down.”—USA Today’s Pop Candy
“Ben Winters makes noir mystery even darker: his latest novel sets a despondent detective on a suspicious suicide case—while an asteroid hurtles toward earth.”—Wired.com
“In his Last Policeman trilogy, for which he won both the Edgar Award and the Philip K. Dick Award, Winters took a standard science fiction trope — the final months before an asteroid slams into Earth — and mixed it with some of the conventions of the detective novel, imbuing his apocalyptic scenario with an extra measure of urgency and poignancy.”—The San Francisco Chronicle 
“Winters’s writing is funny, surprisingly tender, and thoroughly human.”—Ellery Queen Mystery Magazine

“Winters constructs a sturdy, functional, entertaining page-turner.”—Greg Cook, WBUR.org
“I’m eager to read the other books, and expect that they’ll keep me as enthralled as the first one did.”—Mark Frauenfedler, Boing Boing
“Normally, only Stephen King and Dean Koontz can suck me into a book and not release their stranglehold until I, exhausted from lack of sleep, have turned the last page. Now [Ben Winters] has joined their ranks...The Last Policeman is extraordinary—as well as brilliant, surprising, and, considering the circumstances, oddly uplifting.”—Mystery Scene 
The Last Policeman succeeds both as a mystery, with a quirky detective and an intriguing whodunit, and as a piece of apocalyptic speculative fiction. That’s good news. The even better news is that this novel is supposed to be the first of a planned trilogy, with each case occurring closer to the moment when, as Henry repeatedly notes, ‘Bam!’ And that is something we can anticipate with a good feeling.”—Sacramento News & Review
“Full of compelling twists, likable characters, and a sad beauty, The Last Policeman is a gem.”—San Francisco Book Review
“The best genre fiction holds a mirror up to society while also providing edge-of-the-seat excitement, and The Last Policeman did that and more.”—Las Vegas City Life

“This is a book that asks big questions about civilization, community, desperation and hope.”—io9.com

Product Details

Quirk Publishing
Publication date:
Last Policeman Series , #2
Sold by:
Penguin Random House Publisher Services
Sales rank:
File size:
3 MB

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
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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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.