It wasn't long though before word started to spread. The Last Policeman, we were told, was good stuff. Just read it, friends said. And so that is how I was first introduced to Detective Hank Palace, the only cop left in Concord, New Hampshire who gives a damn. Why he would give a damn is part of the mystery, given that in only six short months the asteroid 2011GV1 (known as "Maia") will impact the earth and all life will come to an end anyway. Certainly no one else gives a damn. People have left their jobs, their families, their homes to frantically fulfill lifelong dreams in the short time they have left before imminent death. The world infrastructure is rapidly crumbling. Religious sects are experiencing a rapid resurgence. But Hank Palace, a newly minted detective is determined to fulfill his crime-solving duties. While the murder case that Palace solves in the novel is front and center, what makes The Last Policeman shine is Winters' adeptness with overriding themes of civilization and the ultimate value of human life. Like everyone else who read it, I was vastly pleased when The Last Policeman won the 2013 Edgar Award for the Best Paperback Original and I eagerly awaited the second book in the trilogy....
Countdown City was released the very next year in 2013. There are now just 77 days left until Maia impacts Earth. Civilization continues to disintegrate and Detective Hank Palace is no longer a detective because, well, there's no longer a police department. The country has gone to hell in an apple cart. Radicals have taken over what remains of the University of New Hampshire and Hank's sister is among them. Rumors spread that Maia is really a government hoax. And the countdown continues. So too does Winters' continued exploration of themes which, like the first novel, is really the shining star here. Readers are hooked. We need book three. Need. It.
World of Trouble, the third and final book of the trilogy, is a book you are torn between racing though because you must know what happens and slowly dragging through because you know what inevitably must happen. Gah. What to do? Open the book....two weeks before Maia impacts Earth. The obliteration of society has made the arrival of the asteroid nearly an afterthought, yet Hank Palace has survived and continues the valiant search for his missing sister who remains steadfastly convinced that covert operations will ultimately divert Maia and save humanity. Yet to what end? What humanity? Without the structure of society, humans have destroyed themselves.
Did Maia hit?
Winters pens a perfect - yes, perfect - ending to a trilogy that will only continue to garner new fans over time. The Last Policeman Trilogy is a cult classic of our own time. The questions posed about humanity, the false illusion of safety given by the structure of society, and our own roles we play in the structure make these novels exceptionally appealing. I fully expect them to remain in print for years to come. If you haven't read them yet, do I really need to tell you what to do?
Now I'm going to sit back and watch all of the awards for World of Trouble roll in...Edgar Award, anyone?
*Fine Print: This review contains three different books. While I purchased copied of all three books for my own personal library, I also received an advance copy of World of Trouble from the publisher for review purposes. As usual, this is no way influenced my review. Because, duh, I loved these books.