May 9, 2013

Book Review: Countdown City: The Last Policeman II

Ok, here we have another book review...and I'm being all kinds of premature about it, since the book won't hit shelves until July...but I'm posting early because you can get the first book in the series TODAY and have it read before July and it's so much fun and you just have to read on!

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Last summer, while losing a battle with insomnia, I had a lot of middle-of-the-night reading hours to kill. It would have been smart, looking back, to read something soothing. Some Austen, maybe, or even some Alcott. Books I've loved since my childhood, and that have no mystery left for me. Elizabeth will wind up with Darcy. Beth will die. And so it goes.

Instead, I kept picking up a book that was annoyingly engrossing, and freakishly good. A book where I had to keep on turning the pages, to see what happened next. A book that kept me reading for HOURS into the long nights.

Now, I'm not blaming that book for that insomnia, but it surely didn't help fix it!!

Countdown City
By Ben H. Winters
Quirk Books
July 16, 2013
320 pages
That book was The Last Policeman by Ben H. Winters, and it was sooooo good. It followed a young cop as he navigated a pre-apocalyptic world in which a massive asteroid bears down on Earth, leading to humanity's near-certain doom. He investigated a murder that looked like a suicide, and I'm not lying when I say I couldn't put this book down.

So when I heard there was a sequel available, I might have begged my contact at Quirk Books for a super-early copy. Maybe. Maybe he complied because he knows how desperate I was to read it.

My expectations were high, remembering how much that last book affected me.

And I'm happy to report: my expectations were met (though thankfully without an insomnia-repeat).

Seriously, it was SO GOOD it deserves ALL CAPS. Countdown City isn't coming out until July, but let me tell you now - you WANT to buy this book!

Countdown City follows our fearless friend and Last Policeman, Hank Palace, as he looks into the mysterious disappearance of his childhood babysitter's husband.

In this book, Palace is no longer a cop, most formal police squads having been dissolved in the face of humanity's end. Martial law is pretty much in effect, and civilian cops have by and large been let go. So Palace is on his own, searching for a man that people describe as noble, incredible. He doesn't have to try to help his old babysitter, but he does it anyway, to find a man who seems, well, too good to be true.

The thing is, he does it because he wants to help. There are no ulterior motives to be found anywhere in Palace, which is completely refreshing in today's cynical literary climate. 

Palace's journey takes him deep into a New England forest, a rebel-hippie-commune, and a hospital that operates on ether. *shudder* The cast of characters includes some old favorites, including Palace's oddball sister Neko and his dog, Houdini, who I adore.  

The mystery behind the disappearance was enough to keep me reading; the threat of annihilation for everything and everyone was enough to raise the stakes almost higher than my anxious brain could handle. But not quite...because really, anxiety-nibbled fingernails and all...I loved this book.

Winters is a pro, and his books are awesome. So now go! Get The Last Policeman now, and pre-order Countdown City. What are you waiting for???

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