Quirk Books, out now
There’s only two weeks until the asteroid hits the Earth – but Hank Palace has one final mystery to solve: what has happened to his sister Nico?
At the end of Countdown City, Hank and a former thief, Cortez, (accompanied by Hank’s dog Houdini) leave the community of former law enforcement officials to carry out one final quest, and discover if Hank’s sister Nico really is part of an organisation that has the ability to stop the asteroid from impacting. Hank knows it’s highly unlikely, but he’s determined to find Nico before everything ends – and it’s that single-mindedness, which he has up to now used to solve the cases in front of him, that drives him forward.
As with the earlier books, we see how civilisation collapses into its component parts, which then themselves shatter into a myriad fragments. Some people remain sheltered from the knowledge of what’s coming– leading to the beautiful sequence at the very end of the novel – while others refuse to go gently into the good night, and Hank sees both the very best and the very worst of human nature in the final two weeks of life as he knows it.
Hank does solve some of his mysteries, tying off loose ends from the entire trilogy, but they’re not as important as the insights he gets into himself along the way. As he realises, sometimes you don’t need to know everything.
As a reader, you come away from the Last Policeman trilogy wondering how you’d react to the situation, and how you’d assess your own priorities. It’s a fascinating investigation of mortality couched within both SF and detective tropes – and well worth reading.
Verdict: A fitting, and well-written conclusion to an unusual and affecting trilogy. 9/10