Thursday, May 14, 2015

World of Trouble

Ben H Winters
Completed 5/1/2015, Reviewed 5/7/2015
4 stars

“World of Trouble” is the final book in Winters’ “The Last Policeman” trilogy.  It still features Henry Palace and the end of the world due to an asteroid impact.  With only a little over a week to go, Hank’s last case is finding his sister who has disappeared with a conspiracy theory group who are trying to find a detained scientist who knows how to successfully deflect the asteroid.  This trilogy been a journey for me.  I started thinking it was pretty good, then more exciting in the second book, and with this one, I was totally enrapt.  I could not get to the end of it fast enough. 

Like in the second book, the familiarity of the scenario and the characters enhanced my experience of this one.  Palace’s drive for closure is now an expectation.  His relationship with his sister had always been one of love and chaos.  And with the end approaching, of course he’s going to make one last desperate attempt to find her.  I could completely appreciate and relate to him.  If I knew the end of the world was coming, I think I would do everything possible to be with my brothers. 

There are some additional heartstrings tugged in the trilogy.  In the first book, he acquires a dog from a drug dealer one of his fellow officers killed.  As the trilogy progresses, he becomes closer to the dog.  ‘Natch.  At one point, he leaves the dog on a farm to let him end his days in a happy environment, and the scene nearly brought me to tears.

Winters continues the exploration of the desperate acts of a hopeless society.  The world is rapidly spiraling out of control.  Again, there are the crazies, but this time, there’s a surprisingly cheerful red-neck-ish couple camped out behind a Taco Bell who take Henry in for a day, the crazy last days of the conspiracy theory group, and an Amish family whose patriarch tries to protect them spiritually by telling them there’s a plague and keeping them from contact with all their neighbors.  That was probably my favorite part of the book.  It provided for some interesting and heartbreaking scenes between Hank, the patriarch, and one of the granddaughters. 

I have to give this book one more star than I gave the other two, so four out of five.  I thought Winters created a great world, and a detective I came to really care for.  It’s a very good book.  All three are relatively short, easy reads and make for a great diversion.  Are they profound?  No, but that didn’t stop me from enjoying them.  I recommend that even if you find the first one just okay, give the others a chance.  I think it’s worth it.

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