The Last Policeman

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I can't quite remember what caused me to put Ben H. Winters' "Last Policeman" trilogy into my things-to-read system, but I'm glad I did. This first book in the series was really, surprisingly, good.

Better still: it's set in New Hampshire, mostly Concord.

The narrator is Henry Palace, a newly-minted detective with the Concord Police. The book opens on a grim scene, an apparent suicide in a McDonalds restroom. The victim is a drab actuary with a local insurance office. But he's a little bruised up, and Palace is suspicious.

Although every other cop on the force is dismissive. Suicides are common. As is drug abuse, vandalism, economic disruption, … all the stuff that signals large-scale societal fracturing. Because overshadowing all this is the imminent arrival of the massive asteroid Maia, on a certain collision course with Earth in a few months.

Palace is driven and diligent, and he's up against seemingly insurmountable barriers. Everybody's lying to him, for one thing. His superiors want him to move on to more pressing matters, for another. And there's also the whole imminent end of the world as we know it. That blows up your societal norms real good.

Only one glitch, near the end, when Palace visits New Castle, on the seacoast. I don't get there often, but it seems the description is totally wrong; visitors in the non-fictional world will not find the described quarter-mile boardwalk, souvenir shops, beach dunes, …

The good (and very well-off) citizens of New Castle would freak at a large influx of hoi polloi tourists those things tend to attract.

Palace also reports that he rides his bike back to Concord after visiting New Castle, taking "highway 90", riding "down the middle of I-90 ... right along the double yellow lines".

Ben, I-90 goes through Massachusetts. And it doesn't have double yellow lines, it's a normal divided Interstate. Probably Palace is taking US-4.

This mild divergence from reality didn't detract from my enjoyment of the book. The remaining two volumes are in the TTR system.