Home > 2014/15 Reading List, Advance Review Copy, Books, Fiction, In the Media, Other People's Stuff, Something Like a Review > Something Like a Review – Countdown City by Ben H. Winters

Something Like a Review – Countdown City by Ben H. Winters

So, pro tip, kids, pay attention to the dates you’re selecting when auto-publishing to your blog and double-check the dates you put in your calendar instead of relying on faulty memory. And once you’ve got your dates right, make sure you’ve got those dates assigned to the right posts.

I could give lots of excuses, but instead, I’ll just post the next installment in The Last Policeman Series by Ben H. Winters and let you know that the final installment will post this week. Hope you enjoy!

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World of Trouble, (Book III of the Last Policeman Series) by Ben H. Winters releases today, and because of preventable errors (see pro tip above), I’m going to whet your appetite and let you wriggle on the hook for an extra couple of days.

When we last left our hero, Hank Palace, he was bravely persevering under the impending doom of 2011GV1, Maia, the cosmic death sentence hurtling towards Earth on a 6 month countdown. Unlike many in the world around him, he pursued the truth around a suicide he just couldn’t accept as the final act of someone staring down imminent death. Avoiding spoilers as much as possible, Palace’s hunch was justified and he prevailed. Now let’s hurry down the timeline.

Seventy-seven days to go. No longer a policeman, Palace can’t let go of the only life he’s known and wanted. Especially after a high school crush reaches out and asks for help in finding her husband. Instead of writing off Brett Cavatone as a bucket-list-chaser, Palace uses his skills to find out what really happened, even when it means more danger to him than he could have anticipated.

After the first book, I was very curious to see how this one compared and eschewed nights of homework to burn through it. The idea of the world on the brink of collapse and under the pressures of an impending cataclysmic event is a HUGE draw for me, and Winters does a great job of weaving this tense thread throughout the narrative. I enjoyed this installation more than the first, but I think it was because I was already looking forward to see Palace’s development after certain personal events in the first book.

What I liked most about this one was the mounting sense of pressure that ran parallel to the details hinting at the escalating decay of society around him. I like the slow reduction of the social and technological comforts upon which we all rely. It was uncomfortable to see him go through his investigation without the convenience of phones, or internet, or even the social order that is ubiquitous in our every day life, but easy to imagine in the world Winters creates.

Like the previous book, either I’m not used to teasing out the subtle threads, or Palace’s sleuthing was genius and left me in the dust. The pace with which it resolved was better than The Last Policeman, but it still seemed fast. As I mentioned in my previous post, this could just be my perception and somewhat lacking familiarity with the genre. All in all, this was a very minor stumbling block; the story was deeper, more complex and even the elements that don’t seem possible in the context of our current reality created a plausible world in the shadow of the impending disaster. The end of the world makes the world change, and from the comfort of my room, those uncomfortable changes are believable.

 

Seventy-seven days until impact.

Hold on, kids…the end is nigh.

(Look for the final Something Like a Review for World of Trouble coming later this week…but if you can’t wait, pick up the whole series now…)

Medium: Dead-tree version provided for review by Quirk Books

Other: Available in various formats from Amazon.com

Overall rating: 4 stars

Potential re-read: Maybe, and for the same reasons I posted about previously.

Dead-tree worthy?: Though I’d prefer not to repeat myself (because it’s boring for you to read, and boring for me to type), I’ll say that I’m going to “ditto” my previous post for this question. Since the shelf isn’t getting any bigger while my stack of books is, all I can say is “no” but qualifying it with: “…while I can’t justify space on the shelf, I could justify space on the Kindle, or the time to get it from the library.”

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