Thursday, December 19, 2013

What I'm Reading Now - Countdown City by Ben Winters

Wow, just found this at the library and I'm so excited! So Countdown City is a sequel to The Last Policeman. If you haven't read The Last Policeman, get on that immediately!

If you're curious, here's the super-condensed version of the plot of The Last Policeman. Hank Palace is a young cop in New Hampshire. He's investigating a murder that many of his peers think is just another suicide - one of the millions in the past few months. Why so many people killing themselves? Oh, there's a giant asteroid headed toward Earth. It's been determined that it will indeed strike the Earth in a few months and pretty much end life for everyone on the planet. So...yeah.

What an amazing premise for a novel! And what a thought provoking premise. What would you do? Would you go about your job, like Hank, or would you head down to a sunny beach to await the end? Would you renew your values to your wife and family or would you take the opportunity to break morals and laws now that the punishments really don't matter? Would you fight to find a solution right up to the last minute or take the easy way out and commit suicide at some point?

I Ben Winters does a very nice writing job in The Last Policeman. There are end of the world details that show Winters was really pondering the psychology of such a situation. I'm hoping Countdown City is as well written. It sounds like it will be the second novel in what will eventually be a trilogy.

I'll let you know what I think once I've finished reading.

And I'm Done Update:

Good read, although I didn't think the plot moved as well as the first book, The Last Policeman. Trilogies are interesting things, especially when the author announces it immediately upon publication of the first book. Too often, I think, you get a great first book, a second book that just treads water, then an explosive third book (often much longer) that tries to wrap everything up. For examples, see The Passage and The Twelve by Justin Cronin (third book still to come) or the Hunger Games Trilogy by Suzanne Collins. While I enjoyed Countdown City, Catching Fire and The Twelve (certain parts of The Twelve very much), I felt all three of them suffered a bit from holding back for the third book in the series.

That said, Countdown City was enjoyable, although I found the main crime to be solved by Hank Palace in this one to be a bit banal in the end. Of course, maybe that's the point. Even with the world coming to an very destructive and brutal end, humans can't help but be humans...a bit small-minded, selfish and banal, right to the very end.

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