NOTE: Review of all three books.
Recently promoted and rather young, Hank Palace is the only detective still solving cases (officially and unofficially) since asteroid 2011GV1 was discovered to be on a collision course with Earth.
These novels present an interesting depiction of the U.S.A before the impending apocalypse - collapsing economy, food shortages, people turning to religion, people walking off the job and doing whatever they please, law enforcement reaction etc. As Hank Palace's investigations play out under the shadow of impending doom, the reader is confronted with hard questions on the nature of humans and civilization?
The Last Policeman Book 1
There are just six months until impact, and Detective Palace insists on solving a murder case everyone else insists is a suicide (in a city full of suicides) and a waste of time, especially in light of the impending catastrophe.
This novel isn't as gloomy, dark and depressing as most pre-/post-apocalyptic novels tend to be. The novel also doesn't hit you over the head with all the awful things that can happen when disaster is about to strike. In addition, the detective isn't some infallible, know-it-all whiz who can suck answers out of the air. The plot is plausible and the dialogue is good with some brilliant lines.
Countdown City Book 2
An entertaining and fun read and still not as depressing as most end of the world novels, but still realistic. Decent plot, well-developed characters, plausible pre-apocalyptic scenario, some nice plot twists and good dialogue.
Former detective Hank Palace is on a missing person case - the Earth is going to be hit by an asteroid in just 77 days and society is going crazy, but Hank is determined to find his missing person. This is more than just a detective novel as it also deals with how people might react if given the knowledge that their world (one way or another) is going to end soon.
World of Trouble Book 3
There are just 14 days until asteroid Maia hits Earth, and the U.S.A has fallen into chaos. All over the world, everyone is bracing for the end. But former Detective Hank Palace still has one last case to solve even though there are no phones, no internet, no electricity, limited supplies and too many desperate people. His sister was last seen in the company of suspicious radicals, armed with heavy artillery and a plan to save humanity. Hank's search for his sister leads him to uncover evidence of a brutal crime. With time running out, Hank follows the clues to a series of shocking revelations.
With this final book, Ben H. Winters provides a fitting conclusion to what was, overall, a very unique and entertaining series. The dialogue is very well written some brilliant, and often amusing, passages and also some insights into human nature. I thoroughly enjoyed this last book.
This ended up being a rather good trilogy, that, while dark, wasn't as gloomy and depressing as most types of apocalyptic novels tend to be. Overall, the dialogue was decent with many great passages, good plot and decent ending, the characters were fleshed out and while the main character was flawed, he was also someone that the reader could relate to and care about. So, if you enjoy mystery/detective/apocalyptic novels; want a detective novel with a twist or an apocalyptic novel that is different; I would recommend this set.
Book 1 and Book 2 of this trilogy can be read as standalone novels if you are more interested in the crime solving part of the novel. These books would, however, work best if read in sequence as there is an overall story arc tying all three novels together. Book 3 would require reading Book 1 and Book 2 to get the most our of the novel.