July 16, 2012 by Reader's Connection
When writing about St. Paul’s letters, Albert Schweitzer said something to this effect: The belief that the world is coming to an end is not just one belief among others. It runs through all of a person’s beliefs and actions. According to police detective Hank Palace, the situation a couple of millenia later is comparable: The end of the world changes everything, from a law-enforcement perspective.
Hank isn’t talking about the apocalypse that will accompany the return of Jesus, the way St. Paul was. Our detective is referring to asteroid 2011GV1, which is scheduled to smash into the earth in October. Some of the Concord, New Hampshire detectives have run off to do things they always wanted to do, and others have just lost their focus. but young Palace has a case he really wants to solve. It’s supposedly a suicide–there are many of those–and Hank thinks it’s murder.
I was delighted to learn that The Last Policeman, a new novel by Ben H. Winters, was the first installment in a planned trilogy. The mystery story moves well, and the end-of-the-world reality comes through. We have a snowy New Hampshire springtime, and we can visit an abandoned news kiosk, strung with Christmas lights and converted into a low-maintenance coffee bar, where some labelled cups are lined up on the counter, and customers put coffee beans in them to designate where they want the asteroid to land. Antarctica is way ahead.
The expected location of impact is determined and announced near the end of the book. I’m not telling, but I will say that author Winters has recently landed in Indianapolis. He’s an Indiana author, now. I hope he likes his new home, and I’m sure his presence won’t create a tug on the trajectory of 2011GV1.