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The Last Policeman - Ben H. Winters Sunday afternoon, I arrived at the Seattle train station, with a book I thought would last me the two days of my quick trip. I was wrong, and I finished it on the train. What's a girl to do? Confessional: I should have frugally started the Tor.com bundle of short stories I downloaded last week (Thanks Tor! Happy Anniversary!) but with the Seattle Mystery Bookshop practically around the corner? How could I not stop in?Last time I was there I picked up one of Margaret Coel's mysteries, and loved it. There are at least a dozen of those, but I wasn't feeling it, so I wandered around picking up books and putting them back. Aimless. Finally, as I often do, I asked for a recommendation, which is always a good move. The Last Policeman isn't your usual mystery. An asteriod is heading toward earth, and it's large enough to be cataclysmic. The countdown is set at a little over 6 months. Society is breaking down, along with garbage service and cellphone towers, and a rookie Detective is trying to solve a suicide that he thinks is a murder. I've noticed a trend in fiction toward unlikeable characters, sometimes even the protagonist is nobody you'd want to know. The "good guys" are really more "the not-as-bad-as-the-other-guys-guys." Not so here. There are a lot of people who are doing bad things, but you the reader really want to sympathize with them, because they are so ordinary, they're just like you, and really what would you do if the world was ending, literally, and you had the date in hand? Some people go "bucket list;" some collapse into depression, suicide; some go all-out criminal; most go on living their lives, going to work, even when there's no point to the work. I think this is what makes the novel stand out. Woven throughout is a pretty classic mystery - if you've read even a single mystery, you're already familiar with the plot progression. The star of this one is the why, why for everyone. Why do we care if it's suicide or murder? The End of Everything will be here before the trial can start. Everybody is getting the death penalty. Death penalty for you, and death penalty for you. Do you want yours now, or later? Highly recommended.