Countdown City (The Last Policeman #2) by Ben H. Winters

‘Is there anything you can do?’

In just seventy-seven days, a deadly asteroid is going to hit earth. The world is in turmoil, and chaos is growing as technology fails.  Some people are disappearing in pursuit of their ‘bucket list items’, others are taking their own lives while some believe that they are going to be saved.

Once Henry (Hank) Palace was a detective in the Concord police force.  He’s out of a job now, but when a woman from his past approaches him to try to find her missing husband, he helps. He’s too decent a human being to refuse, to civilized to succumb to the anarchy that surrounds him.

‘There are just a lot of reasons why a missing persons investigation is especially challenging in the current environment.’

Brett Cavatone has disappeared without leaving any traces.  Or has he? There may be no phones or cars, the fabric of society may be shredded but Henry Palace is persistent.  He and his dog Houdini head off in search of Brett.  Their search takes them to a former college campus, now an anarchist encampment, to the coast where anti-immigrant militia are fending off refugees.

There are conspiracy theories, acts of kindness and cynical manipulators.  There’s a lack of food, and everyone is waiting for the water to run out.

‘I linger there in the roofless shelter.  This then will be the shape and the feel of the world: an abandoned shell, signs of life, curious animals wandering in and out of ruins, the wilderness crowding in, overtaking all human structures and human things.’

It took me a little while to get into this novel, but then the pace picked up and I just couldn’t put it down.  I finished this novel and picked up the third book straightaway.  

Jennifer Cameron-Smith

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