World of Trouble (2014) – Ben H. Winters

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The Last Policeman Trilogy comes to its conclusion with this final installment from author Ben H. Winters.

The asteroid’s, Maia, impact is only days away now. Civilization has complete fallen apart, but Hank Palace, ex-detective, his dog Houdini and tag along criminal, Cortez, find themselves embroiled in one final mystery. Where is Palace’s sister, Nico?

To say that Winters finishes his trilogy brilliantly, would be an injustice, the story wraps up all the story threads, pieces from the first book all fall into place by the end of this novel, and it’s wonderfully crafted.

There were moments, that surprised me, and made me realize how much I have come to like these characters, and this doomed world Winters has created. The book elicited upset “Oh, shit” utterances from me, and “holy shit” stunned revelations.

There’s a series of pages just past the halfway mark, that completely gutted me, not once but twice.

The book also features an introduction to some new characters, Hank finds himself amongst an Amish family, with a father keeping a terrible secret, and an injured young woman, Hank calls Lily, found in the woods outside of an Ohio police station, with her throat slit, but still alive.

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The revelations, and the truths unveiled by the book’s end, are shattering, as the hunt for Nico brings all manner of discoveries, including some surprising ones.

I love how Winters had made this detective thriller come to life, Hank is a real person, and the final moments of the book, as Maia closes in, actually caused me to tear up. I love how the whole thing comes together, and I love how he spends his last few moments.

The mystery is more personal this time for Palace, but he’s still as focused, and driven by the need to sort the facts in a reasonable, explainable way. It’s his mission, but one wonders whether or not he would be so driven if Maia wasn’t going to destroy everything, perhaps this is his way of dealing with the asteroid – focus on the facts, the crime, the need for resolution.

I love the first person perspective of the novels, and once again, everything is laid out in clues from the beginning, and there were a couple times, when I was thinking I know what’s going on, and who, but couldn’t make everything fit, because I didn’t have all the facts yet. But by book’s end, it’s all laid out, and while I was right about the who, I didn’t have a why.

It’s also all there from book one, each piece we’re introduced to fits in this wonderfully crafted trilogy, not just a trio of mysteries, but the overreaching arc of the series pays off, and left me wowed.

I cannot wait to see what Winters comes up with next.

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