The Last Policeman and Countdown City by Ben Winters

last policeQuite a long time ago I saw The Angry Grey Cat had reviewed The Last Policeman, apocalyptic literature complete with a mystery and a dedicated detective. A comet is projected to directly impact Earth, extinguishing all life in roughly a 6 month time frame. There are several types of people represented in this book:

1) Preppers who believe they can survive such an event, stockpiling guns, food, water and other resources,

2) people without hope who either commit suicide or go “bucket list” and leave their families to have fun before they die and

3) dedicated individuals such as our starring character, Detective Henry Palace. People like Henry, the medical examiner and Ruth Ann who continues to serve food and tea (and eventually just hot water) at the local diner.

Those dedicated to their profession don’t go Bucket List, they remain faithful to their profession and carry on despite the odds of them surviving after the impact. This is actually pre-apocalyptic and we get a first hand view of human nature at its best and worst.

I didn’t know this was a trilogy but it could have been a stand-alone book. I have already started book two, Countdown City and will most likely read the third book.

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Hi, I’m back!  I did finish Countdown City and liked it.  We are still enjoying former Detective Henry Palace, the cop that can’t retire.  We start this book with only 77 days left before the asteroid named Maia smacks down in Indonesia and kills off most of the Earth’s population.

In the remaining days, Henry can’t seem to relax and feels a sense of duty from his police force days.  He is investigating the disappearance of Brett Cavatone.  Has Brett gone “bucket list” or is he dead? Brett’s wife asks Henry to find him and so he sets out to do just that.

After a bit of an investigation Henry realizes he needs help getting into a former University which has…believe it or not….seceded from what is left of the United States.  Brett had hooked up with an anarchist named Julia and there is a definite conspiracy theory in the works that actually plays out to be true.  Besides the hoarding of firearms the biggest problem is the U.S. Navy.  They are openly shooting people who try and gain access to our shores,

That’s a scary real life scenario. The military are keeping immigrants from the impacted hemisphere from entering the U.S. An asteroid is going to hit their continent and our Navy won’t let them in safely! That’s so rude.

This photo below is from the end pages at the back of the book.  I haven’t checked it out yet but I am curious about how people answered.

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It’s not brilliant writing but it certainly kept me entertained.  If you are a fan of apocalyptic lit this will be right up your alley.  Let me know what you think.

 

 

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The City of Mirrors – a Kick-Ass end to the Trilogy

Mirrors Ok, The Passage remains my favorite of the books but City of Mirrors came through like gang busters. If it’s been a while since you read the first two book in this trilogy you may want to reacquaint yourself again.

Many of our favorite characters from the previous books turn up here. When we met Peter in The Passage he was a young man but he’s a white haired 50 something fellow midway through this book.

Remember the monster like creature Zero? The father of The Twelve? You get his backstory when he was a man living an ordinary life. He was Timothy Fanning back hundreds of years ago; a man who lived in a neighborhood, who went to Harvard, an intelligent man who fell in love with Liz, a woman who was involved with his roommate. He was smart – as in wicked smart in the sciences, the sort of guy who could change the world with medical discoveries and be the Time man of the year.

Spoilers Below!!

Some people didn’t like Zero/Fanning’s back story as his role in the two previous books is that of villain, the father of the virals. In my opinion Fanning’s back story is one of hope and love. Now his roommate Jonas Lear turned the tables on him as he was completely obsessed with Liz and her illness. It becomes a driving force for Lear and it seems Liz isn’t his focus anymore, it’s the cure of what’s wrong with her. I honestly loved the monologue by Zero and enjoyed reading about the stages of his life, finding out how he became the monster instead of a man.

Amy is old as dirt even though she occupies the body of a 12 year old. An old, old woman who has the jedi power to make people sleep when she needs them to. I asked my husband if she ever became a woman, in a woman’s body, and he did ask if I wanted that spoiler. (Obviously he read it first) Her role to save the world was an interesting one, a hard path to take and while the ending wasn’t what I wanted, I don’t know how I thought it should end. But it did end about the only way it could.

Remember I said spoilers above? If you’ve continued to read……here comes another one and it’s big. Be warned.

My biggest complaint is what happened when Amy and Peter were captured in NYC. Zero ends up slitting Peter’s throat right I front of Amy. Why? Because that is the one thing that can hurt Amy. When you love someone, you get hurt. The person you love is what can hurt you the most in life, it guts you.

After a great fight between Amy and Zero, Amy finds Peter alive and does the unthinkable. She gives him some of her blood because she can’t bear to live without him. She loves him and that selfish choice to keep him alive, as a viral, is a terrible thing. It’s a mockery of the life he lived. He fought every day against the virals, from youth into old age, trying to eradicate them and make the world a safer place. What a horrific thing to turn him into the monster he abhorred.

I did like the stories about the survivors getting on Michael’s ship and how they formed a new society. Wish I could have known more about how the society evolved. There is so much to cover about the book so I’ll just say overall I liked it a A-

The writing is skilled and the story is very engaging.  I hope Justin Cronin sets out to tell another epic tale such as this one.  I would most certainly buy it.

The Passage by Justin Cronin

the passage The Passage is a journey; a transition about life and death and about the individual stories in the book. It’s apocalyptic lit with detailed survival stories interwoven and spanning a hundred years. Liberally sprinkled with strong and weak characters alike and how they cope, what they hope for and how they live their lives. Is it survival or living? Definitely a difference between the two.

It starts in the year 2014. Military experiments gone horribly wrong and the outcome of the disaster which lasts for hundreds of years. I liked many of the characters in the middle part of the book. There are colonies of people trying to survive in the only world they have ever known, a terrifying world populated with superhuman creatures who are vampire like in their quest for blood and their aversion to light.

The viral creatures, who were once ordinary men and women, are relentless in their hunt to find food. The food being – people. The colonists whom you grow to like and support. Peter, Alicia, Sarah, Michael aka “Circuit” and Maus. They never knew a life where they could see stars at night because the lights must blot out the darkness, always shining to keep the viral creatures at bay. One colonist is an old woman called Auntie. She remembers the stars. She remembers her parents and the rounding up of the children to be sent on a train to the colony in California. She remembered an existence before the virals were a threat to an ordinary life.

What attracted me to this series was book two. I was wandering around Barnes and Noble and picked up a copy of The Twelve by Justin Cronin. It sounded interesting and then I realized I need book one. So, now that I am done, I am wondering if I want to proceed with The Twelve. Was I captivated by the first book? Oh yes. Yes, it held my interest and I made comment to my husband that if this becomes a movie, and I watch this movie, I will probably be quite scared to walk the dogs through the woods at night. (We walk them every evening and there are lots of trees! Ok, you have to read the book for that to make sense)

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Here are some of the quotes I ear marked.

“Before she became the Girl from Nowhere – the One Who Walked In, the First and Last and Only, who lived a thousand years – she was just a little girl in Iowa named Amy. Amy Harper Bellafonte.”

“It happened fast. Thirty-two minutes for one world to die, another to be born. ‘What did you say?” Richards said, and then he heard – both of them heard – the sound of the alarm. The one that was never, ever supposed to ring, a great tonal buzzing that ricocheted across the open compound so that it seemed to come from everywhere at once.”

“Courage is easy, when the alternative is getting killed. It’s hope that’s hard. You saw something out there that no one else could, and you followed it. That’s something I could never do.”

I only remember food mentioned twice. Food at a county fair and the meal Sarah prepared when her group was hunkered down for a night, hoping to survive. Sarah made a rabbit stew. Well….recently I had the chance to try rabbit and while I won’t say I’ll never have it again….I just couldn’t make it for this post. Not yet. My experience with rabbit may be found HERE at Squirrel Head Manor.

So…no food on this post. Good book, really had me going. But I am still debating if I will read the next one.

Happy Reading!