I may have made this point before, but here goes.
If you grew up watching television you probably have certain shows that can best be called comfort shows. These are not really great television, not the kinds of show that win lot of awards or get taught in lower division college courses by cool professors, but they are good enough, entertaining enough and they have a certain something that makes them sort of reassuring.
Two of my favorites are Laverne and Shirley and Are You Being Served? I’ve seen some of the episodes so many times I can recite them while I watch.
For many of us, genre fiction works the same way. For me detective fiction and science fiction, though both lean towards the dark, are both comfort reads which makes Ben H. Winter’s end of the world detective series The Last Policeman a double bonus.
In book two, Countdown City, detective Henry Palace has once again taken on a case at a time when no one is concerned with solving a missing person case. While the world waits for the asteroid that will almost certainly destroy it, Henry begins a search for the missing husband of his former baby-sitter, who has resurfaced asking for this one final favor. Tell her husband she wants him back before the end comes.
Meanwhile, the days are drawing closer to the moment when the end will come. What’s left of social order is standing on its last legs. There’s very little left to barter with and the water is soon going to run out. Once that happens, it will be every man for himself.
I enjoyed it. Henry Palace is a good, solid character. The case he’s on would have made for a good detective novel. The end of the world story could have stood on its own as well. Together they are just a darn good time.
While I don’t expect I’ll read The Last Policeman series over and over again the way I watched Are You Being Served, I will certainly be reading book three very soon.
Before the world ends.