Publication for the third book in The Last Policeman trilogy, World of Trouble, is imminent (July 15, Quirk Books). Which means, for Hank Palace, the end of the world is also imminent. There is no question. 2011GV1, Maia, will crash into Earth with 100% certainty.

However, for those of us who are eagerly anticipating the July 15 release date, the end of the world is not guaranteed.

World of Trouble coverIn the books there is a faction of people, Palace’s sister for instance, who believe there is a way to save Earth. Although dismissed by most as conspiracy theorists, Palace believes his sister is smarter than that.

Then, of course, there is author Ben Winters himself. Will he do it? In film, the “Hollywood ending” would render the near-total destruction of Earth only viable as the beginning to a post-apocalyptic film. But this series is pre-apocalyptic and Winters has said, in a conversation with GeekyLibrary, that he plans for this to be the final book he’s writing for the series.

That leaves us, the readers, with a very important pre-release question: Should the world end? So far, we’ve had three of our reviewers read The Last Policeman and Countdown City (the recent PKD award winner).

The Last Policeman Trilogy


Here’s my position:

Taylor: The world should end

My position is best summed up by a quote from the 2006 movie Stranger than Fiction. Professor Hilbert breaks the news to Harold Crick,

“You have to die. It’s a masterpiece.”

The same is true for Palace and his world. In fact, I can imagine an ending where Palace, already on the edge of death from getting his butt kicked repeatedly through the book, performs a final act of heroism, but this time does not get up.

And it doesn’t matter, because as he’s lying there in a pool of his own blood, he watches the asteroid enter the atmosphere and light up the sky.

What I can’t imagine is giving in to the book’s conspiracy theorists (and yes, I think his sister is a nutcase) simply to garner a happy ending. I also can’t imagine a situation where the asteroid hits but somehow Palace survives. His story is done. If anyone lives it should be McConnell who will be forced into full-on survival mode with her kids. Her story is one I’d like to read.

But not Palace.

So those are my thoughts, but Kallen and Mark also read the first two books. They have a slightly different take:

Kallen: Palace Makes it

Kallen also thinks that the meteor needs to crash into Earth, but at the same time wants Palace to survive the impact. She notes that because of the suspenseful build-up, if the meteor doesn’t impact, “it makes events before less meaningful.”

Mark: Not Quite Apocalyptic

Mark wants to see the happier ending. Not the “haha, just kidding, the asteroid missed us” ending, but the one where Palace helps rebuild Concord after a not-quite apocalyptic, but still tragic impact.

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What do you think? Should the world end? Leave your thoughts in the comments!