Title: Countdown City Author: Ben H. Winters Publisher: Quirk Books (July 16, 2013) Format: Paperback; Pgs 320 Genre: Suspense Source: Amazon Vine Series:Last Policeman #2
I have come to realize that I have been putting off this review because I just did not like the book. I enjoyed the first book in this series, the Last Policeman, the pace of that book kept me tuned in to Henry Palace and the impending doom.
Sorry to say that midway through Countdown City, I found myself picking up other books and then going back to this one. Something was missing. The book was lagging and dragging and I was forcing myself to finish. It almost felt as if Ben Winters did not have a definitive destination for this book.
Henry Palace, a pseudo police office, had agreed to look for Brett Cavatone, the missing husband of his childhood babysitter. Apparently, Brett is the perfect person so when he disappears Martha Milano knows something is wrong. Why would a state trooper leave his job to go to work for his father in law’s pizza place and then out of the blue disappear?
What is wrong is that an asteroid is hurtling to earth and civilization has gone on a bit of a hiatus. If people have not down right left to fulfill their bucket lists, they have basically given up and are just waiting for the next seventy-four days until the big one hits. That is all except Henry, for some reason he is still going to work everyday and taking on cases that no one else cares about.
With the help of his sister Nico, who is a bit off her proverbial rocker, they head out to find Brett. I am still trying to figure out the reverting to hippie communes, but Nico and Henry find themselves on the University of New Hampshire campus, where their investigation has lead them in their search.
As the duo continues searching for Brett, Henry is subjected to listening to his sister’s conspiracy theories as to why the government is not stepping up and destroying this asteroid. Really? Poor Henry, all he wants to do is find the missing man and get his sister to shut-up for five minutes. See, this is what happens when you offer to help a friend.
Now is the part that I have to admit that the last one hundred pages or so were very good. The storyline grabbed hold and it was a race to the end. Unfortunately, you will have to suffer your way through two hundred plus pages to get to the real meat of the story. Not only that, but you might also have to admit the wacky Nico just might be on to something.
For me, this book was all over the place, the storyline felt disjointed. Characters come and go and I as the reader was a bit confused as to whom I should be paying attention to. This book felt like the common “throw it all against the wall and see what sticks” and then rebuild from there approach to writing a book.
There is humor, very dark humor, but still I did find myself laughing, unfortunately that was not enough for me to say that this was as good as the first. I sure hope that Ben pulls it together by the final installment and he had better not pull a “just kidding, the asteroid is not going to hit after all and we can go back to who we were before the impending doom of Maia”.