cover image World of Trouble: The Last Policeman, Book III

World of Trouble: The Last Policeman, Book III

Ben H. Winters, read by Peter Berkrot. Brilliance Audio, , unabridged, seven CDs, 8 hrs., $19.99 ISBN 978-1-4692-2633-0

At the start of Edgar Award–winner Winters’s third and final visit to a doomed America, the galaxy shelf-life of the world is down to only 14 days, thanks to the unavoidable arrival of a giant asteroid. The U.S. is a devastated and dysfunctional mess. The novel’s protagonist, novice police detective Hank Palace; his limping dog, Houdini; and a homicidal sidekick named Cortez are on a journey across the country from a deserted police station in Concord, N.H., to the dusty and dangerous rubble of a small town in Ohio. Hank is searching for his beloved sister, Nico, who was last seen keeping company with heavily armed true believers who are eager to kill anyone trying to stop them from what they perceive as an Earth-saving mission. Reader Berkrot’s raspy rendition of Hank’s voice indicates he’s young, not terribly self-confident, but ultra-dedicated and maybe a little bit unhinged—as who wouldn’t be. Cortez, on the other hand, is quite loony, and Berkrot gives his dialogue a gleeful enthusiasm that’s more chilling than comforting. When it comes to the wide array of secondary characters Hank encounters amid his travels—some crazed and fearful, some quietly at peace—Berkrot matches their personalities and attitudes. When the novel hurtles toward a conclusion as inevitable as the descending meteor, he quickens the narrative pace until, near the end, settling into a softer, melancholic resignation. A Quirk paperback. (July)