An asteroid is on a collision course with Earth. The impact will annihilate most of the world’s population and those that do not die immediately will suffer immensely through resulting earthquakes and ash clouds. Folks are quitting their jobs, running off to do things they’ve always wanted to accomplish before the end of the world. Others are committing suicide, unable to bear the enormity of the situation, wanting to check out before the big day.
Then there are people like Detective Hank Palace who will play out their remaining days as if everything is normal. Finding a man dead, hung by a belt, Hank believes it was a murder rather than suicide. Most of his colleagues think he’s crazy, that he’s wasting his time but Hank can’t let this one go. There’s evidence to suggest that it’s not just a suicide and Detective Palace intends to find out who’s responsible.
It took me awhile to figure out exactly what the hell was wrong with Hank Palace. When we’re brought into the story, the majority of people have mentally checked out following the confirmation that this giant hunk of space rock will smash into the Earth’s surface like a punch from Ivan Drago. If they haven’t run off to live their dreams, they’re just going through the motions until the date of impact. Why the hell was Hank so driven? Was he just trying to occupy his mind until the end of the world arrived?
Always wanting to be a detective, I guess an argument can be made that Hank was already living out his dream. Due to several job openings in the Concord Police Department, Hank was quickly promoted from officer to detective. I do find it admirable that in the face of certain doom, Hank maintained that the rules still matter, that murder should not go unpunished. The problem I had was that it took me a decent length of time to really get invested in the case – I was just so apathetic to the situation. I can’t blame the author though, he clearly paints a world where the majority of the population said “screw it” and left their responsibilities behind. I’d probably have the same mindset as those people so I suppose it’s not that shocking.
If anything, the concept is interesting enough that it’s driven me to seek out the next installment. I’m not entirely sure where things are going to go from here but with the way events unfold near the book’s final pages, it’ll sure be worth exploring further.