Review: Ben H Winters – World of Trouble

A trilogy can be a powerful self-contained series if done well. There are plenty of examples in crime fiction including Peter May’s World of TroubleLewis books which have been reviewed on this blog. It’s also a useful publishing device. If you read the first book in what you know is going to be a trilogy, you are likely to want to read the rest of the series if you have engaged with the characters and setting. This has never been more so the case with Ben H WInter’s Last Policeman books set in a world where an asteroid is due to crash into Earth with catastrophic consequences.

In World of Trouble, there are now six days left until the day of reckoning. US society has fractured to the extent that the violence that characterised earlier months has now morphed to an uneasy wait for the October day that the asteroid is due to hit. Former policeman Hank Palace, sitting in a safe house with colleagues from the Concord Police Department, embarks on a final mission to find his sister, Nico. She is part of a group of people who believe that they have a practical solution to stop the asteroid hitting the planet. But Hank senses that his sister is in trouble and makes the long journey to warn and protect her.

The most successful aspect of Winters’ trilogy has been his unflinching look at violence and the effects on his protagonists. In the first book, The Last Policeman, Hank’s girlfriend is killed which is a shock to reader and unsettles the narrative to create an uneasy read. To be able to develop this tension in the context of a society that is about to end is no mean feat. As the final reckoning approaches we, as readers, race along with Hank to discover if the asteroid will indeed destroy the world.

The problem with writing is a trilogy is that each book feeds into the next and I’m not sure the extent to which World of Trouble works as a standalone novel. For fans of Winter’s writing this isn’t a problem and is a fitting ending to an unusual series. I’ve noticed that a couple of reviews give horrendous spoilers for the end of this book. I hope you don’t read them but instead luxuriate in the writing and plot of this excellent trilogy.

Thanks to Sam at PGUK for my review copy.

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17 thoughts on “Review: Ben H Winters – World of Trouble

  1. Sarah – Excellent review as ever. You put your finger neatly on one of the issues with trilogies too. On the one hand, when the books are tightly integrated, this gives the trilogy its own shape, if I can put it that way. On the other, it can mean the books really need to be read in order if one’s going to get the most from them. But of course, with a trilogy like this one, that’s no chore at all…

  2. I’ve just listened to the second one of these and am now looking forward to the final one…very curious about how it all resolves…thanks for the warning I shall avoid all other reviews of it until I’ve read it. I hate spoilers.

  3. I think between you and Tracy, I’m interested in giving this series a shot. I bought the first book on sale. May give it a go towards the end of the year. The backlog…is tremendous.

  4. Sarah,
    Thanks so much for all your thoughts on this one–I appreciate the high quality of your reviews. I’m indeed intrigued by the apocalyptic premise. I’m also very interested in the Danish novel you’re currently reading. Does it seem just too long at 402 pages?? That’s what I’m wondering–I may hold off buying it, but it is indeed very inexpensive as a Kindle purchase.
    Judith (Reader in the Wilderness)

    • Hi Judith. Although ‘Three Dog Night’ is a long book I think it is worth the read. I read it because I am seeing the author speak on Monday at an event in Manchester. There’s a lot going on in relation to the characters. My review will be coming shortly!

    • Is that how you like to read? I do this with some authors and other I wait for a bit before continuing. It really depends on my mood. I think book 1 is the best.

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