Akhirnya’s CBR4 #15 and #16: The Last Policeman and Zone One
Zone One by Colson Whitehead (336 p.) and The Last Policeman by Ben Winters (288 p.)
I’ve had a difficult time fitting in reading with my schedule – started plenty of books, but finishing them has been difficult. I have even finished some, but it’s been so long ago and I was without internet access, that writing reviews for them has been problematic.
Then I started going to the gym. I’ve got a kindle, so instead of listening to music mindlessly for an hour to get my cardio in, I read on the kindle instead. It’s been an amazing incentive, because I like reading more than I like the elliptical machine, and it’s my scheduled reading time. Even awful books become fun to finish.
My first foray into kindle exercise led me to The Last Policeman. It tells the story of Detective Hank Palace, only recently promoted to his position whilst not expecting to stay in it long. An asteroid has been projected to hit the earth and Detective Palace is serving on a disappearing police force as more and more people devote themselves to their ‘bucket lists’ and final moments, rather than the jobs needed for society to function.
Winters manages to create a believable pre-apocalyptic world and weaves the mystery of who framed the murder of a boring suit from an insurance company to look like a suicide. Palace isn’t a bad detective; I didn’t become overly invested in any of the other characters, but it was a fun mystery with an original premise.
Zone Zero was written in a similar vein, although from the post-apocalyptic view: the end times had already come, and it was in the form of zombies. It follows the story of Mark Spitz, an average Joe who managed to survive and is now on a clean up crew making New York City livable again.
I’m a sucker for zombies. And it takes a heck of a a lot of effort to turn a post-apocalypse, let one one filled with zombies, into something utterly unengaging and boring. But I couldn’t bring myself to give a damn about Spitz or any of the other characters. There was just NOTHING to hold onto – no plot or purpose to the story, no characters that drew you in (it felt like at least 100 pages were spent detailing just HOW average Spitz was), no interesting commentary on the change in society or people’s personality. Attempts were made at all of these things, with the possible exception of plot, but all of them fizzled.
A tedius and non-recommended read.