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Challenger Deep
Brendan Shusterman, Neal Shusterman
The Unlikely Hero of Room 13B
Teresa Toten
Bone Gap
Laura Ruby
Finding the Worm (Twerp Sequel)
Mark Goldblatt
Kirby Larson
Small Victories: Spotting Improbable Moments of Grace
Anne Lamott
Killer Instinct
Jennifer Lynn Barnes
Unbroken: A World War II Story of Survival, Resilience, and Redemption
Laura Hillenbrand
The Night Journal
Elizabeth Crook
Dead End in Norvelt
Jack Gantos

Dystopian Noir Mysteries are a Ton of Fun!

The Last Policeman - Ben H. Winters Countdown City - Ben H. Winters


I picked up The Last Policeman because I love mysteries. My colleague Dr. Karin Perry mentioned that it was set in a dystopian USA of the near future and that intrigued me as well. Early on I picked up on the noir elements, which for me heightened reading enjoyment. I really like the earnest young cop who wants to help people who have been wronged, even as it appears a catastrophic event looms on the with only weeks of "normality" left for the world. A giant meteor is on collision course with Earth and there seems to be no avoiding the disaster. The impact will immediately destroy the area where it hits. It will also cause dire consequences to worldwide weather, bringing down earthquakes, tsunamis, and devastating climate changes. So....yikes! Why try to carry on? Our young hero deals with the state of affairs by doing just that with the new career he loves, that of a police investigator. In this first book he seeks to prove that a death that appears to be suicide is actually murder. With suicides increasingly common in view of impending doom, Henry Palace has little support from his fellows. Still he sticks with it and the reader is treated to the ensuing plot twists and turns. Unlike some series books, there is a definite conclusion to this story and it can stand alone as a fun read.


Because I liked the first story so much, I immediately went on to the next in the series, Countdown City. Predictably things are deteriorating more as time runs out for Earth's inhabitants. A childhood friend, his babysitter who is just a few years older, beseeches Henry to find her husband. People are disappearing all over the world for numerous reasons, and the infrastructure needed to do a missing person's search has long since unraveled. Still Henry agrees to take on the quest and he is a man of his word. Again there are complications that make for a fast and enjoyable read. Also, this book has plenty of structure and characterization to enable it to stand alone. The reason to reach for the next book in the series is simply that the reader likes the stories so much. That's me. I NEED the next book!


If you like mysteries with convoluted plots and find idea of a dystopian noir mystery to be enticing, these books will not disappoint.