31 October, 2011

Review - Low Town/The Straight Razor Cure by Daniel Polansky

In the forgotten back alleys and flophouses that lie in the shadows of Rigus, the finest city of the Thirteen Lands, you will find Low Town. It is an ugly place, and its cham­pion is an ugly man. Disgraced intelligence agent. Forgotten war hero. Independent drug dealer. After a fall from grace five years ago, a man known as the Warden leads a life of crime, addicted to cheap violence and expensive drugs. Every day is a constant hustle to find new customers and protect his turf from low-life competition like Tancred the Harelip and Ling Chi, the enigmatic crime lord of the heathens.

The Warden’s life of drugged iniquity is shaken by his dis­covery of a murdered child down a dead-end street . . . set­ting him on a collision course with the life he left behind. As a former agent with Black House—the secret police—he knows better than anyone that murder in Low Town is an everyday thing, the kind of crime that doesn’t get investi­gated. To protect his home, he will take part in a dangerous game of deception between underworld bosses and the psy­chotic head of Black House, but the truth is far darker than he imagines. In Low Town, no one can be trusted.
Low Town [US] [UK] [Kindle] is Daniel Polasnky's debut novel - a fantasy that's not completely a fantasy. Told in the first person, Low Town is, and I don't think I'm the first to report, a crime noir story in a fantastical setting. It literally is a crime thriller set in a medieval secondary world...and it's works really well.

Warden is your typical bad-A with a heart of gold. His hard exterior comes from the way the system's treated him, his participation not only in the military, but in the police force, neither of which ending on the best of terms.

Throughout most of the book, Warden is extremely mysterious and Low Town was very hard to put down because of this aspect - Warden's always got something new up his sleeve, some talent or contact. This is especially surprising because of his work as a drug dealer.

And that's one of the things that makes Warden so surprising. This drug dealer has already tried everything and this is the field of work he's landed on and stuck with.

As we learn more about Warden's talents and networking skills, certain parts of his past are revealed as well and these were some of the best parts of the book. Not only do they not slow down the fast pace of this book, but they move the plot forward deftly.

Coming from the streets, Warden had it rough, but was able to prove his good nature by helping those less fortunate than himself, those who hadn't found a place for themselves as he had.

This next paragraph is not quite a spoiler, but may spoil the book if you read it, so read at your own risk:

I did figure out the ending pretty early on in the book, and the reason for the warning is because I think it's only because I read a review that mentioned this same thing. But, despite the fact that I knew the ending "whodunit," I still highly enjoyed the ride, exploring the world of Low Town and the character of Warden.

Why Read Low Town?

Are you in the mood for a fast-paced book that's almost impossible to put down? Low Town is a great break from your average fantasy. It certainly has plenty of fantasy elements, but this is its own beast altogether, something I've never seen in a fantasy novel. Highly Recommended.

4 out of 5 Stars (Loved it)

Oh, and Happy Halloween! :)

A copy of this book was provided by the publisher


Pabkins said...

I'm so glad to hear you loved it as well! I simply ate up his sense of humor!

Pabkins @ Mission to Read

Bryce L. said...

Agreed, looking forward to more from him.

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