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Re-Read: Low Town by Daniel Polansky

February 15, 2016
straight razor

I’m using the UK cover because that’s the edition I’m actually reading this time.

What I’m Reading: Low Town by Daniel Polansky (British title: The Straight Razor Cure)
Published: Doubleday, 2011
Read This: while waiting for a trouble with long legs and a short skirt to walk through your door.

Low Town is the first book in Daniel Polansky’s Low Town trilogy. The elevator pitch is that it’s a noir mystery set in a George R.R. Martin-style fantasy world.
The Warden was a soldier for half a decade in a war that devastated the world. He survived a battle where mages ripped holes in reality and won his Queen the war. Then he was an agent of the Black House, the grey-clad secret police. His fall from grace narrowly avoided a messy end in the very cells he used to oversee. Now he is a mid-level drug dealer in Low Town, the slums of the capitol.
He is slowly sliding into ruin when a young girl goes missing. It’s none of his business what the ultimate fate of the child is, but when he stumbles across her body he can’t remain detached.
Soon, Warden is embroiled in trying to solve a case that the Black House has declared closed, causing him to run up against his former colleagues. Add in some interested nobles and a very unsavory wizard and the Warden is suddenly fighting not just for his own life, but for the fate of Low Town itself.

I read this book back in 2011 when it came out here, but I never actually got around to reading the two sequels because they weren’t published here in the States for a long time. I eventually imported them, but never got around to finishing the series because, as you may remember, I have a ridiculous number of books about the house. I finally decided to finish out the series, but decided that I needed to go back and re-read the first book.
I’m really enjoying it. There are a number of parallels to World War I, that I had forgotten, so that is delightful to me. I really like WWI-based stories.
Knowing the ultimate resolution of the mystery is not at all spoiling my pleasure in reading the story. Luckily, it’s been long enough that I remember the broad strokes, but not the tiny details.
I’m really looking forward to finishing it up and moving onto the next two books. Polansky has crafted a very rich world that you want to go back to. There are funny moments and some really beautiful moments scattered through a very tense mystery.

[Warning: If you can’t deal with violence toward children, avoid this one!]

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