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Low Town: The Straight Razor Cure Hardcover – 18 Aug 2011

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 368 pages
  • Publisher: Hodder & Stoughton (18 Aug. 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1444721291
  • ISBN-13: 978-1444721294
  • Product Dimensions: 16 x 3.4 x 23.6 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (78 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 435,535 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description


'I can't remember when I last enjoyed a fantasy book this much' (Books Monthly)

'Polansky's writing is confident and punchy from the offset. The action rips along at a brilliant pace allowing us to experience this gritty world through the eyes of a thrilling, dangerous, flawed, yet strangely endearing protagonist. This is modern, dark fantasy at its best and a debut to be envied.' (British Fantasy Society)

'Quite brilliant... The Straight Razor Cure is as good a debut as I've read in along time. [It] has it all - and as the name suggests, it is sharp, steely and viciously bloody. Highly recommended' (John Berlyne, SF Revu)

'Polansky hits all the right notes in his intelligent first novel, a blend of dystopian fantasy and hard-boiled crime... Sharp, noir-tinged dialogue and astute insights into class struggle mark Polansky as a writer with a future' (Publishers Weekly)

'A strong debut novel with a hero who doesn't waste time worrying about the moral implications of cutting someone's throat' (Kirkus Reviews)

'Polansky transplants his love of crime noir into a magic-steeped, secondary-world fantasy setting. It's an inherently troublesome mash-up that could only work in the hands of a silly satirist or a deft, sensitive dramatist with the blackest sense of humor. Polansky is wholeheartedly the latter - and Low Town is brilliant proof ... Wielding vivid characters and scalpel-sharp banter worthy of fellow dark fantasists Scott Lynch and Joe Abercrombie, Polansky ratchets up the pace ... Polansky has managed to craft an assured, roaring, and rollicking hybrid, a cross-genre free-for-all that relishes its tropes while spitting out their bones. And he does it all while spinning one hell of a gripping mystery' (avclub.com)

'Daniel Polansky has crafted a thrilling novel steeped in noir sensibilities and relentless action, and set in an original world of stunning imagination, leading to a gut-wrenching, unforeseeable conclusion. Low Town is an attention-grabbing debut that will leave readers riveted . . . and hungry for more' (missiontoread.com)

An impossible to put down read, showing how dark fantasy can truly be (thefoundingfields.com)

'The Straight Razor Cure is dark, eloquent work filled with a very real presence that permeates both the world and the characters within it. Polansky has created a wickedly delicious fantasy that leaves a profound impression on the reader. Despite the plague, murderers and dark magic, I can't wait to pay another visit to Low Town' (mithrilwisdom.blogspot.com)

Book Description

Criminal. Murderer. Hero.

Welcome to Low Town.

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Customer Reviews

4.1 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Lou pendergrast on 24 Sept. 2011
Format: Hardcover
Book Description
Rigus is the greatest city in the Thirteen Lands, a glittering metropolis of crystalline citadels and sumptuous manors, where the gentlewomen hide delicate smiles behind silken sleeves and bored nobles settle affairs of honour with cold steel. But light casts shadow, and in the darkness of the spires the baseborn struggle, eeking out an existence amidst the cast-offs of their betters. This is Low Town, a sprawling warren of side streets and back alleys, of boarded up windows and false storefronts. Here the corner boys do a steady trade to the dead-eyed and despairing, and a life can be bought with a clipped copper penny.

Low Town is an ugly place, and its champion is an ugly man. A former war hero and intelligence agent, now a crime lord addicted to cheap violence and expensive narcotics, the Warden spends his days hustling for customers and protecting turf, until the chance discovery of a murdered child sets him on a collision course with the life he'd left behind. As bodies bloat in the canal and winter buries the city, he plays a desperate game of deception, pitting the underworld powers against his former colleagues in the secret police, hoping to find the source of the evil before it consumes him, and perhaps the city itself.

In the tradition of Daniel Hammett and Gene Wolfe comes LOW TOWN THE STRAIGHT RAZOR CURE, a novel about the taint of blood and the impossibility of redemption. Bold, brilliant writing makes this a debut that will change the fantasy world landscape.

My Review
This is a story where Fantasy fans can get a taste of a hard boiled PI sort of character, with a good blend of dystopia and detective work in Low Town.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By TOMunro on 6 Aug. 2014
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
There is a power available to first person narratives, being wholly inside the protaganist's head and experiencing the story only through their eyes. The people and the context are filtered by the lens of the unreliable narrator's own distorting perspective. I have just finished this book and I am suddenly struck by the thought - do I even know the narrator's name? He is the Warden and I have ridden so intimately in his head that I know and use his own name as little as I would think of my own in everyday life. I am and so is he.

The story is sustained by an intoxicating mix of rich ingredients. The writing is lyrical, the view point like a fantasy version of Philip Marlowe, Raymond Chandler's smooth private investigator. Our Hero, like Marlowe encounters murder and straddles the cultural map, between the squalor of the underclass and the unjustified privilege of an elite tottering unknowingly on the brink of extinction. But the Warden is more that Marlowe, he has a complex past and when we first him his business is trafficking a variety of imaginatively named narcotics, rebranded for a fantasy setting, after all vice is universal. When you think of the city of Rigis (of which low town is the seediest quarter), think not of Minas Tirith, so much as Dickensian London, or even the Gilroy's cartons of the gin houses of Georgian times. The warden is not above sampling his own wares, a sniff of pixie breath getting him through a variety of very trying days and there are plenty of them in the course of this book.

But this is so much more than Marlowe with magic. There is a city struggling with the aftermath of a plague and a war, which add elements of 1660s London and early twentieth century England to the delicious stew that Polanski is cooking.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Liz Wilkins TOP 500 REVIEWER on 28 Nov. 2013
Format: Paperback
Thank you to the author/publisher for the review copy.

Here, the criminal is king. The streets are filled with the screeching of fish hags, the cries of swindled merchants, the inviting murmurs of working girls. Here, people can disappear, and the lacklustre efforts of the guard ensure they are never found.
Warden is an ex-soldier who has seen the worst men have to offer; now a narcotics dealer with a rich, bloody past and a way of inviting danger.

Yep this one was definitely perfect reading for me. It managed to be everything I love all in one story - a crime novel, a thriller, a modern and dark fantasy tale, rich in loveable hateable characters with some ironic humour and a dash of magic. Sign me up for the rest of the "Low Town" books right here and now..

Our protagonist Warden is a definitive anti-hero, with his drug dealing (and partaking of) habits and his distinct lack of interest in any problems that do not directly affect him. Until that is, a child goes missing and he stumbles over the discarded body. Evil is afoot and Warden is not going to let it fester...

I adore the world these characters inhabit - Mr Polansky writes with a wry eye towards class systems - His description of the nobility from Warden's point of view made me giggle wildly and there is a lot of ironic humour to be found here - which is a perfect foil for the more horrific and violent moments of this novel which are dark indeed and also extremely compelling.
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