Tomorrow, the Killing: Low Town 2 (Low Town Novels) Paperback – 23 May 2013
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"With THE STRAIGHT RAZOR CURE, Polansky pushed the envelope of modern fantasy. With TOMORROW THE KILLING, he tears through the envelope and pushes for horizons yet unseen." (Myke Cole, author of Control Point)
'In Tomorrow the Killing, Polansky shows us he is no one-book wonder... If you haven't read Polansky yet, you must remedy this ASAP. He writes gripping, addictive stories with a grim eloquence...Very, very highly recommended. Polansky is definitely among my new favourite authors. Essential reading.' (civilian-reader.blogspot.com)
'Tomorrow The Killing delivers more of the same noir-esque brilliance that placed The Straight Razor Cure amongst the top releases of last year.' (The British Fantasy Society)
Praise for THE STRAIGHT RAZOR CURE:
'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'(SF Revu)
'Quite possibly the newest, freshest fantasy novel since Patrick Rothfuss' The Name of the Wind. It is, in short, the bastard son of George R. R. Martin and Raymond Chandler, an unusual combination of hard-boiled crime novel in a fantasy world setting.' (readerdad.co.uk)
'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'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)
'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)
'I can't remember when I last enjoyed a fantasy book this much' (Books Monthly)
TOMORROW, THE KILLING is Daniel Polansky's astonishing return to Low Town, the fantasy ghetto he created in THE STRAIGHT RAZOR CURE.See all Product description
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In Tomorrow the Killing we get not one but two mysteries to solve, not just the identity of the people behind the murders of Roland and Rhaine, but also the motivation for them. In both cases they aren't killed by whom you'd suspect. In my opinion the puzzle of the whodunit was more intricate this time around; in The Straight Razor Cure I'd figured out who did it early on, even if I didn't know why until the end. In Tomorrow the Killing I was taken completely by surprise by the identity of the instigator of both murders--Polansky pulled a fast one on me. In hindsight, there were enough clues, I'd just completely missed them.
But far more than a murder mystery this is a further exploration of the character of the Warden. Polansky continues to show us Warden's history through flashbacks to relevant events in his life. We learn not just more about Warden, but about Adolphus and several smaller secondary characters as well. We also learn more of the history of the Rigan Empire, in particular about the war with the Dren, which is very reminiscent in setting to WWI. Polansky evokes the Great War's trench warfare and the trials and tribulations of the soldiers fighting it vividly. From the endless mud and rain, the futility of gaining - or losing as the case may be - a few foot of ground after each assault, and the devastating effect of shell shock on the troops, you can just feel the blunted despair of the soldiers. During the book we see Warden slip down a slippery slope, becoming more and more morose and bleak, and seeking his refuge in drugs even more, culminating in confrontation with Adeline, Adolphus' wife - who almost functions as a stand-in for the reader at that point, at least this reader, trying to talk some sense into this self-destructive man that Warden has become - and by the end there might be a suggestion that he'll turn his life around.
Even in the lowest point of his downward swing, Warden is humanised by his relationships with Adolphus, Adeline and Wren and his sense of obligation to General Montgomery and Rhaine. While he becomes distinctly unsympathetic at points and does some pretty atrocious things, which can't - and shouldn't - be excused because of his, mostly, good intentions, his care and sense of responsibility for his 'family' at the Earl show that at heart he isn't the blackguard he seems; he's flawed, certainly, and a thug and an addict, but he's not evil, such as The Old Man. He's broken, both by the losses he suffered from the plague as a child and his experiences during the war.
While we learn more about Warden's history with the Black House, we still haven't learned what happened to get him stripped of his position there. A third book is in the works though, so I'm hoping all will be revealed sooner rather than later. There is also a growing threat from The Old Man, the head of the Black House, its Special Operations unit, and Warden's erstwhile mentor. It seems he isn't quite done with Warden yet. So there are plenty of avenues left open for Polansky to explore and that's not even taking into account what new plot lines he might introduce. I can't wait to find out what they might be.
Tomorrow the Killing is a fantastic second novel for Polansky and it has only whetted my appetite for more: more of Low Town and more of Polansky's writing. If you haven't met the Warden yet, you're missing out. Tomorrow the Killing, like its predecessor The Straight Razor Cure, comes highly recommended and is a strong candidate for my top 10 Books of 2012.
This book was provided for review by the publisher.
Although this is the second in a series it does pretty much stand alone, and anyone who hasn't read the first book might still be able to get into this. Although you would probably still be better off starting with that volume.
This one runs for three hundred and forty one pages and is divided into forty eight chapters.
It contains some strong language and quite a bit of violence and some bloody moments, and thus is really one for mature readers only.
As with the first book, the use of a magic system does make this a story that could only be told in the fantasy genre, rather than historical or a thriller.
As readers of said first book will recall, Warden fought in his nation's great war against a people called the Dren. The after effects of said conflict still linger on the city. With the veteran's association up in arms about a plan to tax their pensions.
Warden is asked by a General from the conflict to track down his daughter. Who has strayed into Low Town on a quest for answers. About the death of her brother, a few years before. He was acquainted with Warden.
The hunt for the girl leads to the past coming back to haunt people, and Warden being caught in the middle of some deadly schemes. Once again, he has a fight on his hands to survive. But sometimes in Lowtown, that's all you can do...
The narration is very hard boiled private detective in style, but the character does fit the setting well. The narrative will on occasion devote whole chapters to flashbacks that describe incidents in the war. Chapters that pull no punches in depicting the horrors of conflict and what soldiers face when subjected to the whims of politicians. All this is very well done.
The prose isn't spectacular but it's pretty readable and clear which makes the pages turn nicely enough.
The world building is really very good. There's lots of little detail in a very convincing setting, and you're never overloaded with this, since you only see it through Warden's eyes.
It can feel at the start as if you've been dropped into the middle of things, since various details about the General's son are only gradually revealed. But there is some very good writing going on here. As it all becomes clear when things move to a head in the last forty pages, with some decent developments that you really won't see coming.
A very decent second volume. I look forward to more.
I criticised the first book due to the obviousness of the climax, this book is just a story based in a city over a few days yet unbelievably engrossing. I could continue with my superlatives but won't bore you, if you enjoy fantasy then I cannot see how you could not enjoy this book and would recommend it highly.
As with the original its well written, the characters not only fun to be around but fully fleshed which when blended with the authors no nonsense writing style alongside cracking pace makes this a hard title to put down. Add to this a huge variety of twists to keep you glued and all in it's a title that I had a hell of a time putting down. Just don't expect to get much rest the night you start this book.
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Most recent customer reviews
The story carried on at a decent pace and was a joy to read.
The Warden is a likeable chap even though slightly shady.Read more
Once he was a hero of the Great War, and then a member of the dreaded Black House.Read more
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