Friday, November 18, 2011

Book Review - Low Town by Daniel Polansky

Low Town
Daniel Polansky
Doubleday (Random House)
August 16, 2011
341 pages

ISBN: 978-0-385-53446-8


The back flyleaf gives a clear description of what you are about to experience when you pick up Low Town the debut novel by writer Daniel Polansky. “Drug dealers, hustlers, brothels, dirty politics, corrupt cops… and sorcery. Welcome to Low Town.” Except the likes of you and I would be most unwelcome within the walls of Low Town. Should you find yourself lost in the streets be sure to hold your purse in one hand and the pommel of your sword with the other because you’ll more than likely end up having to fight your way out or surrender your coin to the countless thieves, con-men, cut-throats, or dirty cops that ply the dark alleys there.

Low Town is a noir dystopian fantasy steeped in dark magic which Polansky has blended nicely into a hard-edged murder mystery with a smattering of Victorian decadence. The main character, Warden, an ex-soldier, ex-cop with a kick-ass attitude and a serious chip on his shoulder finds himself relegated to dealing drugs for a living in Low Town. But his world suddenly changes when he stumbles upon the body of a missing child in the most despicable neighborhood of Low Town. And, since local law enforcement members appear indifferent to the killing, Warden unexpectedly decides to solve the crime himself. Who else but a down-on-his-luck ex-cop would even consider taking a case like this? But the clues left behind quickly uncover a sinister plot that will take him to places he might never otherwise go and Warden quickly discovers that black-hearted sorcery lies at the bottom of numerous abductions and ritualistic murders.

Low Town is an exceptionally strong introductory novel and I see nothing but high-quality stories coming from the pen of this exceptional new author. I suggest you keep an eye out for upcoming novels in the near future. In my opinion, Daniel Polansky is a writer with great potential and hopefully we will all get to read his stories for many years to come. Low Town is recommended for fantasy purists, noir crime fans, murder mystery buffs, and anyone who likes a bit of blood and guts splattered on the pages of their dark fantasy. This is one to devour. I did!

4 stars out of 5

The Alternative
Southeast Wisconsin

Additional Reading:

Official Author Website

Low Town Excerpt (First Seven Chapters)

Fantasy Book Critic Review

New York Journal of Books Review


(UK Cover)

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