I’ve actually put off reviewing Daniel Polansky’s Low Town. Mainly so that my warm fuzzy feelings would fade some and I wouldn’t right some kind of crazy super glowing review. First off I should start by saying the UK title, The Straight Razor Cure, is way cooler than the US title. Low Town is a boring and nondescript title while The Straight Razor Cure is far more evocative of the tone Polansky is going for in the novel. You see Low Town is fantasy noir and in theme, tone, and plot is more reminiscent of a crime novel with a touch of magic. What sounds more noir to you: Low Town? Or The Straight Razor Cure?
The city of Rigus, jewel of the Thirteen Lands, is not the setting of this novel. Crouched at the feet of Rigus is the place known only as Low Town and there a man known only as The Warden makes his living selling drugs. The Warden wasn’t always a drug dealer. Once The Warden was a soldier, then he was an intelligence agent working for the shadowy Black House. Now though he walks a different path, at least right up until children start getting murdered on his turf. Dredging up unwelcome memories and unwelcome attention from his former masters the trail of bodies leads The Warden into dangerous, though familiar territories.