Tomorrow The Killing by Daniel Polansky – Book Review

Recently we had the exclusive reveal of the gorgeous cover to She Who Waits, the third novel in the Low Town series and today we are giving away a very cool advanced proof copy of She Who Waits which isn’t out until 31st October 2013!

TTK coverSo we’re continuing the Low Town love with a review of Tomorrow The Killing, the second book in the Low Town series by Daniel Polansky and one of the coolest fantasy novels I read last year.

Tomorrow The Killing begins by rapidly throwing us back in to the murky underworld of Low Town that our protagonist Warden calls home. A few years have gone by but little seems to have changed.

If you’ve read The Straight Razor Cure, the first Low Town novel, you’ll be pleased to know that Warden is still the same ruthless bugger with a smart mouth, a poor attitude and a nose for drugs. But in Tomorrow The Killing we see more of his calculating side, a ruthless player of games whose sharp tongue and brass balls help him manipulate his way through Low Town. This is Warden at his scheming best, applying his own morals and questionable judgement to get what he wants from anyone useful to him.

So, the story starts with old General Montgomery calling on Warden to do an old man a favour, namely to find his daughter Rhaine and bring her home. This isn’t a ‘cat in a tree’ rescue though, because Rhaine has an attitude to rival Warden’s and a personal mission to find whoever killed her brother Roland Montgomery, the founder of the Veterans’ Association. Soon the monkey’s in the banana patch and things inevitably spiral taking the danger gauge from Yikes to Holy Shit.

Fortunately, if there’s one thing Warden has more than intelligence (and he’s got a lot of that) it’s pride which means he’s not a man to run from a fight.

Cue intense conversations in smoky rooms. Cue back alley brawls.

Warden is still a drug dealer but we always knew that he had previously been both a part of Black House (the secret police) and a hero of the Great War. Tomorrow The Killing takes us deeper in to both of those aspects of Warden’s background in a way that is both interesting yet relevant to the story so it never feels tacked on.

We also get to know more about the supporting cast of Adolphus and Wren. Tired of just being a barkeep, Adolphus wants to relive his glory days and stand up for the veterans at a coming Veterans’ Rally and Wren is still a git but he’s a git with an incredible power… I won’t say too much but I loved the characters of Adolphus and Wren in The Straight Razor Cure so was particularly impressed to find their roles and lives suitably yet subtly fleshed out further in TTK.

Daniel-Polansky_thumb2There’s a lot going on around Warden but Polansky never falls in to the trap of info dumping or waffling on about this or that to show off what a wonderful world he’s built. Instead he focuses on the voice and that voice is Warden’s. Warden is a character that Polansky truly knows inside out and so, Warden’s written with a wit you wish you had and yes he might be a messed up drug dealer but he’s impossible not to like. While he might not be a good guy as such, Warden arguably has the right intentions (his attitude to Wren is proof of this) and just sees the world for what it is and what the world is, is not very nice. When every other protagonist seems to be an anti-hero these days, Warden stands out as one of the very best.

Tomorrow The Killing is a brilliant ‘ooh-dunnit?’ crime novel with more grit than a de-iced path in Alaska and more snarky wit than an Oscar Wilde convention. This book is a slow burner compared to its predecessor but is all the better for it as the story is solid and unfurls like a saucy tease, never letting up until it eventually explodes in a truly brilliant ending. It’s the kind of ending that will make you sit back and mutter under your breath something like, ‘Polansky you clever sod’.

Tomorrow The Killing is a novel that drips with stabbed backs and uneasy politics. It takes all the grit, violence and dark humour of the first novel and mixes it with a twisted and stunning crime story with the result being a truly excellent novel that is one of the best fantasy books I read last year.

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One Response to Tomorrow The Killing by Daniel Polansky – Book Review

  1. I’m super excited to read She Who Waits. I adored the first 2 low town books (both in the running for my favourite books of last year/the year before) so I’m biting at the bit to get stuck into book 3.

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