The Straight Razor Cure

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Low Town: The Straight Razor Cure , Daniel Polansky, book reviewThe Straight Razor Cure by Daniel Polansky is a blend of noir crime with fantasy fiction. It is set in Low Town, a crime-ridden and deprived region of a larger fictional world which is not described in detail. The hero of the novel is “The Warden”, whose history is gradually revealed during the course of the book. We learn early on that he is now a drug dealer (although he seems to consume at least as many drugs as he sells), a dominant figure in his own territory within boundaries agreed with similar neighbouring figures. He seems to be on good terms with most of the populace, though quickly and violently dealing with any incursions from other dealers into his space. In due course, it comes apparent that previously he had been a member of a law enforcement agency, although the events which led him to his current occupation are never quite made clear. The main plot of the book deals with a series of ritualistic child murderers with magical overtones. The Warden is drawn into the investigation of these murders, the root of which can be traced back to events in his past.

Polansky does his best to create a convincing and interesting fantasy world in The Straight Razor Cure. Overall, he does a reasonable job, though there was not anything here which seemed particularly new. Indeed, at times the book seems to fall back on some of the most clichéd motifs in the genre (including a wizard in a tower). Despite this, it is a likeable book which kept me turning the pages. The combination of fantasy with noir crime is an interesting one. There were one or two amusingly black moments and asides, but overall I was still left with a sense that I had read it all before. The Warden is potentially a strong character, and a useful supporting cast is assembled. Plenty of opportunity is left for further novels in the series and I think that there is a good chance that these will follow. Overall, a moderately enjoyable read — not outstanding, but worthwhile if you have an interest in fantasy fiction.

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Low Town: The Straight Razor Cure
by Daniel Polansky

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Written by Ian

Ian is a medical academic with a long standing interest in books, particularly literary and crime fiction, as both a reader and a collector. He has published extensively in the scientific literature, mainly on nutrition. He has two grown-up children and lives in Ireland.

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