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Low Town: A novel [Kindle Edition]

Daniel Polansky
4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (97 customer reviews)

Print List Price: $15.00
Kindle Price: $9.99
You Save: $5.01 (33%)
Sold by: Random House LLC

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Book Description

Drug dealers, hustlers, brothels, dirty politics, corrupt cops . . . and sorcery. Welcome to Low Town.

In the forgotten back alleys and flophouses that lie in the shadows of Rigus, the finest city of the Thirteen Lands, you will find Low Town. It is an ugly place, and its cham­pion is an ugly man. Disgraced intelligence agent. Forgotten war hero. Independent drug dealer. After a fall from grace five years ago, a man known as the Warden leads a life of crime, addicted to cheap violence and expensive drugs. Every day is a constant hustle to find new customers and protect his turf from low-life competition like Tancred the Harelip and Ling Chi, the enigmatic crime lord of the heathens.

The Warden’s life of drugged iniquity is shaken by his dis­covery of a murdered child down a dead-end street . . . set­ting him on a collision course with the life he left behind. As a former agent with Black House—the secret police—he knows better than anyone that murder in Low Town is an everyday thing, the kind of crime that doesn’t get investi­gated. To protect his home, he will take part in a dangerous game of deception between underworld bosses and the psy­chotic head of Black House, but the truth is far darker than he imagines. In Low Town, no one can be trusted.

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.

From the Hardcover edition.

Editorial Reviews


“For a first-time author, 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. Much like its grim, perversely charismatic antihero, Low Town stakes a narrow turf—then completely owns every inch of it.” The A.V. Club (The Onion)

“Festooned with sorcerers and demons in a pre-industrial otherworld setting, Low Town…is a fantasy-crime hybrid with serious noir chops…Gritty, cryptically funny and relentlessly inventive.” – Winnipeg Free Press

Low Town is a strong, confident debut that should go down well with readers who enjoy their fantasy on the noir side. It’s a novel you can enjoy for its atmosphere as well as its story, full as it is of well-drawn scenes from the city’s underbelly.…Low Town delivers a fast, entertaining story in less pages than it takes some major epics to get out of the realm of basic exposition. I had a blast with Low Town, and I’m definitely keeping an eye out for whatever Daniel Polansky comes up with next.”

“If you like noir and hard-boiled mysteries, you might want to give Low Town a chance. You’ll definitely find it darkly rewarding.” New York Journal of Books

"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

"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

"Quite brilliant...[Low Town] 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." --John Berlyne, SF Revu

From the Hardcover edition.

About the Author

DANIEL POLANSKY is from Baltimore, Maryland. Low Town is his first novel.

From the Hardcover edition.

Product Details

  • File Size: 1455 KB
  • Print Length: 354 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 0385534469
  • Publisher: Anchor (August 16, 2011)
  • Sold by: Random House LLC
  • Language: English
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #339,905 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
14 of 15 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Noir Fantasy June 4, 2011
Format:Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
I have been reading a good deal of history of late and welcomed the opportunity to read a different type of book such as the gritty, noir literature I enjoy. I also was interested in this new novel, "Low Town" because its young author, 26-year old Daniel Polansky, had been a student of philosophy in college, as I had been long ago.

"Low Town" is a mixture of noir and fantasy. These two types of genre writing seem incongrous at first. Noir demands a strong sense of place. a hardness, and a sense of realism. These qualities don't seem to mix well with fantasy. But for the most part, this book works. The book is set in Low Town, which is the tawdry lowlife section in a city called Rigus in a country called the Thirteen Lands. It is hard to put a time on ths story, Many of the traits of Rigus are loosely medieval but some a strikingly modern. (A grand piano is a fixture in some of the scenes.) But the world of the book differs in externals from places people know. Polansky has developed an elaborate story for his Thirteen Lands, replete with terminology for coinage and officialdom, its social structure, its own drugs of choice, and its gods and goddesses and theology. It is not a modern world, as Polansky's story relies heavily on sorcerors (there is a prestigious school for sorcery in the Thirteen Lands) and strange and unbelievable powerful and vile monsters conjured from the Beyond. Sorcery and monsters are ordinarily not the stuff of noir.

The noir elements of the story also are recognizable and ultimately are predominant in this book. The setting in Low Town, with its overcrowdedness, alleys, poverty, crime, bars, drugs, flophouses, and unsavory characters would be at home in virtually any large city. It has a sense of familiarity.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great mix of genres. June 9, 2011
Format:Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
I will admit that when I began reading this book, I did not like it much. In my mind I was expecting an Andrew Vachss type novel, hard hitting, gritty, and based on the dirty streets of the city. The mix of fantasy; sorcerers, spells, and drugs with names like "pixies breath" and "dreamvine" was something I found distracting and unwelcome. So I put it down for a few days, cleared my mind and started again without any preconceptions of what to expect.
Immediately the true power of this book hit me. All the things that before I saw as distractions were in fact, all to the benefit of the book, story and characters. The setting of a fantasy realm blends perfectly with the story, not detracts from it. In fact the tale could not be told in any other way, such is the way it was written. The main characters all are well developed, the story is tight, brutal, and moves along at a great pace. There is plenty of the 'noir' elements such as drugs, murder, grime and corruption in the story. This is played against the backdrop of a mythical city where magic and noble families are part of the daily life. It flows together seamlessly and becomes a book that is hard to put down.
The basic story concerns the murders of children in a poor part of the city, but where such a thing as murder is common, these murders are linked to something much, much more sinister. A disgraced and fallen ex law enforcer turned drug dealer finds himself drafted into solving the mystery. In doing so it leads him down a brutal path where not everything or anyone is quite what they seem. There is also an ending that delivers the goods in a way that will satisfy any mystery reader.
If you are a fan of either genre, I strongly encourage you to read this. If you want to try some new material by a equally new author, this is the book for you.
I look foward to more work by this author, hopefully including more of these characters and location.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Buyer beware: Low Town = The Straight Razor Cure March 28, 2014
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Enjoyed the book, but disappointed to find that The Straight Razor Cure is exactly the same book as Low Town, which is listed on Amazon as "Low Town (Low Town, Book 1)". I recommend the book, but such foolishness as republishing recent releases under new titles is deceptive.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A noir fantasy that's not to be missed! August 16, 2011
Our hero,the Warden,is a scarred man,inside and out,however,he's carved out a niche for himself in Low Town,dealing drugs and enjoying a certain shabby comfort under the watchful eye of his friend Adolphus and his doting wife. The Warden has a past in law enforcement,but one mistake cost him that career,so now he gets by the best he can. When he comes upon the body of a little girl,murdered and left for dead in the street,he finds himself sucked in to a diabolical evil,and compelled to find the person,or thing,responsible for her death. Unfortunately,her death won't be the only one... Aided by a street urchin named Wren,his friends on the street,and even some friends in high places,the Warden will have to track down a man that won't hesitate to use magic for murder.

I really,really enjoyed Low Town. There were none of the growing pains that are sometimes present in first novels,and it reads like a crime thriller. However,Low Town is not of our world. Daniel Polansky took our world,twisted it in on itself,steeped it in magic and set it loose. The effect is nothing short of dazzling. You'll meet underworld criminals,petty thieves,street kids,prostitutes with unearthly beauty,and creatures only found in nightmares. Low Town is fast paced,gritty,with plenty of action to satisfy any crime/thriller fan,and more than enough magic to make fantasy fans equally happy. All this,and a twist that this jaded reader didn't see coming,make Low Town a fantasy/noir treat that's not to be missed!
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars A World Beyond Imagining - A New Land For The Admirer Of The Weird
A Noir masterpiece with a curious blend of scary, deadly, weird and, well, everything. Absolutely Fascinating and I am determined to read more by this author whose works are a bit... Read more
Published 1 month ago by Specklebang
4.0 out of 5 stars Four Stars
Interesting plot with unseen twist at the end. Very enjoyable and quick read.
Published 1 month ago by robert
4.0 out of 5 stars noir fantasy, thriller with sword and sorcery
4.5 stars really.

Low Town is a dystopic community of degenerates, criminals, and down-on-their-luck citizens of Rigus. Read more
Published 2 months ago by MC
5.0 out of 5 stars The Real Thing
When someone tells me something is noir, I tend to think of the pastiches, the stories that go over the top in dark tone and short terse sentence, the ones with dames and punks. Read more
Published 2 months ago by Amazon Customer
4.0 out of 5 stars Four Stars
Great debut novel. Very impressive new voice in fantasy. Looking forward to his next books.
Published 2 months ago by Caleb Indenbaum
5.0 out of 5 stars Different than your usual fantasy
This book felt fresh in the line of now standard fantasy anti-hero with a different than normal environment. Read more
Published 3 months ago by M. Simpson
4.0 out of 5 stars Block's Scudder through the wormwhole
Gritty noir detective story in a novel setting. Magic replaces tech, but Polansky writes the conflicting desires of a dark hero like Dashiel Hammet's Continental Op and Lawrence... Read more
Published 4 months ago by Patrick Murphy
5.0 out of 5 stars Outstanding
The author has such an amazing talent he can capture you from the first page and has an almost poetic feel to his words. Read more
Published 4 months ago by Amanda Moore
5.0 out of 5 stars Noir and fantasy
This book left me wanting to know more about the world written in its pages. I can't wait to read more from this author. Quick read and intellectually written.
Published 4 months ago by Amy Pippins
4.0 out of 5 stars Great read
I loved the writing. Would have liked more background to the story and to the main character near the beginning.
Published 6 months ago by Diane C., Massillon OH
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