Low Town, a.k.a. The Straight Razor Cure by @DanielPolansky

What an excellent book! It is such a shame the US publisher dropped this series. I rank this as one of the best books I’ve read, right on par with The Lies of Locke Lamora by Scott Lynch and The Broken Empire series by Mark Lawrence. Low Town (a.k.a. The Straight Razor Cure) is a masterpiece of dark fantasy and noir mixed together. I’m new to noir and from this experience, I have to say I love it.

Warning: Slight Spoilers

Magic is to fantasy as carbon is to life. Low Town’s magical elements are mysterious to the reader and while they are an important aspect, they don’t take center stage of the story like you’ll find in a Sanderson novel. The main character (our detective per se) has no skill with “the art”. Instead he depends on his intellect and wit, and when those fail – his blade, to evade his own murder and solve the horrific crimes plaguing the slums. He is hounded by various organizations, both criminal and lawful. His quest: to clear his name with his former employers (the special ops section of a dangerous detective agency in employ with the crown) by solving the case of murdered children in Low Town.

Meanwhile a plague threatens to return after years of absence due to the failing health of the sorcerer who maintains the wards holding it at bay. His apprentice, a young girl that our main character rescued as a youth, seeks to take up the mantle of protecting the city after her master’s fast approaching death. She aids the main character in what small ways she can, but she isn’t nearly as powerful as her master was.

The story grabs you on the first page. The pace propels you from chapter to chapter. The excitement and mystery keeps you guessing and you may have ideas, but you never know which way things are going to go next.

They say you shouldn’t judge a book by its cover. The fact of the matter is that most people do exactly that. Proof couldn’t be more evident than in this example. Take a look below and make your own conclusions as to why the book fares better in the UK than here in the US and why subsequently the US publisher dropped this series for lack of sales (at least that is what I’ve read on other blogs). If you want to read books 2 and 3, you’ll have to import copies from the UK for now – a high cost yes, but I am sure it will be worth it. The audible format is highly recommended for Low Town as well.

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I rate this book 5 out of 5 stars. It is firmly in my top ten favorites of all time.

You can buy it here: US Amazon or UK Amazon

Or listen to it via audible

The sequels via Amazon UK (will ship worldwide): Book 2 and Book 3

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Book Review – The Language of Dying by @SarahPinborough

This novella moved me deeply. That doesn’t happen often and I read a fair amount.

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The story follows the dialog of a woman confiding her innermost thoughts to her dead father. The central plot is of her caring for her dad in his last weeks of life. Throughout the story, pieces of her life from childhood through the present are weaved in.

There are a lot of heart wrenching moments that made me empathize deeply with her. Through a modern dysfunctional family to a Beauty and the Beast tale gone all wrong, this woman keeps drifting along. In the end she overcomes her broken life, but to where she goes we do not know. A hint of the supernatural prevails the story adding a nice spice to an already delicious tale.

Having a little girl myself and some recent health-scares of my own really brought this home. The story had me on the verge of tears and choking up at points. It’s beautifully written and I know it’s going to stay with me for a long time.

I highly recommend this book with an enthusiastic 5 out of 5 stars. I want to thank Jo Fletcher Books for the review copy they sent me this very morning. I will be ordering my own copy shortly for my book shelf.

You can buy it here (UK):

You can buy it here (US):