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.
I rate this book 5 out of 5 stars. It is firmly in my top ten favorites of all time.
Or listen to it via audible