Tuesday, 9 October 2012

'Tomorrow the Killing' - Daniel Polansky


I read a lot of good books last year, but Daniel Polansky's first Low Town novel, The Straight Razor Cure, really caught my attention. There are a lot of books with anti-heroes and dark, gritty worlds, but few of them are executed as well as The Straight Razor Cure. Tomorrow the Killing was a no brainer. Thank you Hodder for providing me with a review copy.

Not much has changed since the first book, Warden is still running his little one man crime empire. Being too small for the big guys to worry about and just crazy enough the smaller operations stay away from him. He still owns a bar with his friend from the army, Adolphus, and spends most of his time drunk or doped up on drugs. Warden is contacted by the father of his military commander, so he reluctantly sobers up to go meet with the old man. It's not an easy meeting, it brings back a lot of memories from his past, which he would have preferred to stay forgotten. The old man's daughter has gone missing, and she is in Low Town asking questions about the death of her brother. This is the brother who was Warden's commander back in the day, and he knows her questions are unwanted, and so does the old man.

Warden, being a anti hero after all, obviously refuses, but he ain't fooling anyone. Daniel Polansky writes brilliant power games, and this is what a young woman's questions turn into. Warden is once again pulled into a intricate political game, where every piece on the board is expendable. There is a lot more to it than a missing person, Warden's past plays a big part of it. Context to the main story arc is provided by flashbacks. Not only does it explain the why, but it also lets Warden grow as a character. This is a world where humanity is not showing it's best side, a place where the strong devours the weak. A sign of goodness is a sign of weakness, and holding on to it, is what this book is all about.

I really liked The Straight Razor Cure, but I absolutely loved Tomorrow the Killing. Everything which was good in the first book is even better in the second. Daniel Polansky ticks every box, but it's his protagonist, Warden, who really shines. A gruff anti hero character is not easy to pull off, and often they feel over the top, and unrealistic. Not the case here, Warden is lifelike, but you can see why he is so defensive and closed with other people. The man also delivers some cracking one liners, which lightens up, an otherwise, very serious book. I don't want to go on about the grittiness of the world anymore, but lets just say it's not about winning, just making sure everyone else loses more than you.

Tomorrow the Killing weighs in at 368 pages, and is published by Hodder. It scheduled for release on the 11th of October 2012.

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