There is something equally fascinating and disturbing about watching your favourite author becoming a fan of a book series and see him talking about someone else’s novel with as much, almost childish enthusiasm as you do about his. At any rate, it’s not something that could be ignored for long, hence I soon found myself face-to-face with the culprit himself and it’s only sufficient to say that in my eyes Daniel Polansky had a hell of an expectation to live up to.
I’d like to think that I started reading the first book of his Low Town series, The Straight Razor Cure, with a particularly critical eye, investigating not as much the possible outcomes of his noir fantasy novel, but more the goods he had on the shelf to offer, which had such an effect on some of the people I know, that they started calling him a writer’s writer. And I did find out soon enough, that as a truly effective cure can only be expected, it was dark, bitter and highly addictive.
With such a close inspection however I also couldn’t help connecting with his first person narrated villain, the Warden, fairly early in the story and even if he was not designed to be likeable by his creator, I have to admit, I grew to care about him. He could be disputing this revelation strongly however, had he the chance, given that a good couple of times when the poor man suffered I was laughing wholeheartedly on the other side of the book, thoroughly enjoying myself. For this I blame Polansky’s slick and witty prose, that got me hooked so neatly straight at the beginning that I hadn’t even noticed it.
In hindsight I wonder if I could have seen the plot clearer, had I not been so utterly lost in the main character’s thoughts. But I’m glad I was, because this way the ending took me by complete surprise. I remember, one of the first sentences I said to the author upon meeting him was, how I had come to see him as his fan’s fan. In a way I was clinging to that position barely by the fingertips during the better part of the story. But following the fact he played me so well and left me gaping after I closed the book, I had to give in, too.
At this point of writing I am already told that the next two volumes of the series are better still. And so here I find myself looking forward to the return of a drug dealer to see… if he can indeed take me even higher.
MitrielWebsite: http://www.danielpolansky.com Twitter: @DanielPolansky